Curbside Classic Outtake: Packing A Hot Beretta Edition

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
curbside classic outtake packing a hot beretta edition

It’s time to use up some of the leftover shots from the recent trip to the Bay Area (not that I’m running low; no worries). I admit that the ’68 Chevy truck caught my attention first, although I have several of that vintage and they’ll be coming soon to TTAT. But then I noticed the white coupe hiding behind the truck wasn’t just any old boring Beretta, but a pretty hot little piece…

The Beretta is one of the many GM cars of that vintage that is quite forgettable. Built from 1987 through 1996, it was of course a course coupe version of the equally forgettable Corsica. Built on the L-platform, the Corsica, Baretta and Canadian Tempest were a slight variation of the N-Bodies; the difference being that Chevy did the lead work on these, and Olds on the N. Wonderful stuff, all of them, and a subject we’ll plumb in greater depths when we’re up to it. Most Berettas packed either the Cavalier’s dreadful little whiny 2.0 OHV four, or the Citation’s 2.8 or 3.1 V6s with their unmistakable roarty drone that suggested performance but rarely delivered. But this is a Beretta of a different stripe.

The GTZ was only built from ’90 through ’93, and was Chevy’s designated player to mix it up with the hot coupes of the day. Drop in Olds’ Quadraphonic-thrashy 2.3 liter 16 valve four packing 180 ponies and a Getrag 5 speed, and shod it with beefy tires and the FE7 suspension, and you have a…slightly cheaper Camaro. Zero to sixty in 7.6 seconds. According to a contemporary MT test, it was supposedly the fastest FWD car in the slalom in its time, besting even the Camaro’s time. Only one problem with that: like so many of GM’s skid pad/slalom time wonder cars (think C4 Corvette), those results were accomplished through very stiff springs and a punishing ride. Hustle one down a rough and broken-up road quickly, and between the coffee-grinder engine sounds and the punishing ride, this is a Beretta that you might be happy to drop off at the next gun turn-in program.

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  • BerettaGTZ BerettaGTZ on Mar 12, 2010

    Hey, you found my car! I owned a 1990 white GTZ just like in the picture. It was my first new car out of college and it brings back many fond memories. The Quad 4 had great power, with a very good Getrag 5 speed manual and excellent balance of handling and ride. I did SCCA autocross and several track days at venues such as Mid-Ohio. I got lots of comments from onlookers that the throaty wail of a Quad 4 at full throttle was a very sweet sound. The car held up really well over the years. I came to appreciate its excellent seats (best seats ever in a GM vehicle, and I've owned lots of them over the years) but cursed its lack of a cupholder. I loved the coupe styling but hated the long, heavy doors. And so it went, an ongoing love-hate relationship with the car over 6 years and 75,000 miles. Despite its many flaws, the GTZ was one of the favorite cars I've owned. It was one of the few GM cars that had real spirit.

  • Paul Paul on Mar 25, 2010

    My first new car was a 1990 Beretta GT with a 3.1 V6. I absolutely loved that car. One of the most reliable cars I have ever owned. I had it for 14 years and 358,000 KM (220,000 miles) before the engine gave out on it. I had none of the problems others have talked about. The biggest problem for me was that I had to replace the alternator about every 3 years.

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