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43k-Mile Survivor: 1987 Chevrolet Chevette CS

While there are plenty of beautiful and unique rides that are featured here on this website, it’s sometimes fun to change gears a bit. With that being said, there’s no doubt that fans of muscle cars and other collectible vehicles will groan at this 1987 Chevrolet Chevette CS, which Barn Finds reader Jim Schwartz found here on eBay.

This Chevette is available in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where a seller known as Garage Kept Motors offers it for sale. Humorously, the seller mentions how “we figured all the Chevettes had gone the way of the DoDo Bird, and then this car showed its face.” The advertisement goes on to mention how this car was mostly used for small errands, is in completely original condition, has never been in an accident, and also was never driven in the winter.

On the exterior, the original brown paint still distinctly shines. Garage Kept Motors has plenty of photos of the vehicle on its site, and they truly do reflect the remarkable condition of this Chevette.

Inside the cabin, the tan interior is in similarly impressive shape. The driver’s seat does have a minor rip in it, but otherwise, everything looks fantastic and the radio even works!

This model uses a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, which pairs to a 4-speed manual transmission to drive the rear wheels. The combination has traveled 43,666 miles.

Additionally, this vehicle had its undercarriage rustproofed and undercoated when it was new.

When this Chevette was new in 1987, it cost $5,274.56, and though they will consider reasonable offers, Garage Kept Motors is asking $8,900 for this example. Despite its almost showroom condition, could you see yourself buying this mint condition Chevette for more than its original price tag?


  1. Fred W

    Could you see yourself buying this mint condition Chevette for more than its original price tag?

    (CB static) “A big negatory on that one, good buddy!”

    Like 4
    • Mike

      I’d pay that if it were a 4-door yellow hatchback like the one my wife drove. I did a little modification to the carb to give it a little boost. She would be so surprised to discover it in the garage one morning.

  2. grant

    Hahahahaha. I’ve had two of these, they aren’t any fun and not a particularly rewarding driving experience. Both of mine were fairly reliable, considering I was a teenager. But $8900? Someone might pay that for it, but it’s best use would be as a work beater/grocery getter for someone who didn’t want to run up miles on their nice car, and for about $2500 it would be perfect for that.

    Like 9
    • 36 Packard

      There are people who appreciate regular ordinary cars. People who have fond memories of one, people who want to save a few of what once was normal so future generations don’t get the flawed idea that we all drove Hemi Cudas and 396 Chevys.. These were the reliable get you to work cars that we all owned. Few people drove the performance cars that so many crave today. If I were a rich man, I would have a museum of Pintos, Dodge Darts, Ramblers, and such. It would get visited far more then one full of spit polished muscle cars because most people can relate to an every mans car. Most of us wanted average cars for reliability, safety, low insurance rates, lower costs to run and to buy. My buddy has a four door 1965 Plymouth Valiant that he brings to shows and it gets a lot more attention then the row after row of big block tire squealers. People want to see what they remember. Don’t discount this little car because it is what this hobby should be about, not what the money men tell you it is about.

      Like 10
      • MarveH

        I’m with you on that. I have an unreasonable love for economy cars. Get me wrong not; I love sports cars and performance cars but will always double take a 78-80 Ford Fiesta, Escort GT, Chevette, Twin Stick Dodge Colt, Pontiac Phoenix, et al.
        I love the simplicity and, completely absent today, light weight.
        I’d visit your museum and buy the commemorative T-shirt.

        Like 6
      • Mike leyshon

        @36 Packard…the length of this thread is long. There is certainly interest and you presented great examples ! Had a 1980 4 door in the family growing up. High school GF with one. Regardless of price, I damn well enjoy them at shows, etc.

        I spent more time chatting at a car show with the owner of a 1982 Camaro, 2.5 “iron duke” 4 speed.

        Appreciate things for what they are. People are shocked that a Camaro ever came with a base 4.

        Like 3
      • Miguel

        36, this car would be in the same category as an original Hyundai Excel.

        Have you ever spoken to anybody that had one and that wanted another one? I haven’t.

        Like 2
      • 36 Packard

        Mike, I have never seen a four popper Camaro, but I bet they are rare. That is the kind of car that we need to keep around as original. I was at the Iola, WI big summer show about ten years ago and talked a long time with an old guy that had a 1970 225 slant six three speed on the floor Dodge Challenger. Said he bought it in the mid 70s as his “fun car” and it looked almost new 40 years later. He said it had a 3.23 rear end so it got up and went just fine, but over all he enjoyed it for long leisurely cruises. It even had working air. That man was well into his 70s, maybe even 80 years old. I haven’t seen him or the car since. Wonder what happened to it. Did some snotty grandson inherit it and ruin it? Did it get sold to someone who now has some goofy big block in it? The old guy appreciated it for what it was, a simple humble car that did everything that was expected of it, and did it well. I recall asking him if he had ever been asked to sell it, in fact, many times that day alone and they all wanted to see if it had places to mount a bigger engine. He said that the car “deserves better”. I sure hope his wishes were honored, but I am not so sure. Unlike a Charger slant six (where the six is almost too small, 318 much better) , the Challenger was less then 100 pounds heavier then a Duster, so a six would propel it just fine. Years ago I too looked to buy one almost like it, but having been recently married with a child on the way, it wasn’t as practical as the four door sedan I bought instead. Wish I could go back in time and buy some stuff to bring back to today.

