The Truth About Cars » Chevrolet Chevette http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 19 Oct 2014 11:58:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Chevrolet Chevette http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1982 Chevrolet Chevette http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1982-chevrolet-chevette/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1982-chevrolet-chevette/#comments Tue, 29 Apr 2014 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=811250 You know how people say there aren’t any truly bad cars sold in the US any more, with a sort of wistfulness that we’ve lost the benefits of an era when men were men and miles spent in miserable crapwagons strengthened your character? Every time I see a Chevette in a wrecking yard— which happens […]

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11 - 1982 Chevrolet Chevette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou know how people say there aren’t any truly bad cars sold in the US any more, with a sort of wistfulness that we’ve lost the benefits of an era when men were men and miles spent in miserable crapwagons strengthened your character? Every time I see a Chevette in a wrecking yard— which happens more often than you might think, given the checks-all-the-boxes awfulness of these heaps— I’m reminded of how great today’s lowliest econoboxes are compared to the stuff you might buy during the darkest night of the Malaise Era. I’m a member of the generation whose first cars were mostly dredged from the cheapest-possible-used-car cesspool that contained such horrors as the Pinto, early Colt, and Vega, and— even against that backdrop of automotive suckiness— the Chevette stood out as the booby prize, the car that your crazy aunt gave you when she upgraded to a new Renault Alliance and you couldn’t afford the $150 to buy a Maverick with a rod knock. About the best that could be said about the Chevette was that it was cheap and simple, without much to go wrong, and so there’s still a pool of the things to provide fresh examples for your local U-Wrench-It. Here’s one that I saw in California a few months back.
05 - 1982 Chevrolet Chevette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy selling cars based on the T Platform all over the world, GM probably got its development costs on the Chevette paid back by about 1976. After that, the Chevette was easy money.
04 - 1982 Chevrolet Chevette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI don’t photograph every Chevette I see in junkyards, but even so we’ve had this bunch of diesel Chevettes, this ’84 diesel, this ’77, this ’80, this fully-optioned ’79, this ’82 Scooter, and this Pontiac 1000 Chevette clone in this series so far.
06 - 1982 Chevrolet Chevette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 1.6 liter SOHC Isuzu engine in this car made 64 horsepower and gave the Chevette pretty good fuel economy for the time.

Just 12.8% financing for this car, and it came with fold-down seats!

The ads for this car were way more fun in Brazil, what with the porn music and post-Chevette cigarette.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Chevrolet Chevette CS Diesel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1984-chevrolet-chevette-cs-diesel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1984-chevrolet-chevette-cs-diesel/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=683722 Did you know that the Chevrolet Chevette was manufactured in the United States through the 1987 model year? It’s true! Serious fans of Chevette trivia also know that American car shoppers could buy a new Chevette with an Isuzu diesel engine; Chevette Diesel owners could eke out tremendous range in their oil-stinking, cramped, rear-drive econoboxes, […]

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15 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDid you know that the Chevrolet Chevette was manufactured in the United States through the 1987 model year? It’s true! Serious fans of Chevette trivia also know that American car shoppers could buy a new Chevette with an Isuzu diesel engine; Chevette Diesel owners could eke out tremendous range in their oil-stinking, cramped, rear-drive econoboxes, and isn’t that really what car ownership was all about in the middle 1980s? I see the occasional Chevette in my travels (not to mention on the race track), but this California find is the first diesel Chevette in this series.
07 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith all the San Francisco Bay Area veggie-oil-diesel freaks snapping up Peugeot 504 and Mercedes-Benz W123 diesels for conversion to never-to-be-finished french-fry-grease-burners to take to Nevada, you’d think that this Chevette would have been worth enough to evade The Crusher. Guess not.
10 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAt least it has a manual transmission, so the 51-horse engine would have been just miserable instead of completely intolerable.
01 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDon’t use starting fluid!
02 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Isuzu engine in these things was a very reliable, if gutless, powerplant.
11 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow many GM products got this exact HVAC-control panel?
20-Chevette-1The most famous Chevette Diesel in the world is, of course, the Zero Budget Racing car, which has done very well in 24 Hours of LeMons racing.

OK, let’s watch some Chevette ads from around the world! Here’s Brazil.

