1976 Chevrolet Chevette: Rare Survivor

1976 Chevrolet Chevette

From David F – Here is your chance to own a rare, low mileage Chevette from the very first model year. It has only 87,000 miles on it. It’s somehow rust free and the owner has done lots of work since rescuing it, including new tires, clutch, timing belt, water pump and a tune up. Here’s your chance to own a fine example of Chevrolet’s 1970’s engineering for only $2000. Surely someone out there must love Chevetts. I have happy memories of them. The rental car company I worked for in LA had Chevetts. You can find this one here on craigslist in Minneapolis for only $2000!

1976 Chevrolet Chevette Engine

The most common problem people had with them was that the gear shift lever came off. Chevrolet hadn’t found a way to secure them permanently. Folks also came back complaining the brakes weren’t working right. The brakes weren’t very effective in the first place and then those little tiny drums got hot in a hurry. In stop and go traffic they barely did the go and not much stopping. Also, if people loaded the car with more than two people and the trunk with luggage, it would not go up much of an incline. Hopefully they would get off the freeway before the little engine that couldn’t, didn’t! Even with only 2 people it couldn’t go north on Interstate 5 and climb the Grapevine.

1976 Chevette

As it’s been said, just because a car is rare doesn’t make it valuable, and this is a great example. There is a reason these are rare. Just when we thought Vegas were the worst car ever, these came out. The Chevettes were terrible cars, yet Chevrolet produced them for 12 model years! And, in 1979 and 1980 they were the best selling compact car in America! Chevrolet produced almost three million of these things. I’m convinced this is the car that made Japanese cars so popular in the States. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading this even after seeing the title!
Special thanks to David F for another great find!

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Comments

  1. Doyler

    Rust free in Minneapolis?

    HAHAAHHAHAHAAHAHAHAHHA

  2. grant

    No. Just no. Worst car I ever owned. And I had two. Forgot about the shifter thing.

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    We had Chevettes out west and contrary to popular belief, the majority of them worked just fine. I remember talking to the owner of a popular import dealership who commented that we must be up to our backsides in alligators trying to keep our cars on the road. I replied: ‘You’re implying that our products aren’t reliable? Reading between the lines, you’re also telling me that yours never break down? Tell me then, why, when you don’t go through as much volume in a year as our DOMESTIC dealership, do you employ more mechanics than we do? And tell me, why, when I glance into your service department, do I see transaxles and engines being pulled from your late model cars? Are you just trying to keep your guys practiced up?’

    1
  4. MIkeG

    Well, they got decent mileage, that can be said for them.

  5. kenzo

    Why oh why is this here? Other than Barn Finds has progressed to adding coloured comics to it’s site. These are as bad if not worse than the first generation Hyundai (sp) pony which I did own.

    • MIkeG

      Oh heck, it’s fun to see things like this. There are collective memories attached to cars like this that spark commentary. Everything’s been said about the Yenko Camaro already, so it’s nice to throw an oddball in!

      • kenzo

        you are right MikeG. it does add a bit of fun to the dusty European stuff and high pro americian stuff that is rusted out and still asking very top dollar for a “K” code or “Q” code or some other alphabetical listing.

  6. Ed P

    These cars were not so bad with a manual tranny, but add an automatic and a/c and zero to 60 uphill was not attainable.

  7. Ian @ Jewel or Jalopy

    My mom had one for about 14 years, from 1978 until she got a Taurus in 1992. I remember it as being plenty fast enough for a newly licensed 16 year old. RWD and snow made it a hoot to drive to school in the winter, plus it swallowed a double bass with the rear seats folded down.

    Not a horrible car, but I have no desire to own one again. I do remember it being obscenely narrow.

  8. Gary

    Worked with a lady years ago who actually bought one of these nightmares, she was constantly asking my mechanic brother to wrench on it. He did his best and kept her going for a long time, but his nick name for the car from day 1 was the Chevy “Shove-it”.

  9. Ken Altman

    I love Chevettes and have owned four. I’m looking to buy another soon.

    Obviously I am in the minority here, and quite honestly I can’t explain my fondness for them. I have many, many fond memories that were made in a one Chevette or another (my oldest daughter may have been conceived in one), and they’re cheap and they’re easy to work on (replaced the clutch/pressure plate on one using instructions handwritten on the back of menu). and did I mention cheap?

    I just flat-out had fun in every. single. one. I’d buy this one in a heartbeat, but Minnesota is a bit far.

    1
  10. john

    We had Chevettes in Europe too. Great little cars with their completely different “nose” job with a wedge shape. Automatics were rare, but pleasant, A/C never specified. Most were 1256cc. But you could get a fearsome (?) 2300cc rally car version if I recall correctly…The HS…wild machine… and revered too… rightly so ….up there with Escort RS1800 etc. These days Chevettes in UK are really rare, most long dead and gone. I doubt if more than a handful of survivors are still on the road. I seem to recall we had a Chevette wagon, and a “Chevanne” too, a light panel van.
    For those of you with imagination, this little car would lend itself to the pretty shovel nose UK car look, add a 2300cc 4 cylinder Vauxhall motor and it would be the car you should have had in the USA…. a nice paint job in orange metallic maybe … and it might even frighten a few cars at the traffic lights! Of course a V8 might be easier for you although it be nose heavy I think….Whatever enjoy!

