By on April 29, 2014

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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78 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1982 Chevrolet Chevette...”

  • avatar

    “the Chevette stood out as the booby prize, the car that your crazy aunt gave you when she upgraded to a new Renault Alliance”

    Ha ha ha ha…awesome!

    I must be about the same age as you. My first car was a 1974 Superbeetle, my brother had a 72 (?) Mustang 4-banger, his buddy had a “vette”, and my girlfriend had a rusty Renault Alliance (I guess “rusty” is redundant)

    • 0 avatar

      Both the “rusty” and “Alliance” are redundant. Just saying she had a Renault is plenty. Ha.

    • 0 avatar
      Frank Galvin

      Flashback Tuesday. My father worked for a railroad that was in perpetual bankruptcy, its passenger rail contract with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts kept it afloat. One benefit to him was the company car; except his first was a Ford Pinto, then a Ford Fairmont (tan on brown –, then the Chevette. It gave new meaning to the stripped down. The backseat was replaced with a piece of molded plastic. Horrid car, he made them replace it with another Fairmont. When he left, his father in law persuaded him to buy an Alliance from a dealer “pal.” It blew a timing belt before it could rust away. That was replaced by a Mitsu Cordia….another piece of work. Come to think of it, my dad has bought some real doozies; Mustang II, Fiat 131, the Alliance, the Cordia. No wonder why he loves his S10 Blazer.

  • avatar

    I took my high school driver’s Ed with one of these. Picture 20 red Chevettes lined up in a row and twenty 15-year olds doing their best to spin them, do donuts, etc. It couldn’t be done. This car was exceptionally bad, even in the late 80’s.
    And doing this, while I had to look into the adjacent parking lot at all the 1989 Mustang GTs!

  • avatar

    Back in 85, on my first visit to the US, this is what the rental car company gave me. Coming from the land of Volvo’s, Mercedes etc I thought this was such a POS I took photos of it to show folks back home. Moments later I saw a Yugo, did not even bother developing the film

  • avatar

    I lived with this guy Dan from New Jersey for two semesters’ worth of a co-op in Binghamton, NY, back in the late 90’s, and he drove one of these- a blue 4 door hatch, with blue velour interior. I had a rusty (weren’t they all?) 1977 GMC Suburban at the time, and it was comical when we parked the two next to each other. But between the two, we had the perfect car- my Sub for runs to the store, and his ‘vette for miserly long distance trips.

    Dan lavished love upon that ‘vette, washing it regularly and maintaining it meticulously. Not a bad car, honestly. Sure, it was cheap, felt cheap, drove cheap, and not a single hue of blue on the car was the same as any other hue of blue anywhere else on the car. But it always ran, the radio and the heater worked, and the seats…well, they gave you something to sit on. I can recall riding in a Geo Metro that belonged to a friend of my dad’s at around the same time period, and the Chevette seemed like the better car, quite frankly. As cheap as the Chevette seemed, the Geo was just miserable.

  • avatar

    My brother loves the hell out of these things since it was his first car. Good if off beat hot rodding material. Every once and awhile you see one stuffed with a small block or for the real nut bags a big block.

  • avatar

    i have to stick up for the chevette. I grew up in the early 80s and these were everywhere, and the older generation of small cars – pinto vega beetle – were worse IMO. As much as beetles are adorable, they were noisy slow and crude to ride in for any period of time. A good friend had a ‘loaded’ chevette – nice cloth, auto, AIR, and dang it was a decent slow ride.

    Rust was the only thing to kill them. it wasnt until my sister got an ’84 Honda Accord 5spd that I saw a real difference in small car quality. That accord was a game changer for my extended family.

    • 0 avatar

      Seconded. Much as I despised the Chevette, it was the first American economy car to come with 4 doors and a usable back seat. You wouldn’t think that was rocket science, but malaise-era Detroit was awful slow on the uptake.

      My second car was an 84 Accord 5-speed. Great car.