The Chevette Amigo was just the car for picking up streetwalkers in Venezuela.

The Daewoo Maepsy was the Korean Chevette.

In Canada, they ice-race Chevettes aka Pontiac Acadians.

Canadian Chevettes were badged as Chevrolets, too.

To get a sense of the incredible slowness of the Chevette Diesel, here’s some rear-facing video from the Zero Budget Chevette Diesel at Gingerman earlier this year.

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Junkyard Find: High Plains Chevette-O-Rama! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-high-plains-chevette-o-rama/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-high-plains-chevette-o-rama/#comments Mon, 23 Jul 2012 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=453398 Easily overlooked among all the Nashes and Willys of the Brain Melting Colorado Junkyard were the many Chevettes scattered across the landscape. The owner of the BMCJ has had a soft spot for Chevettes for many years, and he has acquired dozens of the little Opel-designed subcompact. Here’s a few that I photographed during my […]

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Easily overlooked among all the Nashes and Willys of the Brain Melting Colorado Junkyard were the many Chevettes scattered across the landscape. The owner of the BMCJ has had a soft spot for Chevettes for many years, and he has acquired dozens of the little Opel-designed subcompact. Here’s a few that I photographed during my visit.
With the smell of wildfire smoke in the air and the ground choked with prickly-pear cacti, the mid-apocalyptic environment of this place made simple, rear-drive econoboxes seem quite sensible.
There’s this Limited Edition Chevette four-door, featuring… luxury?
Yes, luxury.
How about a snazzy Chevette GT?
The steering wheel and instrument cluster look of the Chevette GT appear very Vega GT-ish.
The Chevette Scooter was the stripper low-cost version, for those who wanted basic transportation a (small) step above a moped.
No collection of Chevettes is complete without an example powered by the same diesel engine used in the I-Mark Diesel.


Here’s a selling point for the Chevette that became less relevant as the Malaise Era ground on: “If you drive a foreign car, you could find yourself in foreign territory!”


By 1984, the best GM’s marketing wizards could say about the Chevette was that its design hadn’t changed during its run.

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Time Machine Dilemma: It’s 1986 and You Have Enough Money For a New Chevette. What Do You Buy? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/time-machine-dilemma-its-1986-and-you-have-enough-money-for-a-new-chevette-what-do-you-buy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/time-machine-dilemma-its-1986-and-you-have-enough-money-for-a-new-chevette-what-do-you-buy/#comments Tue, 01 May 2012 14:30:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=442214 After last week’s Time Machine Dilemma (in which you emerged from your time machine in 1973, on Auto Row and with enough cash to buy a new Ford LTD), I thought of doing a 1974 Oil Crisis Diminished Expectations Economy Car Time Machine Dilemma. However, the really challenging econobox-shopping decisions came a bit more than […]

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After last week’s Time Machine Dilemma (in which you emerged from your time machine in 1973, on Auto Row and with enough cash to buy a new Ford LTD), I thought of doing a 1974 Oil Crisis Diminished Expectations Economy Car Time Machine Dilemma. However, the really challenging econobox-shopping decisions came a bit more than a decade later, when the Hyundai Excel and Yugo GV arrived in a marketplace full of Japanese subcompacts duking it out for supremacy and Detroit trying to stay relevant. Yes, 1986! So, you exit your time machine in front of the Chevrolet dealership with $5,645 in your pocket. That’s enough to buy a new Chevette at full list price (the out-the-door-price would almost certainly be lower, but we’ll go with MSRP for this exercise). Do you get the antiquated-but-simple rear-drive Chevy for your penny-pinching commuter… or something else? Let’s look at your choices.
It turns out that the Chevette (which was on its second-to-last model year in 1986) was priced higher than much of its competition. How much higher? Let’s take a look at some prices for ’86 Chevette competitors, according to the prices in the Standard Catalogs or the NADA Classic Cars site.

But first, we’ll look at an example of Chevette pricing in action. Here’s an ad for the ’85 Chevette, which listed at $5,340. Yep, $4,993. Just keep that in mind when you start looking for a place to spend your $5,645 in 1986.

