Junkyard Find: High Plains Chevette-O-Rama!

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find high plains chevette o rama

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.

Join the conversation
2 of 32 comments
  • Texan01 Texan01 on Jul 24, 2012

    My grandmother had a 79 Chevette. It was a 4 speed car with AC and an AM radio. To 12 year old me, it was a fun car to ride in, and I thought it was fast based on the noise it made. I ran across one in the junkyard and realized how tiny they were.

  • Laserwizard Laserwizard on Dec 28, 2015

    After having survived a 500 mile trip in a rental Chevette, I can attest that there was never a worse product than this heap of excrement. It was so slow that my friend and I timed it from a standing stop at a toll booth and it hit 60 miles per hour AFTER 20 seconds had gone by. Yes, it was an automatic and had four doors. I think the license plates were the best part of the car.

  • Bob65688581 Small by American standards, this car is just right for Europe, and probably China, although I don't really know, there. Upscale small cars don't exist in the US because Americans associate size and luxury, so it will have a tough time in the States... but again Europe is used to such cars. Audi has been making "small, upscale" since forever. As usual, Americans will miss an opportunity. I'll buy one, though!Contrary to your text, the EX30 has nothing whatsoever to do with the XC40 or C40, being built on a dedicated chassis.
  • Tassos Chinese owned Vollvo-Geely must have the best PR department of all automakers. A TINY maker with only 0.5-0.8% market share in the US, it is in the news every day.I have lost count how many different models Volvo has, and it is shocking how FEW of each miserable one it sells in the US market.Approximately, it sells as many units (TOTAL) as is the total number of loser models it offers.
  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.
  • ToolGuy When you are pulled over for speeding, whether you are given a ticket or not should depend on how attractive you are.Source: My sister 😉