GT 5 Speed With 17K Miles: 1989 Chevy Beretta

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

The Chevy Beretta has long been captured in a debate about its merits; was it ever a formidable import fighter? Could the GTUs and GTZs offer a cheap alternative to a BMW M3? Who knows (probably not), but if you have to have one, this 17K mile 1989 Beretta GT here on eBay is likely the one to buy. Bidding is over $2K with the reserve unmet. 

Wow – just how I’d spec one out. The GT trim with the mesh wheels, blacked out rear tail light panel and a 5-speed manual transmission is the perfect Beretta. I do like the GTUs quite a bit, but these GT models just looked cleaner and lighter. The paint on this car is outstanding, and it’s so nice to see a low mileage model wearing an attractive color and options.

So often these survivors are stripper models or otherwise unloved examples. This Beretta shows incredibly well, and I’d wager it’s even a bit rare with the manual transmission. The interior awash in matching red surfaces and carpet, not at all uncommon for the era. The dash remains uncracked and OEM floor mats still grace the carpets. The Beretta is a true one-owner car, and dealer-serviced at that.

The 2.8 V6 is a healthy motor, made even better when paired to the 5-speed. The engine bay shows like new, and the listing claims it “…retains all factory components.” Truthfully, the Beretta will never become a collector’s item, but the survivor-grade examples like this will always be sought after. The $7,943 Buy-It-Now doesn’t seem outrageous to me, but a $5,500 deal seems closer to the right number.

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Comments

  1. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    When these came out they looked super-futuristic. Consider the Cavalier for contrast. The hidden door-handles are a nice touch, and nothing says “’80s” like those webbed BBS-ish wheels. I’d take this one just as it sits. The GTU body kit was hideous.

    4+

  2. Pa Tina

    17,000 miles? Why does the rug look worn out by the clutch? “Don’t Do The Crime If You Can’t Do The Time”

    5+

    • John

      I was thinking the shine on the pedals meant no more tread, how can that happen with 17k miles? The rest of the car looks new, but….

      4+

      • Alan (Michigan)

        My take as well. But the hole/worn spot in the carpet next to the clutch pedal tells me this: The driver was “one of those”…. A person who spends a ton of time sitting still with the clutch pedal depressed to the floor. Commonly, that means rotating the foot a little back and forth, because it gets uncomfortable after half a minute. So the pedal and the carpet next to it take a beating in short order.

        Yea, I expect that this low mileage car needs a clutch job. I’d not be at all surprised to find that the throw-out and pilot bearings are shot, and that the pressure plate is fatigued as well. Most drivers who think they know how to use a manual transmission properly can drive one OK, but fail miserably when it comes to knowing how to do so in a manner which can make the system last over the long term.

        2+

      • carsofchaos

        Because it is Beretta, that’s why.

        0

  3. Ex Benzo Tech.

    These were nice cars and all that.
    V6 was a super tight squeeze in this little car. Repairs will be difficult.
    That’s the only negative I can think of.
    I have never seen a manual tranny with a v6 , must be relatively fast.

    1+

  4. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    I can see some things that would not make this Beretta work for me, but first….

    The V6 is probably good for a modest sized car like this, especially with the 5-speed, but to be sure I would like to see torque of at least 180.

    The big downside, and the thing that would not make this an M3 fighter for me, is the FWD and the extreme up-front position of the engine in front of the strut towers. The car has FWD for various reasons—good interior space, compact / less expensive powertrain—but excellent handling isn’t among them. OTOH, I am guessing this would have cost a lot less than an E30 M3.

    2+

    • Pa Tina

      This could be an M3 fighter because the person driving the M3 would be laughing so hard they would lose control of the car.

      7+

    • Ivan B

      I had 92 gt 5 speed for daily driver .
      Put 250,000 miles total myself bought it with 185,000 just oil,brakes and tires . Interior died from sun but thing run its heart off ,great car

      0

  5. Bill Pressler

    I had a new ’89 Beretta GT. Only problem I remember was that in the corner of the instrument panel pad, in about the center of the pad from right to left, something was coming unglued from underneath and the pad got a lump there. Replaced under warranty. Also, the door map pocket on the driver’s door broke away from the door panel. The factory fix was to attach the map pocket to the panel, but not to the door as was originally done. I remember giving the service writer grief about that as after the fix, when you closed the door, the lower corner of the door panel vibrated, LOL. I liked how mine drove but as the years have gone by, I hate that raspy exhaust note those cars had. They went through mufflers quickly too.

    3+

    • RichS

      braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap

      haha yup – the 60 degree V6 curse

      1+

  6. Jim Letendre

    Had a 89 GT. Was an automatic, but had a little bit of balls. Had it for 6 years and only did brakes, tires and oil changes. Door panels were awful. Ripped at the top. Lucky they were grayish, just used duct tape. I also liked the exhaust note.

    1+

  7. Achman

    125hp/FWD

    I’m just saying

    2+

  8. Rod444

    I always like the looks of the Beretta. From the side. Was always kind of surprised when standing behind it, how narrow and tall it actually looked. Seemed to me that if GM had made it about 8″ wider it would have been much better proportioned.

