17,560 Original Miles: 1991 Chevy Beretta GT

While many of us may remember the Chevy Beretta as a cheap but attractive commuter car, it’s begun to develop a mystique of sorts among those of us who yearned to drive a high-zoot GTZ or GTU during our formative years. I credit the car’s looks with the motivation fueling the nostalgia, as it was by and large unexceptional in anything less than aforementioned “performance” trims. This one is the slightly-better-than-base GT model, and it’s getting some eyeballs due to its low mileage of just 17,560. Find it here on the Lancaster Car Co. Facebook page for $9,985.

All preconceived notions aside, Chevy at least did a nice job incorporating some attractive details into the final design. The smoked tailights, mesh wheels, and integrated rear spoiler all combine to make this car look far more sporting than it actually was. I always liked that the door handle was part of the B-pillar, making the door itself completely smooth side from a small strip of beltline trim. Minor points, for sure, but these little details in an otherwise cheap car are rare to see in this price class.

Now, the interior didn’t make you want to wax poetic about the Beretta, and this is really where GM fell down on a lot of their vehicles in the 80s and 90s. Frankly, I don’t think you need to look much further than this photo to understand why the imports ate GM’s lunch as it pertained to entry level vehicles. With a Honda, you got an actual cockpit that was screwed together exceedingly well and made you feel as if you were driving a cheap Acura. With a Beretta, you were reminded everywhere you looked that you were in an econobox.

If you could get past that, the performance was at least respectable, especially when paired with a manual transmission. Heck, I can remember an advertisement where Chevy interpreted one road test review to mean the GTZ was a poor man’s BMW E30 M3. While the Beretta clearly never threatened any high-performance European models, I can see why some might find a survivor-grade example appealing – but not $10K appealing. Make mine a GTU with the polished wheels and a 5-speed and then I’ll be tempted.

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Comments

  1. Ian C

    I always thought these were actually nice looking cars for the time period. If only they would have been front engine/rear drive… then they would have had something!

    Like 8
  2. Stangalang

    A friend of mine had the GTZ bought it brand new..at a time while at Fort Bragg 82nd Airborne Div..never had a problem with it..kept it serviced religiously and drove it for years sold it with over 200000 on the clock. They were built pretty good…this looks great and obviously taken care of but too much $$ for what it is
    IMHO

    Like 5
  3. Dave

    I can’t imagine anyone perusing this site being interested in this car.

    Like 3
    • AnalogMan

      Actually, I’m a hard-core gearhead and regular here, and I think this is an interesting car.

      There are so many ways to have fun with cars other than the ‘usual suspects’. Go to any Cars & Coffee and you’ll see endless rows of Mustangs, Camaros, MoPars and other muscle cars, Porsches, BMWs, and the usual show-off German stuff, and Italian exotics. But a clean low-mileage Chevy Beretta? With a stick?? You’d be the only one in any show field, and would probably get more attention than a row of Chevelle SS’s or Z-28’s.

      Of course the Beretta doesn’t perform in the same class as any of those cars. It doesn’t cost anywhere near what they do either. $10k won’t even buy a basket case project Mustang or Camaro. What else can you get for this money that’s unusual, rare, fun to drive (in its own way), clean, low-mileage and ready to go, and that you’ll never see coming at you down the road? Plus it’s modern enough that you could actually drive it without having to tinker with it every few miles. $10k gets you a 4-5 year old Nissan Sentra with 30-40k miles, and I know which car I think would be more fun to tool around in.

      There’s a place in life for the forgotten, the underdogs, the unpopular, the unique and irreplaceable. Both cars and people. I think for $10k this is a fun car for not much money.

      Like 44
      • Michael Leyshon Member

        Well said Analog Man. You speak on behalf of a large majority of readers. I enjoy write ups about regular cars I’ve seen throughout my life a lot. I can read about the exotics and muscle cars anywhere. I click on the 79 Chevette articles more than high end Mustangs. There’s a lot to offer here and you aren’t forced to read about anything you don’t care to.

        Like 21
      • Ralph

        What I find really obnoxious on this site is the inconsistent bagging on one car and then praise for another heap.

        “Oooo look another 5hp obscure french motorized garbage can”-this is awesome.

        Low millage Berretta, all of sudden now were consumer reports talking about fabric material and quality of 25 year old plastics……

        Like 4
    • andrew smith

      I’d buy it in a second. Had one before and sold it when I went into the military. Great sleek looks and an agile powerful performer with the 3.1.

      Like 6
    • Oregon_Guy78

      Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, I’m definitely interested. I had a brochure for these as I collected brochures for the pictures, seeing cars like this on barn finds brings back good memories of my teen years.

      Like 9
    • Tom Member

      If you were fairly young and of driving age around this time this was an interesting car. I had an 89 Z24 same color combo and motor, LOVED it. Wish I kept it. I bought it for my wife, she loved it. This particular car, nice with the manual as well, is a piece of history especially with its low mileage and original condition. VERY COOL. My favorite color. I am a driven 60’s muscle car guy, have had many and will continue.

      To your comment, I believe many knowledgeable people on this site appreciate automotive history of all decades. The 90’s didn’t offer much in my opinion so this specific car, 30 years later, stands out.

      Like 6
  4. Jim

    Evidently it’s already sold as it’s no longer on the dealership’s website.

    Like 3
    • Leon

      Hello Jim. We are the new owner of the car. It is really in mint condition and really does have 17,600 miles on it. (we put a few on it after we bought it.) The owner before me(not the dealer) said it never saw rain or snow. We are looking for the socket for the locking lug. Would you have any idea where to find one?