    • 0 avatar

      There were better choices available, the Mazda GLC being one of them. The first generation (’77-’80) were more than a little Chevettelike in appearance, but drove much better. Here’s one that Murilee photographed a while back: They were quite reliable, the only consistent issue we saw with them was that a batch of them had manual transmission mainshafts that developed a wobble, but Mazda fixed them under a service campaign. Things don’t rust around here, but the paint and the interior didn’t do real well under the southern sun.

      Even better was the front drive version that came out in 1981: It was roomy, handled well, and was reliable and economical, and was vastly better than the Chevette.

  • avatar

    Let’s keep things in perspective. In the mid-70’s, unless you had bought a Honda Civic, EVERY bottom of the barrel economy car sucked. Cheap, harsh, cheap, noisy, cheap, overly simple, er . . . . . . did I mention cheap?

    The concept of buyers willing to put serious money for serious comfort in a small car was still thirty years in the future. Back then, if you wanted comfort and quality, the salesman moved you into something bigger, and you didn’t pay major money for minor inches.

    That said, the Opel Kadette was a good early 70’s small car. As decent a dynamics on the highway as you could get in a car for that class.

    Now, if there’s any sin to this car, it’s that Chevrolet was still selling it as a new car in the mid-80’s. Even as a low-end penalty box, it should have been redesigned/replaced as soon as the Citation came out.

    However, if you want more comfort, we’ve got this Cavalier . . . .

    • 0 avatar

      I had my driver’s ed in an 03 Cavalier, hunter green with beige cloth. It was not comfortable, fast, nice, nor did it have decent A/C for a SE Indiana humid summer.

      Six years later my brother comes along, and got to do his in an 07 Five Hundred AWD with leather. I was mad!

    • 0 avatar
      C. Alan

      I had a ’74 Opel Manta as my first car in the late 80’s. The 1.9l engine ran like a top, and was hard to kill (once you got rid of the points setup). The Opels up to 1975 where great cars for that time period.

  • avatar

    There’s one of these running around the area where I live, I’ve seen it a couple of times. The front license plate proudly says “1981”, and the lady driving it appears to be in her 60’s. I assume she’s been driving it since new, and it amazes me that anyone would go to the effort of keeping a Chevette alive for all those years.

    Back when they were current, I worked at a store that sold Mazda, Fiat, and for a while, AMC, Renault, and Jeep. While we had our share of turkeys to sell (Fiat Strada, Renault 5, aka “Le Car”) I don’t recall ever losing a sale where the prospect went to Chevy and got a Chevette.

    Still, somebody bought them. As my sales manager used to say, “There’s an ass for every seat”.

  • avatar

    Simple, cheap, transportation. What more could you want in a daily driver? I’d trade our 01′ Jetta on a nice example in a heartbeat (or Omni of similar vintage).

    Maybe it’s why I like the Fiat 500 so much. Still, one of these with it’s proper bumpers, metal cladding, etc. would probably still hold up over the long run and be a much more durable vehicle. If I ever came across a nice example at cheap, I wouldn’t hesitate buying it in a heartbeat for a daily driver.

    • 0 avatar

      Really? I get the Omnirizon thing as those just held up too well for what they were, but I’ve never heard anyone speak so highly of a Chevette.

      • 0 avatar

        Here in Brazil they’re still almost a daily sighting though most in deep, deep disrepair. Every once in a while you see one in great shape which shows that at least some think they’re worth it as collector cars. They certainly have a place in Brazilian car history due to the sheer numbers sold, but it seems GM fans here gravitate toward bigger cars with the Monza and Opala have much larger followings.

    • 0 avatar

      As a Horizon ownerChevette test-driver, you’d do better with an Omni-Izon in decent shape, they’re not the greatest cars but they’re spacious enough for 4 surprisingly, and with some twists Chrysler turned the L-Platform into the K-Platform with a ton of variants, effectively starting a trend that MiniVWAudiNissanGM would copy decades later.

      If given the choice I’d take an Omni any day over the tinny Japanese hatchbacks of the 80’s, the Omni was dated, not exactly solid, and not all that pretty, but at least most examples have a reliable 2.2 engine in them.

