Junkyard Find: 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1984 chevrolet chevette sedan
In early 1973, the new GM T Platform was introduced to the world as the Brazilian-market Chevrolet Chevette, followed soon after by the Opel Kadett C in Europe. The Isuzu Bellett Gemini appeared in Japan in 1974, and it wasn’t long before these cheap, rear-wheel-drive subcompacts were being sold in every corner of the GM Empire. North America got the Chevette starting in the 1976 model year, and sales continued here all the way through 1987. American Chevette sales peaked here in the late 1970s, so the examples from the middle 1980s have been tough to find in junkyards. Here’s one of those cars, a thoroughly battered ’84 in a San Francisco Bay Area yard.
This one has the two-tone paint option, which added $133 to the price of a $5,508 car (that would be about the same as a $357 option on a $14,787 car in 2021).
A far more expensive option was the three-speed automatic transmission, which added $395 (about $1,060 today) to the final price tag.
Power came from a 1.6-liter Isuzu four-cylinder engine, rated at 65 horsepower in 1984. An Isuzu diesel was also available, generating 51 slow-motion horses.
Though very obsolete by this time, the Chevette just kept selling and so GM kept building it. A couple of new four-doors managed to get close to the Chevette sedan’s price in 1984, including the Mazda GLC ($5,644) and the Plymouth/ Dodge Colt ($5,639); even such super-cheap machines as the Toyota Starlet and Subaru STD were priced closer to $6,000.
It appears that this car sat outdoors for many years and endured a nearby fire that didn’t manage to set the interior alight.
Versatile, economical, dependable basic transportation.
In 1984, 97 percent of all the Chevettes ever built (presumably just the American-market ones) were still on the road. Strap that canoe on the roof and go on vacation!To see more than 2,100 additional Junkyard Finds, visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.
Join the conversation
2 of 31 comments
  • Pale ghost Pale ghost on Oct 15, 2021

    My wife bought a new one during the gas crisis. She loved it and I catch hell whenever I make fun of it. Her prior car was a Corvair and that she only kept it for a year probably accounts for her positive opinion. Her parents made her get rid of it for safety reasons. Her father was able to sell it for more than she paid for it.

  • Albigensian Albigensian on Oct 17, 2021

    I bought my first car in 1982: a brand-new Toyota Tercel. I’m pretty sure I paid about $5,400. for it. Then again, it was the base model, and stripped to a degree I’d never seen before. To mention just a few: 1. No radio. Not even an AM-only, just a piece of plastic where the radio was supposed to be. Of course, it didn’t have air conditioning either (but many cheap cars didn’t then). 2. No carpet. The floor was covered with sheet plastic. (Utilitarian, perhaps, but easy to clean). 3. A 4-speed stick (when all the other Tercels that year came with a 5-speed). I think they just left the top gear off of it. 4. Roller-skate wheels: 145x13 tires all around (which was small even for 1982). 5. No sound insulation, no outside mirror on the passenger side, an inside mirror that lacked the usual day/night feature. The car was transportation: it lasted for ten years before rusting away beyond hope (and safety). But I don’t think it came with anything not mandated by law. Of course, this type of marketing isn’t done anymore. Probably because buyers look on the internet long before setting foot in a showroom. No Apple Carplay? Fuggedaboutit!

  • Rna65689660 Late last September US 2 from St. Ignace, MI to Everett, WA.
  • Tassos I find it ridiculous to call any of these later, less luxurious, less substsantial (compared to their 1940s-1960s glorious ancestors) Lincolns "rare rides".There was absolutely nothing rare about them. the roads were full of them then.
  • Tassos Highway 1 in CA, both ways (LA to SF)Rheinstrasse in Germany, with spectacular views of the castles distracting the driverAlmost all German Autobahns, over 2 3-day weekends, for a total of 6,000 KMMany European scenic coastal roads, some of them many many times every year (those near my summer home)
  • 6-speed Pomodoro Pikes Peak. Me and a car group arrived half hour before the gate opened so we could set our own pace. Everyone kept their foot on the gas like a gangster until the trees disappeared. Amazing trip.
  • Tassos In Japan any car the size of the Camry is very cumbersome and impractical.In the US those who buy the Camry, 99% of them don't give a rat's behind about driving enjoyment, they are not auto enthusiasts. I also recommend TOyotas to such people whenever they ask me, while I would absolutely never even consider one for me (except maybe a Lexus LS 600h when I turn 105 and probably have a chauffeur anyway)I find it an utterly ridiculous waste of billions of good $ to use the "camry" in any kind of racing, esp NASCAR.