Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Chevy's other Vette
Now, at the time, I really hated them. I think they had air conditioning, but it never really worked. I think they had radios, but they never really worked. My dad used to glue old license plates under the carpet on a couple of them so your feet wouldn’t pop through the rusty floor Fred Flintstone style. Her last one, an ’85 two-door, was still around when I started driving, and I remember that you could floor it going up gradual hills and it would lose speed. Sorry, Mom, those things were crap wagons.
The Chevette began clogging up the fast lane on American highways in 1976, but the story doesn’t start there. GM actually started building a little coupe version of the Chevette for the Brazilian market in 1973. In was also sold in Germany under the name Opal Kadette. Eventually, region-specific versions of the Chevette in different body styles turned up all over the world.
It’s hard to get very excited about the technology that went into the Chevette. Only three different sized engines went under the hood throughout the car’s run, and they were nothing to write home about. The hot rods would have had a 1.6-liter four-banger that churned out maybe 70-hp. There was also a 1.4-liter overhead-cam four that was good for like 60-hp. Then in 1981 they came out with a spectacular 1.8-liter diesel that clanked-out a massive 51-hp. The little buggers were bulletproof, though, and the engines would often outlast the car’s body.
The slideshow below has Chevette pictures that I’ve taken at local car shows. Just kidding. I’ve never seen a Chevette at a car show. So I had to use old promotional photos, brochures, and advertisements instead. You’ll also find a couple of pictures in there of foreign-market models, including the Pontiac Acadian which was sold in Canada, and the T-1000 which was sold at Pontiac stores in the U.S. Finally, there's a video of a 1977 Chevette blasting through a cannon at a Joie Chitwood show. All told, it’ll probably give you more Chevette images than you ever hoped to see in your lifetime.
Also, here is the video version of my slideshow, you know, for something different ...