      I’d suggest a 90’s Chrysler instead with the 2.2 but I lack familiarity with them.

      With Chevettes, they’re buckets you buy for $500 and throw around in the gravel for fun, then you derby them. They’re not suited for highway travel.

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      Much, much more. I’d have to say a mid-eighties chevette is the worst car that did not have major mechanical problems that I ever drove. It was a fixture in the office car pool. These were the days of the 55 mph speed limit. With other cars out west at least, you would immediately speed to 64 mph if you could. Not the Chevette. Much over 55 and you were a real masochist.

      Ironically, I made the best time ever in my 280 mile drive to The Big City– 5 hours 15 minutes. At 55 mph, I didn’t have to stop for fuel. That taught me a big lesson. Minimizing your time at zero mph is a lot more important than trying to drive and extra 5 mph faster.

      But the Chevette, or the Shove-it as it was affectionately called back then was just terrible by both the standards of the day and by GM’s standards.

  • avatar

    I thought Chevettes lasted about 12 days on the street and then went straigh to the junk yard.

    Rumor has it Florida has its LLOOOONNNNNGGGGfreeway entry ramps so that Chevettes could get up to 40 before merging with traffic..

    • 0 avatar

      No joke about the lack of pick up. A friend let me borrow one ONCE. That is all it took for me. I could not even get up to speed fast enough in 35 mph traffic. Brakes were also bad. His had 80-ish thousand miles on it at the time and it was simply a penalty box beyond compare. I don’t care how cheap a car is made, it should get you into traffic safely and brake when commanded. The Chevette barely did either.

  • avatar

    Look up Chevette Racing.

    There is a huge following for Chevettes in the midSouthern states, such as Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia.

    People love these Chevettes and actually track them.

    No lie.

    And yes- these cars were heaps.

  • avatar

    Cut the Chevette a break. It was always intended to be cheap — low cost to but, low cost to run, low cost to repair. Unlike now, when you can buy small cars that feature almost the same options and tech as bigger cars, the Chevette was sold in an era when frugal people bought frugal cars because they DIDN’T want anything too complex and DIDN’T expect high end features for a low end price. A lot has changed in both the market and engineering in the intervening 32 years.

    That said, the Chevette was a piece of tin — I remember driving a rental in 1985 and having to hold my breath as I merged on to Storrow Drive in Boston. There were better cars available, even then. Even from Chevy — the Cavalier was no champ, but it was a LOT better on the performance side than the old tech Chevette.

  • avatar

    There is a following of Chevette racers across the midSouthern States (Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky). Not sure if this is happening anywhere else.

    Why race a Chevette? Who the hell knows. But its being done. They track them. Lol at the though of that.

    And yes, they were heaps. Notorious heaps.

  • avatar

    When we were of the age of getting our first cars, the Chevette was always a contender. Competing with the likes of a VW Brasilia or Beetle, or Fiat 147, or Chevy Opala only two of my friends got stuck with one. I had decided I wanted a Fiat, though I lucked out and Dad eventually gave me an Uno.

    The reason I preferred the 147? Though smaller, the 147 had more (much more) internal room, had FWD and crumple zones. The Chevette was RWD and all the penalties that came with that in a small RWD car from the 70s. The pedals were awfully askew and the steering wheel was so long it’d graze your things while driving. One of my friends who got a Chevette was a big, big man. More than 2m tall and weighing something close to 130-140kg, he could drive and turn the car just by using his massive thighs. Quite a sight.

    Economical, cheap to fix and keep running, the Chevette was a massive hit in Brazil. Interestingly enough, it world debut was in Brazil. Contrary to the mass perception that we only got leftovers from the 1st World, when 1st World consumers were through with the cars and the factory sent the tooling, GM do Brazil paid up for it here and launched it here first, Europe second and then only in the US. The 2 door sedan version sold here much better than the hatch. It also lasted here into the 90s.

  • avatar

    I’ve never had the fortune of seeing one of these in person. I still see Citations though, because GM’s train of awful cars certainly didn’t start with the Vega and stop with the Chevette!