    1+

  9. boxdin

    Now if it had the quad 4 it would be interestng, but the v6 is juat a large lump.
    Wasn’t there a GTZ Baretta w quad 4?

    3+

    • Rachel Ann

      Yes, my BIL had one in high school. She was beast and liked to fly. His was also stick shift. Loved that car. They were great cars. Better than the Fiero I had. LOL.

      0

  10. steve

    would be better with the 3.1

    0

  11. gnvair

    I had an 89 GT with a a 5 speed. The 2.8 was just ok. I swapped a 3.1 in from a 90 and it was a night and day difference. It was a very quick car surprising numerous late model cars. It would run 15 second 1/4 mile times and handled extremely well. It also would get 33-34 mpg on the highway. I put over 230k miles on it before I sold it to get a newer one. Sorry I sold it because it was one of the most fun daily drivers I ever had. It would definitely give an E30 M30 a good run in acceleration but also in handling.

    4+

  12. PaulieB

    So…it hasn’t had the steering rack replaced yet? Those were famous for “morning sickness”. the seals would leak internally causing a degree of steering difficulty. The doors promptly fell of it the day I rec’d the “please see dealer for hinge replacement” post card.. I had an ’88 with a 4 cyl and automatic. I put 260,000 on it..really.. Hit a deer (8 point buck) with it on the 4th of July in 1994. 70 MPH. It creased the hood a little.. that deer slid right up and over the hood.. Threw a rod on Christmas Eve 1994 while I was on Rte 89 in Concord NH..at 11:55 PM. Coasted up the off ramp. The guy at the wrecking yard said “Well I guess you really used this one up..” He was right!

    1+

  13. Len

    Had a bright red 91 GTZ Quad 4 with a five speed manual transmission and the matching color 5 spoke rims. Loved that car and would give my left you know what to have it back. What a fun car to drive. Some good memories in that ride. My first “new” dealer purchased car. Traded up to a 94 Z28 so it didn’t hurt too bad. 1 flaw, wasn’t very good in the Pennsylvania snow. Could have been the factory goodyears on it as well.

    1+

  14. Todd Zuercher

    I always liked the looks of these, particularly the GTs and I think these have aged well in the intervening years. I’ve never heard 2.8 V6 and healthy in the same sentence before though – make mine a Quad 4 please.

    1+

  15. Alan (Michigan)

    My wife had one when we first met, and it became a family car of sorts. That one was an automatic of course, but performance was decent. It handled fairly well too, although I never autocrossed it. We kept it quite a while, and put some miles on over a few years. Three relatively abnormal issues cropped up: A failed driver’s door hinge pin, allowing the door to fall off of the car when it was opened (recall item that we were not notified about). A failed electronic ignition control unit, which was a solid-state plate mounted to the front of the block, to which was attached the three Hall-effect coils. A sudden and mysterious run-ability ailment, was the death-knell as far as I was concerned. Two doors and two very small children who needed to be strapped into rear child seats were another reason that the car had to go.

    The photos make this car look great, but I’d want to inspect the underside as well, and look for signs of body work. I see moisture in the rear center trim. Try to find a new one which has never been wet.

    1+

  16. Ron G

    I really wanted one of these back in High School, this color combo too. This was one of the cool cars among kids in my hometown back then, this was the early 2000’s in Ohio. A short but bad experience with a Chevy Corsica, this cars nerdy brother, scared me away from the Beretta, so I ended up with a ’94 Plymouth Sundance Duster instead when I had the money to get a nice car. I still like these and it’s become kind of a rare event that I see any now. This one is nice, but I find the excessive wear on the pedals, the hole in the carpet and the dirty strut towers kind of odd on an otherwise mint example. Not a fan of the 87-90 interiors though, they didn’t age well at all, especially in the south. The ac vents that run the length of the dash get brittle over time and break easily, had a few friends that had this issue, the Corsica had a similar setup and the same problem. The dash itself cracks and warps over time, all typical GM of the time. I prefer the 91-96 interiors of these cars, better looking layout in my opinion. Still, nice car though and if it were 4-5k max I’d be really interested.

    0

  17. Jilliann

    My favorite car I ever had. Traded my 79 chevette for the 89 Beretta GT summer of 1991, right before my senior year in high school. Friends and family still talk about this car, because we loved it so much. Such great memories. The car took a serious beating, with curbs, mailboxes, fence posts, deer, too many too list. Had 150,000 miles on it when I traded it in 1996. Totally wished I would have kept it. Mine had the light grey interior with an automatic. I luved the sunroof that could pop out completely like a moon roof. My husband even crashed her into a cow pasture taking a turn too fast one summer night. The cow fence broke, the cows scattered all over the road, and the Beretta drove right back up the hill like nothing happened.

    0

  18. Phil

    I bought this same care and color also a 5 speed in 90′ got a great deal on it since it was a year on the lot and stick. I loved this car! It drove nice and fast, a muscle car it is not but fun to drive and good gas mileage. I sold it with 90k plus on the odometer. I replaced the clutch at 75k and all injectors as they went 3 at a time on me. The dash started to crack as it sat outside as I commuted to work. The electronic dash was never a problem for me that was always a cool part of the car. I agree with everyone that the wear next to the clutch is worrisome, I never had that even with 90k on the car. But she looks very nice.

    0

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