Junkyard Find: 1986 Pontiac 1000

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1986 pontiac 1000

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!

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  • Prattworks Prattworks on Mar 06, 2011

    We had some neighbors that had both a Chevette and a Chrysler K-Car. Quite the fleet. I learned to drive a manual transmission - years before I had a license - in a Chevette on a 'closed course track' consisting of new city streets awaiting residential development. We rodded the p@ss out of that thing and experienced some ungodly body lean and tire squeal as we clipped the apexes. A bit o' drifting before it was a 'sport'. Good times.

  • 7th Frog 7th Frog on Mar 07, 2011

    I occasionally drink with a guy who loves these cars. He has a few vettes & I always know he is at the bar when his pristine looking blue 2 door chevette is sitting outside. I got to talking to him a good bit and the last time I did he offered to give me one. He did tell me he recently did find a diesel one in decent shape.

  • Jeff S I don't believe gm will die but that it will continue to shrink in product and market share and it will probably be acquired by a foreign manufacturer. I doubt gm lacks funds as it did in 2008 and that they have more than enough cash at hand but gm will not expand as it did in the past and the emphasis is more on profitability and cutting costs to the bone. Making gm a more attractive takeover target and cut costs at the expense of more desirable and reliable products. At the time of Farago's article I was in favor of the Government bailout more to save jobs and suppliers but today I would not be in favor of the bailout. My opinions on gm have changed since 2008 and 2009 and now I really don't care if gm survives or not.
  • Kwik_Shift I was a GM fan boy until it ended in 2013 when I traded in my Avalanche to go over to Nissan.
  • Stuart de Baker I didn't bother to read this article. I'll wait until a definitive headline comes out, and I'll be surprised if Tesla actually produces the Cybertruck. It certainly looks impractical for both snowy and hot sunny weather.
  • Stuart de Baker This is very interesting information. I was in no danger of buying a Tesla. I love my '08 Civic (stick), and it feels just as responsive as when I bought it 11 years ago with 35k on the clock (now 151k), and barring mishaps, I plan to keep it for the next 25 years or so, which would put me into my mid-90s, assuming I live that long. On your information, I will avoid renting Teslas.
  • RHD The only people who would buy this would be those convinced by a website that they are great, and order one sight-unseen. They would have to have be completely out of touch with every form of media for the last year. There might actually be a few of these people, but not very many. They would also have to be completely ignorant of the Hyundai Excel. (Vinfast seems to make the original Excel look like a Camry in comparison.)