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      The Citation was like a Mercedes Benz compared to the Shove-It.

    • 0 avatar

      We had an ’84 Citation shortly after the ’86 Chevette got sold from our pool of beaters. My little brother thought it was an obese Chevette. Thus, it became known as Fat Boy. The Citation was a numb and sloppy car. It felt as though the front and back ends were held together with rubber bands. I preferred the Chevette, which was cheap to fuel and a lot of fun in winter on studded snow tires. Far more fun for a high school kid in a northern climate than any front wheel drive or anything with electronic nannies enabled.

  • avatar

    It’s a 2500-pound, RWD hatchback, available with a diesel, in brown, and with a manual transmission, and lacking any sort of modern creature comforts or safety features. If you would not buy one in a heartbeat today (gently used, of course, after the first depreciation has hit) you will be expelled from the B&B.

  • avatar

    1982 same year of the last Chevette I owned (Yes, I owned more than one, had five of them run through my family between 1977 and 1991.) Cheap and EASY to fix. I spent plenty of time wrenching on them – but at least I could without the need for special tools and diagnostic equipment.

    Bought my ’82 with a blown engine for pennies, swapped with a junkyard engine and many junkyard accessories I found – how many Chevettes had tilt wheel, intermittent wipers, factory gauges (well a tach and temp gauge anyway) then proceeded to drive the hell out of it cross country several times. Was it comfortable? Heck no, but it was fun.

    No A/C, thank goodness hated working on my dad’s car that had A/C on it.

    You know what happened when the timing belt gave out on these? They stopped. Then you put a new timing belt on and went on your way. Never had anything go wrong on one of these that I couldn’t fix in the driveway. Given what I’ve had to pay people with the correct equipment to do on my more modern cars I’m feeling nostalgic for my little sh*tvette.

    They were cheap, they were crude, and Chevy should have killed or updated them by the time 1979 turned into 1980 and beyond, but they *never* promised to be anything beyond basic transportation.

    I could be talked into another…I know the Omni/Horizon would be a better choice for many reasons, but I already know how to fix Chevettes – have the scars to prove it.

  • avatar

    Looks just like my sister’s Chevette, except for the cool steering wheel cover. Damn elitists!
    Hated driving this thing, but drive it I did when my car (81 Dodge Colt) was laid up for two months with a bad carburetor.
    My brother and often borrowed her Chevette when one of our cars was in the shop. We called it the lifeboat.
    It did nothing well – except run

  • avatar

    As bad as the Chevette may have been, and it was a pretty uncomfortable, slower than traffic flow penalty box, the Chevette was far better to its owners than the Vega, Monza, Citation, or early Cavaliers were. Of all of GM’s efforts to sell small cars in the US prior to NUMMI, the Chevette may have generated the fewest Japanese car defections. I’m guessing the T-car wasn’t the product of the same crew that drove development of the H, X and J cars.

  • avatar

    Anyone else from the lower great lakes states marveling at the lack of visible rust on that thing?

  • avatar

    I remember this as being awful to drive, but not unreliable.

    But as an automotive hairshirt, it had few rivals – it was cramped, slow, loud, uncomfortable (the steering wheel was actually canted away from the driver at an angle), and handled like an oxcart. And, honestly, the Japanese RWD compacts of the time weren’t a whole lot better, except that they were built like tanks.

    Remarkable how far small cars have come.

    • 0 avatar

      So true FreedMike. The potshots taken at the Versa in the “econobox comparo” of yesterday seem hollow and really show how it’s very difficult to really lay on the criticism to small cars nowadays. Hard to fathom how the Chevette did in its day what the Versa does nowadays (or in other words, serve the same market segment). Simply no comparison.

      • 0 avatar

        The Versa is like an intergalactic luxury spacecraft next to the Chevette.

        • 0 avatar

          Yep, totally agree. From personal experience.

          • 0 avatar

            Don’t you wonder what they’ll be saying about the Venza in the thirty-years-from-now Junkyard Find series, compared to what they’re driving then…?