Chevrolet Sprint: $5,380
Dodge/Plymouth Colt E: $5,372
Honda Civic hatchback: $5,479
Hyundai Excel: $4,995
Mazda 323: $5,645
Nissan Sentra: $5,499
Pontiac 1000: $5,749
Subaru Justy STD: $4,989
Toyota Tercel hatchback: $5,448
Yugo GV: $3,990

Having owned quite a few ’86 Tercels and Civics, I think I’d buy… the Mazda 323. The Tercel would last forever, regardless of abuse, and the Civic would get 45 MPG, but the 323s of this era were more fun to drive and held together pretty well.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Chevrolet Chevette http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/junkyard-find-1980-chevrolet-chevette/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/junkyard-find-1980-chevrolet-chevette/#comments Fri, 30 Dec 2011 14:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423866 We give GM a hard time over the Citation, but at least the Citation was a big leap into the future compared to the primitive, rear-drive, Opel-designed Chevette. However, it tells us something that more Chevettes than Citations have survived long enough to make it into junkyards in 2011. GM sold Chevettes in the United […]

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We give GM a hard time over the Citation, but at least the Citation was a big leap into the future compared to the primitive, rear-drive, Opel-designed Chevette. However, it tells us something that more Chevettes than Citations have survived long enough to make it into junkyards in 2011.
GM sold Chevettes in the United States through the 1987 model year— no, that’s not a typo— and in South America into the late 1990s. Chevette siblings and cousins roamed the world, with legions of Daewoo Maepsys and Aymesa Cóndors on just every gravel goat path and ring-road superhighway on the planet.
The Chevette was cramped, noisy, and slow, but it sipped fuel and didn’t have much to go wrong. Had GM released it in 1963, it would have been a stunning breakthrough on the order of the Hydramatic or small-block Chevrolet V8. As it was, the Chevette was just a retrograde profit-generator for a company under attack on many fronts.
The historical significance of such Malaise machinery is the reason I’m always glad to find a Chevette to contemplate at the junkyard; I spotted this ’80 at a Denver self-serve yard a few weeks back.

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Junkyard Find: Fully Loaded 1979 Chevrolet Chevette http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/junkyard-find-fully-loaded-1979-chevrolet-chevette/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/junkyard-find-fully-loaded-1979-chevrolet-chevette/#comments Tue, 30 Aug 2011 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=409193 Back in the grimmest part of the Malaise Era, most Chevette shoppers knew exactly what they wanted: a really, really cheap car. You don’t find many Chevettes with a factory AM/FM radio, or remote mirrors, or even an automatic transmission. A Chevette with all those options and air conditioning to boot? This is a junkyard […]

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Back in the grimmest part of the Malaise Era, most Chevette shoppers knew exactly what they wanted: a really, really cheap car. You don’t find many Chevettes with a factory AM/FM radio, or remote mirrors, or even an automatic transmission. A Chevette with all those options and air conditioning to boot? This is a junkyard first for me.
The base Chevette engine in ’79 came with 70 horsepower, which seemed like enough only if you were upgrading from a Rabbit Diesel (the optional “high performance” Chevette engine packed an additional four horses). I don’t know how much power this AC compressor gobbled up (knowing The General’s penchant for overkill HVAC systems, probably plenty), but I’ll bet it added plenty of drama to freeway onramps on hot days.
Naturally, the money-is-no-object buyer of this car went for the sporty stripe option.
There’s not a whole lot of luxury you can pack into a Chevette, but the pleather door panels, cloth seats, and door-pull straps make this car the Cadillac of Chevettes.
I’ll bet Chevette restorers (there must be such a thing) would pay at least a dozen genuine American dollars for this factory AM/FM radio. The small size of the dash opening probably ruled out factory 8-track players, but there were always under-dash aftermarket units available (at great cost).
Check it out: a Chevette with a map light!
This car is so weird that I’m not going to write my usual “good riddance, bring on The Crusher” screed. I’m just going to think it.

