Piston Slap: Scootin' Around A Classic Car Valuation?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap scootin around a classic car valuation

Cheryl writes:

I have a 1982 Chevrolet Chevette Scooter and I’m trying to determine its value. It has manual transmission and no A/C. Is there a source you recommend I contact?

Thank you for your help!

Sajeev answers:

Cheryl, you don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this moment. For something, anything, related to the Chevy Chevette.

Plus it’s a Scooter: the stripped out model so minimalist it mocked the works of Josef Albers for being too busy! Many readers know Chevettes were a [s]terrible[/s] great candidate for V-8 swaps, especially this super light version.

I can’t imagine anything better than LSX-FTW TURBO SCOOTER!

On to your query: Classic car values have the fluidity of a wandering stream, and everyone’s opinion is the right answer. Researching values at NADA, Hagerty and Hemmings is a good start. Also, check the classified section of Hemmings and eBay for comps.

But here’s the real problem: perceived condition of a classic.

Countless sellers think their vehicles are worth more than market value: their ride is in “A+” example when it’s actually a solid “B”. The latter happens when the seller overvalues the reconditioning’s quality (paint job starting from bare metal vs. Maaco) and utility (no rotisserie restorations on undesirable cars).

And I don’t even wanna discuss market valuations of restomods, in varying degrees of customization/budgets.

But I, using my infinite powers of perception, think your 1982 Chevrolet Chevette Scooter is worth anywhere from $200 to $7000. The low is for a non-runner that’s lived outside, worn to bits and worth little more than roughly scrap value. The high is for a museum quality, less than 5,000 miles, untouched and original down to the factory tires and battery.

An LSX-FTW Chevette Scooter? PRICELESS.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

[Image: Shutterstock user J HIME]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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2 of 83 comments
  • RHD RHD on Dec 17, 2015

    Everyone that I have known who drove a Chevette hated them. They were GM's cheapest car, the epitome of outdated mediocrity. At least the one pictured above is precisely the right color for what most former Chevette owners think of it.

  • Deliverator Deliverator on Dec 18, 2015

    I have a special spot in my heart for Chevettes and Acadians because one was my first car. It had the 5-speed Borg Warner which was cool and was the Scooter. I added most of the features those cars had that I could snag from the junkyards. But I had lots of problems with the carburetor and it would ice up when it was cold and shut off the car. Also the throttle would freeze stuck... in the wide open position. Still I liked that car.

  • Lou_BC ERay? A southern model will be the BillyRay.
  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!
  • Inside Looking Out I would avoid American cities if I can. European cities are created for humans and Americans for cars.
  • Inside Looking Out I used True car once in 2014 and got a great deal. The difference is that you do nothing but dealers call you. No haggling but you can get the same deal browsing inventories on dealers websites. It just matter of convenience, Rich people delegate job to someone else because time costs more.