          • 0 avatar

            Good point, fincar!

          • 0 avatar
            Volt 230

            precisely why I scratch my head when I read all these reviews blasting any of these new cars today, they’re a thousand light years better than that 70’s and 80’s crap, but I suppose those reviewers never got a chance to experience the Chevettes and the Pintos of yesteryear.

          • 0 avatar

            Very possible, Volt, that’s the only explanation I can think of. I make wax poetic about a car like the old Fiat Uno (and the Uno was way better than a Chevette), but I know it can’t hold a candle to the Versa. Those of us who have first hand experience with 70s and 80s cars, especially the smaller ones, we just can’t honestly criticize efforts like the Versa too much.

          • 0 avatar

            I believe Gentlemen, that you are correct in that the Versa, craptacular as it is in today’s market, is Cavier next to the Chevette’s cat food. However, I remember my mother buying a Vega, my father purchasing a Granada and my aunt buying a Chevette precisely because these were interstellar space ships in comparison to the garbage barges that they grew up driving in. We all wax poetic on the great cars of the ’50s and ’60s, but yet forget that for most people, those cars were unaffordable and once used, were not very reliable. It all depends on where you stand.

          • 0 avatar

            Dolorean, something like that. However, the Chevette was a little worse. I cannot comment on the other cars you mention, but at the time of the Chevette, in Europe and other markets, there were better cars. The Chevette was slow, cramped and uncomfortable for the driver. It was relatively quiet, reliable and economic in fuel economy. Even in its time, the Chevette was outclassed because it was behind the times. The Versa is not. It may be small, but it’s not cramped, slow or behind the times. The difference between a Chevette back then and a Versa now is that in its time the Chevette was relatively competitive, the Versa is very competitive for its time.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Had one of these back in the late 70’s auto and no a/c, even so the car was so underpowered that on a trip from NYC to Niagara Falls, over the mountains, I knew I had to get rid of it when we came back home. Strictly a city car.

  • avatar

    These were great cars for chemically altered college kids to rattle around campus and near environs, #2 son has informed me. But he’s real rich now so everything’s cool.

    • 0 avatar

      You sent one of your kids to college in one of these???

      When you say #2, that must mean there were 3, total. Him being the middle child is the reasoning for the punishment, I presume?

      For shame….

      (Just kiddin’, by the way)

      • 0 avatar

        No, just two. And from the time they were 18 both were smarter and stronger than me, so punishing wasn’t much of an option.

        The younger one bought the Chevette when he was in the dorms, unbeknownst to me. However I did once prevail upon his girlfriend to take her Corsica straight to a mechanic after I cleaned out the air filter housing of all the gas the engine barfed back up through worn intake valves.

        So I wasn’t entirely without influence.

        • 0 avatar

          My kids haven’t reached 10 yet, but my days are coming.

          Lookin’ forward to age 18.

          “Here’s where your going to school. Your bags are packed. We’ll visit soon! Bye bye…”

          • 0 avatar

            Yep, that was a sweet time. Empty, echoing house, time for motorcycles, time to just hang out with the Mrs… yeah.

            Of course, I had boys… girls would’ve turned me into an armed helicopter parent.

  • avatar

    I can’t believe the size of those rear drum brakes! Imagine building one of these before front discs, with drums all around. 60-0 in only 273 feet!

  • avatar

    Rear defroster and three on the floor….faaaaaaaaancy ;-)

    Actually, for a 32 year old crap box, it is shockingly rust free and seems to be in pretty good condition – for a 32 year old crap box.

  • avatar

    Had a 1982 Chevette with 4 speed MT…in beautiful light GRAY over Blue interior. Got totaled when someone ran into the wife in a parking lot after only about 9 months of ownership. 100% on their insurance tab but with a Chevette, that wasn’t a lot of $$$$.