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And the Real Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/and-the-real-winner-is-16/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/and-the-real-winner-is-16/#comments Mon, 18 Jul 2011 05:19:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=403396 If you want to contend for 24 Hours of LeMons racing’s top prize, the Index of Effluency, choosing a terrible Malaise Era subcompact gives you a big edge. Choosing a General Motors product also helps. Going with a diesel or, even worse, a Chevette Diesel, means that you pretty much have the Index of Effluency […]

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If you want to contend for 24 Hours of LeMons racing’s top prize, the Index of Effluency, choosing a terrible Malaise Era subcompact gives you a big edge. Choosing a General Motors product also helps. Going with a diesel or, even worse, a Chevette Diesel, means that you pretty much have the Index of Effluency nailed down if you can manage to keep the thing on the track for most of the weekend. Easier said than done, of course, but Zero Budget Racing managed to do just that with their ’82 Chevette Diesel.

This car managed about five laps at its Gingerman debut back in April, limping to an ignominious halt in a cloud of busted-Isuzu-engine smoke while the snowflakes swirled. That’s about what you expect from this sort of car, but Zero Budget didn’t give up. No, they didn’t give up then, and they didn’t give up this Sunday when the mighty 51-horsepower (really!) engine bombed their transmission. Fortunately, the team had thought to bring a spare transmission, and so they got right to swapping it in.

Oh, it was incredibly slow indeed, although the cornering speeds weren’t too bad. In the end, the Zero Budget Racing Chevette managed 39th place (out of about 65 entries), which we think makes it the most reliable (and maybe fastest) Chevette Diesel in history. Congratulations, Zero Budget Racing!

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Chevrolet Chevette http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/junkyard-find-1977-chevrolet-chevette/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/junkyard-find-1977-chevrolet-chevette/#comments Mon, 04 Jul 2011 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=401495 The ’79 Monza wagon we saw last week was a choice specimen of Malaise Era misery, to be sure, but how did the Vega Monza compare to the Chevette? Let’s say it’s 1977, you’re a Chevrolet shopper, and you want something that doesn’t gulp the fuel like a Caprice or Chevelle. The Chevette Scooter listed […]

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The ’79 Monza wagon we saw last week was a choice specimen of Malaise Era misery, to be sure, but how did the Vega Monza compare to the Chevette?

Let’s say it’s 1977, you’re a Chevrolet shopper, and you want something that doesn’t gulp the fuel like a Caprice or Chevelle. The Chevette Scooter listed for a staggeringly cheap $2,999, while the cheapest possible Vega sold for $3,249. The Chevette had a 57 (!) horsepower engine, while the four-cylinder Vega/Monza packed a somewhat mightier 84 horses under the hood.

The Vega handled better, the Chevette got better fuel economy, and both looked most appropriate in 70s brown paint.

I’m just shocked that an early Chevette stayed on the street long enough to see the second decade of the 21st century before getting crushed.

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And the Real Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/and-the-real-winner-is-9/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/and-the-real-winner-is-9/#comments Mon, 09 May 2011 03:25:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=394289 The Index of Effluency goes to the LeMons team that accomplishes a feat far beyond their vehicle’s purported abilities, and the chances for an IOE go way, way up when you race a General Motors product. The IOE chase in the Loudon Annoying 24 Hours of LeMons devolved into a Chevette-versus-Storm battle early on and […]

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The Index of Effluency goes to the LeMons team that accomplishes a feat far beyond their vehicle’s purported abilities, and the chances for an IOE go way, way up when you race a General Motors product. The IOE chase in the Loudon Annoying 24 Hours of LeMons devolved into a Chevette-versus-Storm battle early on and stayed that way all weekend.

By Sunday afternoon, LeMons HQ had more or less decided that whichever of the two had the most laps at the end was going to take home the Index of Effluency and the $1,501 in prize money that accompanies it. The ’93 Geo Storm of the Brooklyn Bomb Squad, with its automatic transmission and gas-sipping lo-po engine, struggled with the ’85 Chevrolet Chevette of Team Chev-itte Where The Sun Don’t Shine (yes, they were still making Chevettes in 1985; in fact, The General made them through the 1987 model year) tooth and nail from start to finish. At one point, one of the Geo drivers was heard enthusing over his “epic duel with the Chevette,” a phrase we’re pretty sure had never been uttered before. In the end, the Chevy beat the Geo by a mere 5 laps, 349 to 344.

The Chevette stayed out of the way of the quicker cars (i.e., just about everything that didn’t have a Geo nameplate) and avoided the Penalty Box, and in the end it stood in 26th place out of 54 entries. Congratulations, Chev-itte Where The Sun Don’t Shine!