    • pbryantr

      I’d buy this in a heartbeat if it wasn’t too far. I’d like to build a restomod version of the Pentti Arrikkala rally car from Rally GB, circa 1977. I’d put in an Eco-tec 4 cylinder with a T-5.

    • Rich

      Yes these were pretty popular in the UK and were actually a pretty good car. There are still a few trundling about, in fact my wedding car in 2013 was a 1980 4 door Chevette saloon.

  11. steve

    Just needs a brake upgrade and a 3.8 buick v6 swap. Wasn’t there a really rough grand national on here the other day? Hmmm…TURBO 3.8 buick v6 swap….

  12. Sam Black Church

    Used to carpool in one of these (not mine!) and we called it the “shove-It”.

  13. Achman

    Chris, a friend of mine in HS, had one of these. 4 speed and rear wheel drive, we all learned the basics of car control in that car…and I still use what I learned when I drive my M3, just things happen much faster in that car.

    “Here is your chance to own a rare, low mileage Chevette”

    I don’t know if “chance” is the word I would use, though

  14. Achman

    Also, unlocking the potential:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulmVJrVR73M

    • Ken Altman

      Oh my. THAT is how its done.

      1
    • Ed P

      Wowee wow wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now that is a power upgrade!

  15. Jim

    Junk it. Oh that’s right it’s junk already.

  16. MikeH

    I remember driving a Chevette sometime in the 70s, and thinking that the American automobile industry is doomed. This is what GM trotted out to compete with Toyota, Datsun, VW, etc?? The Chevette remains the worst car I have ever driven–GM never understood the difference between inexpensive and cheap.

  17. RickyM

    This is the Vauxhall Chevette that I remember from my childhood – click on the photos to enlarge:
    http://www.classic-auctions.com/Auctions/26-02-2011-StoneleighPark-1286/1979VauxhallChevetteHSRWorksCar-32707.aspx

    Nice price !

  18. Bruce Joslen

    Great little cars. I have owned a few. I remember when the first 4wd cars arrived on our rally scene [New Zealand] thinking they were going to win hands down, and they got thrashed by a local farmer in his rally spec 2.3 litre Chevette. Good fun !! For a while i even owned the biggest and smallest production GM cars for 1978.

  19. Todd Rouch

    I LOVED my 1976 Chevette!! It was even this color, with a four speed transmission. It was my first car. I got it in 1990, AWESOME mpg!! I got paid every Friday and every Friday I filled it up. I took that little car places my friend and his CJ5 wouldn’t go. I even beat him in a race. Hahahahaha LMAO!! Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.

  20. Jim Marshall

    The only thing worse by Chevrolet was the Vega but not by much.

  21. Chelle

    My parents had a 1979 manual that I was forced to learn to drive on before I was allowed to drive the 1979 Monte Carlo with T-roofs. That Chevette was sooo much fun! I remember fondly, especially as a new 16 year old driver, how I’d go to downshift around a bend and the gear shift handle would come out in my hand. My friend and I would go flying around the bend laughing like crazy. The other thing I remember is the lights – and my dad remembers this because I called him plenty of times after dark about it. The little thing you pulled forward to control the lights would come the whole way out. Sometimes it would go back in, other times it wouldn’t. That baby blue Chevette became my car until they got a 1984 automatic – it was crap! It literally would not go up a hill with my parents, my younger brother and I in the backseat. They didn’t keep it very long… I loved this article (even it if was written two years ago). It brought a smile to my face and now I get to think of all the great teenage year memories of “Little blue Chevette” (sung to Little Red Corvette – lol).

  22. Daniel

    I had a first year Chevette in that bright lime green color. It was a used car that already had 50,000 miles on the odometer. It was a no nonsense, simple little car that gave me very good service for another 60,000 miles. Even with over 100K on the odometer that trusty old Chevette still ran like a top. It didn’t look so good anymore with its oxidized paint and sun damaged interior, but heck the car was 18 years old. Anyway, my next car purchase was a brand new 1994 VW Jetta GL. I thought I had it made with my new Jetta until I was driving on an interstate one late evening, one week after I took delivery of the car, and the engine quit while I was in the middle lane. Thank goodness there were no other cars on the road at the time. I had that dang Jetta in the shop more than I had it in my own garage. What a disappointment since I was led to believe VW’s were some of the most reliable cars built. So, the most reliable cars I ever owned are the ’76 Chevette, a ’02 Toyota Corolla and a ’08 Subaru Outback.

  23. Carter Gorman

    I reckon they’re an easy target: American sub-compacts of the ’70s, but I like seeing this write-up on the verrry humble ’76 Chevette. Even if I am 2½ years late in seeing it . . .

    God Knows not all “old car survivors” were great — or even good — cars when new, but I hope this little Chevette found a nice home.

    A car I’ve not seen in years: A Yugo. Remember those? Cheeeepest of the cheeeep. Did anybody actually save one?

  24. Jim Marshall

    Only G.M. at the time could have survived building cars like this.

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