    We bought a new 1985.5 Ford Escort which after the Chevette, seemed like a MB S-Class…The Chevette was fairly trouble free – especially for an early 80s car – if I remember correctly. Still, we should all THANK GOD they don’t make ’em like they used too…Especially in the 1970s and 80s…

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    From What I remember of Chevettes, and I was working on them when new was that they had Vauxhalls bomb proof SOHC 2300 as an option here, also the whole suspension was light years ahead of anything GM had offered up to that point.The diesels would have to have been Isuzu as GM america had built some really woeful car diesels to that point and were not to be trusted. I recall them as being every bit as good as the toyotas etc being on sale at the time and better than the crap skodas,renaults etc. So perhaps it was a GM service problem that killed them off? or did they have the baby isuzu engine in an attempt to beat CAFE laws? Or perhaps the perception held at that time that anything smaller than a fairmont was crap car ? Also,the gemini ,a rebadged Isuzu, was a big seller in Australia but was no where near the car the chevette was .

  • avatar

    If I recall correctly, the Diesel Chevette of that era set Car and Driver’s record for slowest 0-60 time of any passenger car they ever tested, at something like 20 seconds…

  • avatar

    One of the guys in my 80s high school gang had a blue coupe, with fake wood and a roof rack. I wish I took a picture!

    And believe it or not, the real car guy in our group (he knew everything, like which gm car had the 307 and not the 305, etc etc etc) ended up getting a brand new Encore!

  • avatar

    ” miles spent in miserable crapwagons strengthened your character?”

    That’s very Zen.

  • avatar

    When I was in college, my roommate’s father owned a Chevy dealership. My roommate must have done something to piss off his dad, because he came to school in a Chevette automatic for a year or so. Later on he had a new Chevy LUV and then an S-10 Blazer. Eventually his dad sold the dealership and he owned Toyotas after that.

    The Chevette has long been the subject of jokes from a number of standup comics. Here’s a quote from the late Bill Hicks:

    “You know what was really humiliating? I got a DWI in a Chevette. It’s not like if I hit anyone it would make a difference. Be fair. ‘Son you’re drunk no doubt about it, but you’re in a Chevette buddy, hell go get ’em.’ It’s like a Big Wheel hittin’ your shit. They got mosquitoes bigger than these fuckin’ cars. Piece of shit car. Turn the air conditioner on in a Chevette while you’re driving it’s like hitting the car in the balls. It goes down to 5 all of a sudden. I feel like the Flintstones in that thing. You push the lighter in the battery light comes on. No wonder I’m fuckin’ drunk. I hit a moth one time it did $400 damage to this piece of shit. The moth was all right he rolled with it. He took off I’m waitin’ for a tow truck. ‘What happened to your car buddy?’ Shit I hit a bug. ‘You’re lucky to be alive. A man in Tennessee hit a ladybug in one of them things sheered his head clean off…and his thumbs.\'”

    You can Google the Chevette routine told by Jeremy Hotz.

    I know I’ve posted this before, but my favorite Chevette joke was told by a female standup comic (whose name I can’t remember) who had a routine where she told of how horrible her life was. Her boyfriend left her, her job sucked, blah, blah, blah and to top it off she owned a Chevette, the slowest car in the world. She was so depressed that she decided to end it all by driving her Chevette into a tree. So she did. You know what happened?

    The box of Kleenex fell off the dashboard.

  • avatar

    I seem to recall a Type 2 playing ‘Duel,’ with my vette…

    I can see the THERMAC by the air cleaner. Thanks Atlanta, Georgia the sensor that controled the flap from the heat stove was a fugger. Nothing worse than already slow with a strangled carb.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The T1000 has the same files that I do.”

  • avatar
    Ron in WA

    I owned a Chevette. Worst car I ever had. I remember it almost fondly now. It was given to us by an uncle. It had been a rental car. 4-door, 2-speed auto( I think) with air conditioning. Well, it came from Florida. It was pathetic.

    I soon found out the only way to accelerate reasonably was to floor it until I was ready for the shift, let up, then floor it again. It could kind of go when flogged.