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Pontiac 1000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/junkyard-find-1986-pontiac-1000/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/03/junkyard-find-1986-pontiac-1000/#comments Fri, 04 Mar 2011 17:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=386206 While I believe that GM has built only one Detroit-designed subcompact car in its history (the Chevrolet Vega), the case could be made that the Chevette and its Pontiac siblings— though designed in Germany— were also “authentic” Detroit machines. The shocking thing about the Chevette was how far into the 1980s its North American run […]

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While I believe that GM has built only one Detroit-designed subcompact car in its history (the Chevrolet Vega), the case could be made that the Chevette and its Pontiac siblings— though designed in Germany— were also “authentic” Detroit machines. The shocking thing about the Chevette was how far into the 1980s its North American run continued; you could buy a new Chevy Chevette or Pontiac 1000 all the way up to the 1987 model year!

By 1986, you could get an optional 5-speed in your 1000, which must have been fun with the 65-horsepower four-banger under the hood. Remember, this car’s real competition back in ’86 was the Yugo GV and Hyundai Excel, both of which somehow managed to be orders of magnitude more terrible than the Chevette/1000.

Had GM been able to make even one subcompact that Americans would buy without regretting their purchase for years afterward, they’d be in much better shape today (and let’s not even get started about The General’s total failure in the minivan department).

Let’s see what Brendan Spleen has to say about the Pontiac 1000!

DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-19 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-01 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-02 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-03 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-04 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-05 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-06 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-07 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-08 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-09 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-10 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-11 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-12 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-13 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-14 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-15 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-16 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-17 DOTJ-86Pontiac1000-18 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Chevette Scooter, T1000 Outlive Every 1st-Gen Hyundai Excel In the World http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/chevette-scooter-t1000-outlive-every-1st-gen-hyundai-excel-in-the-world/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/chevette-scooter-t1000-outlive-every-1st-gen-hyundai-excel-in-the-world/#comments Fri, 03 Dec 2010 19:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=375561 So we now know that GM’s failure to create a decent subcompact during the, oh, forty years in which doing so would have saved the company from certain ruin… well, do we really need to get into that rant right now? No, we’ll save that rant until we feel like combining it with the one […]

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So we now know that GM’s failure to create a decent subcompact during the, oh, forty years in which doing so would have saved the company from certain ruin… well, do we really need to get into that rant right now?

No, we’ll save that rant until we feel like combining it with the one about GM’s failure to build a minivan that anybody wanted to buy, or the one about GM’s inability to stop the small-block Chevrolet from leaking oil like crazy for its first three decades of production. For now, let’s just contemplate the meaning of these two Late Malaise Era junkyard finds, which I spotted during a visit to a San Francisco Bay Area self-service junkyard earlier in the week.

Actually, this 1985 T1000— which became the Pontiac 1000 for the 1984 model year— is a post-Malaise Era car, by my standards (as the originator of the term “Malaise Era,” I have the right to define it: the 1973 through 1983 model years). Somehow, this makes it even more depressing. After building variations on the Chevette theme all over the world for nearly 10 years, GM could build the obsolete-when-introduced T Platform cars for nickels and dimes, and did so.

The ’82 Chevette Scooter was a genuinely miserable machine, though its simplicity and cheap price tag made it seem like a pretty decent investment next to, say, the Vega/Monza. How did these two cars evade The Crusher for 25 and 28 years, respectively? Have they become—dare I say it— collectible?

DOTJ-85T1000-01 DOTJ-85T1000-02 DOTJ-85T1000-03 DOTJ-85T1000-04 DOTJ-85T1000-05 DOTJ-85T1000-06 DOTJ-85T1000-07 DOTJ-85T1000-08 DOTJ-85T1000-09 DOTJ-85T1000-10 DOTJ-85T1000-11 DOTJ-85T1000-12 DOTJ-ChevetteScooter-01 DOTJ-ChevetteScooter-02 DOTJ-ChevetteScooter-03 DOTJ-ChevetteScooter-04 DOTJ-ChevetteScooter-05 DOTJ-ChevetteScooter-06 DOTJ-ChevetteScooter-07 1982 Chevrolet Chevette Scooter DOTJ-ChevetteScooter-09 Chevette_T1000-1280px Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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