        Like 5
    • mallthus

      I had one of these too, an 1982 example almost identical to this one except mine, being an earlier example, had chrome bumpers. I actually found it to be a hoot to drive flat out on mountain roads, but as an around town car, it was slow, noisy, not particularly fuel efficient, and it was uncomfortable.
      My best memory of it was reading the manual. If they were equipped with the optional FM stereo radio (no tape deck available from the factory), stereo consisted of one speaker in the front center (like AM cars) and one speaker in the rear center, in the cargo area.

      Like 1
  3. Jwinters

    my brother had a chevette. I remember he was driving about a mile from home, and the left front wheel fell off. he drove it home on 3 wheels leaving a big scrape in the road from the car dragging into the road. the neighbors complained about the damage to the street and a tow truck came and took the car away.

    Like 2
  4. Kenneth Carney

    Almost bought one new for my late wife in March of ’87. Went to Ray Durdin Chevrolet in Lakeland, Florida with a friend who was trading off his trouble prone
    ’86 Mercury Lynx 4-door sedan. We test drove a brown bomber just like this one and she loved it! For it’s size, it was quite peppy and the steering was quick and responsive. Despite all the things I’d heard about build quality, our little test car was put together quite well. Sadly though, I didn’t have the credit score needed to buy it after having a second heart attack in 1985. My buddy drove off in a really nice Chevy Cavalier that day as well. Wound up having to borrow it from him after our ’77 Ford Mustang burned to the ground a few months later. The only thing I had to do was keep it well maintained for him. By doing this, my wife became the only other person that he let drive the car other than himself. That really frosted his kids who weren’t even allowed to set foot in it! Thanks for that great memory to start my day.

    Like 4
    • Ralph

      Couldn’t get financed on a Chevette?

      Dark days indeed…..hope things have improved since.

  5. CapNemo CapNemo

    It’s too much money to be asking, but I’d own it just to go wandering around some background with. I’d say $2500 max.

    Like 1
  6. DaveMicheals

    I dated a girl 👧 who drove one and for some reason got upset when people called the POS vette

    It was noisey and a rattle trap with lil room to fool around .. mission accomplished parents 👀👍

  7. Nsuracer

    Back in the day, the Chevy dealer in Wamego, KS ordered one with the optional 4.11 gear and the F-41 suspension. They then went on to trounce everyone in Solo events for the next year.

  8. Tom

    No no no. I understand that people drove these everyday. Again did anybody really enjoy driving it? They were built poorly, they were slow and didn’t get great gas mileage. If you want one just to remember the past don’t over pay. The mid level Oldsmobile’s and Pontiacs were much nicer “daily drivers” and can be found.

    Like 1
    • connbackroads

      I owned a few diesel Chevettes, and I can honestly say that the best part about those cars was the engines.

      I would have been happier if they were 5-speeds, but they all had a 4-speed automagic trans.

    • connbackroads

      I wish that they had thrown a turbo on the diesels as well–there was plenty of room to do it . . . I guess they had to keep the cost down.

  9. Michael

    We had these in Australia from about 1976 to 1984, after which it was replaced by a front wheel drive, east west engine model which never seemed to be as popular. Of course by then, many other front drive small cars were on offer. It was made by Isuzu in Japan and badged in Australia by GMH ( General Motors Holden ) as the Holden Gemini. It came in sedan, wagon and hatchback form and was hugely popular. Even a diesel version was offered later. The petrol versions went well, if somewhat “tinny “and have somewhat of a cult following today. I am amazed that the U.S. Chevette version went so much later than ours without the front wheel drive update though.

    Like 1
    • Ralph

      The Chevette was around in South America even longer….until 1997 or so.

  10. John B.

    Call them ugly or underpowered or even less than comfortable and I would agree but poorly built-No no no! I have owned several of these little cars and they were dependable, economical, and almost never broke down unlike some of the Japanese, Korean, and English cars I’ve had!

  11. James Schwartz

    There are sure to be comments from people bashing the Chevette, most of the negative comments come from people who never owned one. I’ve owned several, and own two currently. They are actually pretty durable cars. Underpowered? Yes. A bit cramped inside? Yes. A bit rough riding? Yes. But pretty darn reliable, simple machines.

    I love this car, and would love to have it. But couldn’t do 8900 dollars. I submitted my best offer to them (5k…which is all the money for a Chevette like this), and it was promptly declined. Oh well, there’s always another car.

    Like 2
    • Ralph

      Wait a few months and try again, at those prices, its going nowhere fast.

  12. Ted

    I’m with James, I’d go 5 CDN for this if it was for sale around the corner from me, I’d chuck a set of Minilites or Panasports on it, MSD it and make carnival music sounds while driving….But 9K US? Even someone with fond memories of owning one years ago would balk at that price.

