Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Chevette

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1981 chevrolet chevette

North Americans could buy the Chevrolet Chevette, featuring the finest in affordable early-1970s Opel Kadett C technology, starting with the 1976 model year. Chevette sales continued all the way through 1987, amazingly enough, because it could be manufactured and sold so cheaply.

Since the Chevette was so simple and sold in such large numbers, enough have survived that I still find them in the big self-service wrecking yards to this day. Here’s a grimy, beat-up ’81 spotted in a Denver yard last winter.

I found 2007-tagged collector-car license plates and a 2007 Harbor Freight ad in the car, so I’m pretty sure it sat outside for the 12 years prior to arriving here.

The can of Radiator Stop-Leak tells us that the car suffered some overheating problems prior to being parked.

Nearly all of the Chevettes I’ve seen have had manual transmissions, because Chevette buyers wanted cheap transportation, period, and paying extra for two-pedal convenience didn’t make much sense. This car has the luxurious automatic, though.

This beats slapping cannabis dispensary stickers all over your car.

An overheating Chevette that got crashed and then sat outside in High Plains Colorado for more than a decade won’t get rescued. This car might have donated some useful parts to a surviving Chevette prior to being eaten by The Crusher, though.

Car of choice for cheap priests!

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3 of 45 comments
  • Probert For around $15 you can have a professional check important safety areas - seems like a bargain. It pointed to a rear brake problem on my motorcycle. It has probably saved a lot of lives. But, like going to a dentist, no-one could say it is something they look forward to. (Well maybe a few - it takes all kinds...)
  • VoGhost ICE is so dangerous.
  • Akear Back as early as 2014 Ford was building some pretty decent vehicles. The Ford Fusion was getting good reviews and selling around 300,000 annually. The Mark MKZ was also the top selling US luxury car at the time in sales. My Ford Fusion is approaching the 200,000 mile mark, while current Fords blow gaskets at 40,000 miles.
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  • 28-Cars-Later "Honda and Acura haven’t yet released an EV in the United States"Ok..."The 2024 ZDX rides on GM’s Ultium Platform and will feature Google built-in services. "Waht?