      Like 1
  5. Woody

    I had mine for 17 years.my mother bought it new in 89 I Sold it in its 22nd year. And it had almost 400k on it. 2.8 automatic. Unheard of to get that much mileage out of that car. I did take good care of it tho. Regular known rust control and good routine Maint saved it. I sold mine when there weren’t many left on the road in my area. And I still got great money for it. Sadly the guy I sold it to wasn’t as vigilant as I was and it didn’t last much longer. But I did see it from time to time for about 2 years after. Then I heard it went to the bone yard. I wish I could post pics.

    Like 2
  6. CCFisher

    In early 1984, having just locked down the exterior design for the ’87 Beretta, the designers dropped in on their colleagues in the interior design studio. Justifiably proud of the sleek exterior they created, the team was dismayed at the sight of what the interior designers were up to.

    “C’mon, guys! We gave you a great body, and you’re going to fill it with THIS?”

    “We’re not competing with the Cozy Coupe!”

    “Barbie’s Corvette has a nicer interior.”

    “These plastics look like they were made with a Mattel Vac-u-form!”

    Dejected, they wander off to work on the boring-as-“The Nutcracker” 1990 Lumina.

    Like 5
    • Jim

      Someone else who had a Vac-u-form! :)

      Like 2
    • Ralph

      The pre-airbag interior was actually pretty cool and well laid out, I don’t think you really know what you’re talking about you’re just bagging on GM because of whatever reasons.

      • CCFisher

        Let’s see… I had a 1980 Citation X-11, a 1984 Sunbird SE Turbo, a 1986 Cavalier Z-24, a 1988 S-10 Blazer, and a 1991 Grand Am SE HO. My parents had a 1978 Grand Prix, a 1984 6000 STE, a 1988 S-10, a 1990 Grand Prix, and a 1991 S-10. So, yeah, I know what I’m talking about.

  7. Bakyrdhero

    I had two Corsica’s as a teen. One with this interior and one with the older interior. Believe it or not this interior is far superior to the original one. Except for that stupid cigarette lighter near the shifter. Mine routinely ended up on the floor while trying to smoke and drive.

    Like 3
  8. rustylink

    mmm. My buddy once told me that his wife was on him for a new car for her to drive. They bickered back and forth – I was with him when she called him from a dealer telling him she had just taken delivery of a new Berretta. I remember him telling her if she brought it home, he was divorcing her, as he knew these cars were POS’s back then. When I saw the new Beratta pull into the drive way – I quickly exited….

    Like 3
  9. Keith

    Back in the day, I used to get these and it’s four door cousin, the Corsica as rental cars. Honestly, they were pretty good cars. The interior was pretty cheap, but the seats were comfortable. Decent performance and I thought the coupes were actually pretty good looking. I also used to request Lumina and Grand Prix coupes on a regular basis too. All pretty good for the time. Did I ever buy one? Nope I owned an Acura and later a BMW 3 Series. Both significantly better cars. This one would make a great starter old car for a teenager. Stick too!

    Like 1
  10. Steve

    Nice looking car, and had a 1993 3.1 liter back in the day and I liked it. It would have to be a GTZ or GTU for me to spend 10k on one thou.

    Like 1
  11. Lynn Dockey Member

    Owned a 90 gtz 180 hp
    Quad 4. That car would dust most 80’s era V8’s. Black with grey interior. Traded it on 92 achieva SCX. the olds was faster and had newer tech but the beretta looked better.

  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I remember the first Beretta I saw. It was in the parking lot of a NASCAR race in Loudon, NH. I spotted it and we walked up to it because we had not heard of them – it must have been an advance vehicle because they didn’t show up in the showrooms until a few months later.

    I remember thinking that the shape was unique for the time and looked pretty good. The biggest thing I remember appreciating were the door handles incorporated in the pillars.

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      These were introduced to the dealers in March of 1987 so you saw this car in January?

      Like 1
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        No, it was September, so maybe the year before? I’m not sure, too long ago for me, but there definitely were none on the streets at the time.

  13. Stevieg

    I worked as a wash boy @ a Chevy dealership when these were new. I liked how they looked & how they drove. I wouldn’t even mind a 4 cylinder one, if the right deal. The one thing I do recall about them is the doors fell off. Less than a year old & they would be in for new hinges. I believe GM tried using Corsica hinges at first. That was a FAIL lol.
    I also owned a Corsica hatchback I really liked. Yup, Corsica hatchback. Mine was a 4 popper with column shift automatic & bucket seats with no console. Weird car! I liked it.

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      Steve, I also worked at a Chevy dealer when these came out. I was in charge of reconditioning the used cars for sale.

      I liked these cars so much, ,in 2007 I bought a GTZ, I think it was, and I loved it.

      i don’t get the comments on the interior. The interior had everything needed at the time and actually had a different design then most of the other Chevrolets out there.

      Like 1
  14. Stevieg

    I agree with you. The dashboard was designed to seem “futuristic” for the time & the cloth was comfortable. Not a bad interior, as far as I was concerned. I really enjoyed my Corsica.

    Like 1
  15. Bakyrdhero

    Pit was cool how the wiper switch was mounted on the Gauge cluster Instead of the traditional multi use blinker stalk. My switch did throw out a puff of smoke and a flame before quitting on me though. Seems to me both interior designs were comfortable and different for the time. I want to say they had the “Euro” feel.

    Like 1
  16. Stevieg

    Yeah, as a young kid, fresh outta highschool, the interiors seemed nice to me. But keep in mind, I was one of those morons with a mullet, torn Jean’s & a Metallica tee-shirt. I had no taste then, so it is all subjective. But sure was plush compared to my 1968 Valient I drove back then lol.

    Like 3

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