    It was kind of reliable but would never pass the emission inspection the first time. I was kind of handicapped in doing a tune-up because I could not find the distributor. I am an engineer and pretty handy. There was a great big steel box bracket on the side of the engine that held the a/c compressor. After a couple of years I traced the spark plug wires under that box and found the distributor. At least I could change the points.

    I was so irritated with the car I once locked my keys in the car. What to do. I just grabbed the top of the door window frame and bent it out several inches. Reached in, unlocked the door, then bent it back.

    Best thing that ever happened was getting totaled. Other driver’s fault. The settlement got me a long way to a new 1990 Toyota Corolla. Wonderful car. I still have it.

    • 0 avatar

      You have a Chevette or a Vega? Chevette never had a 2 speed transmission nor points.

      • 0 avatar
        Ron in WA

        It was a Chevette. But I am sure you are right about the transmission and the distributor. At this distance in time my memory is fortunately hazy. I replaced the distributor cap with considerable difficulty. And I applied a lead foot to that transmission, no matter how many gears it had. Thanks for the correction.

  • avatar

    You know the Chevette wasn’t all that bad because you never see it on any ‘Worst Cars of All Time’ list. Oh, the Vega, Citation, Pinto, Yugo, et al, they’re all there, but never the Chevette. It might have been bad, but it would almost always start and move under its own power, albeit very slowly (especially if you happen to be unfortunate enough to have beem tagged with one of the glacially slow diesel versions). You know you had one of the slowest cars ever built when you got beaten in the stoplight drags by a VW Microbus.

    The Chevette was generally regarded as one of those ‘cockroaches of the road’ cars that you could never kill, no matter how hard one tried. All you needed was a little duct tape and baling wire to keep a Chevette going.

  • avatar

    My grandparents had a ’82 or so Chevette, in silver with a maroon interior. Had a 4 speed manual and was pretty basic, bought it brand new. They kept it immaculate. I think when they finally traded it in for a ’91 Regal, it had only 70-80k on it and this was circa the mid 00’s.

    One of my cousins needed a car after a divorce, so they let her borrow it until she got back on her feet, my late dad drove it from the OC to Lake Elsinore to her, he told us that if he exceeded 75 MPH the ‘Check Engine’ light would illuminate. Good times I’d imagine……

  • avatar

    Under 3000lbs and RWD. I even did a check for local ones for sale and I found 7 of them all under a grand, running/driving.

    Wonder why the drift / lemons / whatever crowd hasn’t bothered with them. Those 90’s Nissan 240’s rusted out even quicker…

    A Chevette sleeper with little drag radials out back and a 400 HP turbo ECOTEC would be a fun car.

    (still a POS, but fun)

  • avatar

    I had a 1976 fire orange rallye sport when I was in college. I was able to pack all my belongings in it when I went to school, then again for Summer break. My dad actually found it cheap, fixed it up and sold it to me for $900. I think I sold it with 110K miles and it still ran well, and the engine didn’t burn any oil. It was definitely not a car to attract a date.

    The thing couldn’t get out of its own way. Having the automatic transmission didn’t help the cause either. If I would climb a hill on the freeway, the transmission oil got so hot it would boil out of the dipstick tube onto the exhaust manifold, causing large clouds of billowing white smoke to pour out the back. 70-75 mph equated to 4500 rpm on a cool day, and 4700 when it got hot out. Actually, it was probably the smartest think my dad did, getting me into a car that kept me out of trouble for the most part.

    I went to a party one night and parked in my friend’s unlit driveway. Someone came in the house and asked who’s porsche(?!) was parked in the driveway. My answer was that it was actually a ‘vette. They were impressed until I clarified that it was a CHEvette. Hey, it was worth a laugh.

    Overall, I can’t say I miss that car.

  • avatar

    I still have my 81 Chevette in 2014. It has never let me down.

    Have you noticed that none of them rust? Can you say that about other cars?

  • avatar

    Roger Smith supposedly cancelled a new generation Chevette, code named “S car”, per C&D. Saying would ‘not make any money’. Instead we got captive imports, that became Geos. And Saturns.

    Anyone have insider info?

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