Junkyard Find: 1976 Chevrolet Chevette Scooter
The Chevrolet Chevette was a primitive, cramped, rear-wheel-drive econobox hammered together with obsolete technology… that sold like crazy because it was simple and cheap at a time when stagflation and gas prices were up and confidence in the future was down.
The Chevette Scooter was the most affordable Chevette; here’s one that managed to evade The Crusher‘s jaws until age 42, finally ending its days in a snow-covered Denver self-service yard.
I have photographed quite a few junkyard Chevettes in recent years, including this ’77, this ’79, this optioned-up ’79, this ’80, this ’80, this ’82, this diesel-engined ’84 (yes, there was a Diesel Chevette, and yes, it was as slow as you’d imagine), this Chevette-sibling ’86 Pontiac 1000, this matching Chevette Scooter/Pontiac T1000 combo, and this bunch-O-Chevettes near Pikes Peak. Today’s is the first discarded Scooter I have seen since 2010; the extra-cheapo Chevette trim level was discontinued after 1984 and most of these cars got crushed before 1990.
1976 was the first model year for the Chevette, which — believe it or not — continued in production all the way through 1987. A new ’76 Scooter listed for $2,899, or around $13,000 in inflation-adjusted 2018 dollars. With the Scooter, you got extremely basic transportation and no more: 52-horsepower Isuzu engine, four-speed manual transmission, no back seat, no radio, no frills of any sort. Miserable as today’s $13k cars are, they’re like starships next to the Chevette Scooter.
This one appears to have spent some time in Boise during the 1980s.
You could get a new (non-CVCC) Honda Civic for $2,729 in 1976, and you’d get a car that was superior to the Scooter in nearly every respect (as long as you didn’t live in a rust-prone region, in which case the Civic would be a heap of red powder with some glass and rubber parts scattered around within five years).
Tall people and German shepherds fit just fine.
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Cheap, basic and cramped, just like most Jap cars then. Not that there would be any anamosity towards those.... The cam in head engine was not Isuzu, this was straight Opel. A dull car yes, but rugged and reliable, absolutely!
My, my, my... so many comments about what is for me the worst car ever made. Of course, count 1 of my indictment in the Court of the Car Guys will be my unending fondness for the Isuzu Piazza/Impulse, essentially a Chevette with a much nicer suit.