    But, as the famous comment goes there’s a seat for every tush, or a tush for every seat, or whatever it is, and if someone bought this for 10K just to show it off at coffee and ethyl night, is that so wrong?

    Like 1
  13. Kenneth Carney

    Wow! Just went to their website and learned that you can own this brown bomber for $133.60 a month! Great way for a family man to get into the hobby. Come to think of it, I think that this figure was the original payment when this car was new! Vintage car with vintage payments? How weird is that? They must do some sort of in house financing as.the monthly payment for each car appears on it’s listing. Whatever you’re looking for, it looks like they have it. If Chevettes don’t tickle your fancy, something else will.

    • Ralph

      There are specialty banks that will finance a classic car.

  14. Will Owen

    I always thought of these as another AntiCar, or Noncar, for people who are not really drivers at all, but simply passengers who got stuck with the job. A fellow who gave me a couple of rides in his, a Vanderbilt Divinity School professor, was certainly one of these. Nice guy, but as graceful as someone dancing Swan Lake in a walker … But the guys at Car & Driver got hold of one that some GM engineers had equipped with a V6 S-10 drivetrain + 4-speed and some useful mods to the underpinnings, and spent a jolly day out hunting unsuspecting BMWs. THAT would be fun!

    Like 2
  15. James Demestihas

    I figure if it had 100 miles its be worth 10k usd. So…with 40k miles…$8k usd.

    • Trevor

      I’ve owned and drove 18 chevettes and total I probably paid what they want for this one. I’m currently driving a 82 chevette with only 20,000 miles on it and bought it for $2,000. Good luck getting $8,900 for this one.

      Like 3
  16. Miguel

    “Garage Kept Motors is asking $8,900”

    I don’t car what you say, that is funny right there.

    When this was new on the lot, the better car was the Sprint, by far.

    The Chevy dealer I worked at for the 1987 model year didn’t even order one of these. We had a few from 1985 we rented out, but there were no new ones on the lot. The manager knew nobody would take this car over a Sprint or a Spectrum.

    Like 2
    • James Schwartz

      Sure, the Sprint and Spectrum were certainly more modern cars by the time ’86 and ’87 rolled around. The Chevette was in its’ 11th year by then, and really hadn’t changed all that much from it’s ’76 introduction (mostly cosmetic).
      The Sprint and Spectrum however were both imports, made in Japan (by Suzuki and Isuzu respectively). Some people still cared about buying American made then.
      And it should be noted, despite it’s old age, the Chevette still outsold the Sprint and the Spectrum..

      • Miguel

        The Chevette didn’t outsell the other two at the dealership I worked at, as we didn’t even have one on the lot.

        We sold 300 cars a month and not one of those was a Chevette.

      • James Schwartz

        SMH. Pretty hard to sell a car that they didn’t have Miguel.
        I’m betting the largest dealership in the world would sell exactly ……hmmmm, let’s see, carry the one….. Ummm ZERO!! Of any car that they don’t have.

  17. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I’m not a fan of Chevettes, but I do have an appreciation of any basic economy car or four-door family car which has survived in clean, good condition. I find them much more interesting than the row of muscle cars at the local car event. There will usually be a related story worth hearing.

  18. Bob

    I worked in a Chevrolet garage in the 70s. These cars were disgusting. The petals were Right next to each other and it was really easy to hit the wrong pedal if you were big footed as I am. They were about as wide as a potato chip and road like a park bench. They didn’t have enough power even though they were a small car and quite often got passed by their frustrated shadow. We would not much love called them Shove-its.

    Like 1
  19. Bob

    I recently bought a 1987 Chrysler 5th Avenue with 18,000 original miles that is absolutely brand freaking new, inside and out for $6700.00. This Chrysler is 1000 X’s better than this Chevette could ever be!! What is wrong with this picture??????

    Like 2
  20. Will Owen

    Some people prefer little cars. Some people do not enjoy the feeling of sitting in the living room and driving the house. My biggest car has been an Alfa 164, but it had the advantage of not feeling as big as it was.

    Granted, a lot of Chevettes were sabotaged before they cleared the factory, but I’d expect that most of those would be weeded out by now. As for whether this is worth the asking price, that will depend on the buyer’s interest. At the moment it’s of no use to me, as I’ve got no room for it, but it does not seem too bad a deal.

  21. DVSCapri

    LOL, How much??? Back in ’86 (speak in old geezer voice) I worked for a rather large Pontiac Dealer & we had the T1000 (Chevette clone), hardly sold any…. to the point that they came up with a novel sales gimmick – buy a full size station wagon & they threw in a T1000 as a “spare” (spare what I don’t know). I do seem to recall at least 8 of those “deals” going through (I performed new car “service” – installing everything that the factory didn’t & shipped inside the cars, inspecting & adjusting anything & everything as well as a “required” 7 mile road test – also installing or making any changes the buyer wanted). I know most of those 8 got “true” stereo speakers (I hated cutting out the plastic sail panels!) with aftermarket AM/FM cassette players.

    Like 1

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