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COPO Survivor: 4k Mile 1977 Chevrolet Chevette

Larry D found us a COPO Chevy! It’s a nasty-fast Camaro, right? No. Or a Chevelle? Wrong again. It’s a Chevrolet Chevette, a 1977 model. If you want it, look here on eBay, but be prepared to pay up. The bidding is at 10 Grand already, with almost a week to go in the auction. Where might this go? Note that the bidding has stalled at this number for a couple of days, but that the hopeful seller has the reserve set higher than the current number. The car is in Gadsden, Alabama should you be the one to win it.

So it has a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine? The good news is that the car has under 5,000 miles on it, perhaps, as the seller boasts, the rarest Chevette in existence. Should that matter? He also says it “runs and drives new.” Does anybody remember what that meant for Chevrolet compacts in the 1970s? Yeah, like 60 horsepower, zero-to-sixty times measured in quarter minutes, and quarter miles a distant dream. This one also has an automatic transmission, rather than the four-speed manual some of its brother models had. The COPO (Central Office Production Order) come because the car was a special GM employee order.

Made from 1976-87, the Chevette at least had the virtue of being of the rear-drive configuration, something GM stuck to long after others had fully embraced front-wheel-drive. This probably only matters to an older buyer who remembers the good old days and still doesn’t understand the appeal of the FWD Olds Toronado, but rather feels a tinge of regret whenever someone mentions that as a desirable collectible. (You Barn Finders can reveal your ages as you argue that one out. For fun, of course, for fun.) What practical difference this Chevette being a rear-driver makes is for you to hash out. I say it might be slightly more fun to pilot, though that matters little if you’re worried about keeping the mileage under the 5,000-mile threshold.

This one does come in the slightly hipper three-door hatch configuration, the Chevette also being available in a five-door hatch, and it doesn’t look entirely un-sporty what with the seats not being just flat vinyl but rather with an embossed stripe motif. The white vinyl is attractive, and, as you can see and the seller claims, unmolested. There are some cool-looking gauges in front of the driver, too, and the center console is attractive. The other big bonus with this car is that it comes with a lot of original paperwork. So yeah, you might not have woken up this morning with the intention of buying the last original Chevette, but maybe kinda with the right amount of coffee, you could work your way around to it. But not if the price the seller has in mind is nudging toward the $15K mark, and maybe not even where it is at $10K. Depends on how much it means to you to be the last person standing in the 1970s econo-box category.


  1. Avatar photo alphasud Member

    This one says LS swap me all over it! I really don’t mean it I just thought I would be first to get that out of the way.

    Like 38
    • Avatar photo Mark_K Member

      For the current bid, it should already be LS swapped!!

      Like 53
    • Avatar photo DM

      I’ve already put a bid on it , and have a 350LT 350hp Chevy engine in my garage awaiting to be planted in this COPO Chevette. Also have a 12 bolt posi & Muncie 4spd. to go w/ it

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Lincoln B Member

    So what exactly is COPO about this car?

    Like 20
    • Avatar photo scott m

      They requested it not be built after lunch or on a Monday :^}

      Like 48
    • Avatar photo Andy

      Nothing. The box says COPO on many of the Chevettes build sheets, but the box is empty

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    Okay, 1st things 1st. COPO , originally, was made for fleet owners could order batches of vehicles the way they wanted. I believe it was Don Yenko that ordered all those COPO Camaros, no? Chevettes were used for delivery, and someone could have ordered 50 blue Chevettes through COPO but, as mentioned, more like someone worked for COPO and drove this car,,very little. 2nd, the Chevette was a good car, not great, always lived in the shadow of the Vega, and Opel Manta owners, that steering wheel look familiar? The shifter too, and many other parts, pure Opel. The mileage and condition seem to be right, I’m just not convinced a 5,000 mile, 35 year old car, is as good as showroom and naturally, not worth $10gs,,,I don’t think. A $10 thousand dollar Chevette? Now I know we’re doomed.

    Like 38
    • Avatar photo Howard A Member

      I thought I was wrong once, but was mistaken. COPO has an interesting story. A man named Vince Piggins in the late 60s, who was a well known racing supplier, found a way to order high performance parts through COPO and not labeling them as such. Fred Gibb, an Illinois dealer was the 1st to order 50, 396 Nova in 1968, 50 or more had to be made to be in Super Stock class(?) then in 1969,,69( coincidence?) 427 Camaros were built through COPO by Gibb. Talk about manipulating the system.

      Like 18
      • Avatar photo Andy

        Nicky Chevy in Illinois was doing performance COPO cars, as was Don yenko out of PA

        Like 2
    • Avatar photo nlpnt

      Indeed, this can’t be the worst set of options on a COPO Chevette. Bell System and Domino’s Pizza ran fleets of them back in the day and that spec had to have been based on the ultra-stripped Scooter trim level.

      Like 5
    • Avatar photo DM DC

      When we had to dissolve my father’s estate 4 years ago he had a ‘One of Eleven’ ‘85 Riviera convertible. It was rare bc it was the anemic 6 with a carburetor. Just bc it’s rare doesn’t mean it’s worth anything.

      Like 5
      • Avatar photo Lothar... of the Hill People

        DM DC-
        Something is worth what it can be sold for.
        We’re at upwards of $12K with 4 days left in the auction.
        Assuming these are real bids, this car is worth something due to rarity and its low mileage (which makes it even more rare).

        Like 7
  4. Avatar photo angliagt Member

    Those are probably shill bids.

    Like 17
  5. Avatar photo Big C

    The bids are into five figures? Lots of sado-masochists out there!

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Michael Freeman Member

      Five figures? Like in $100.00 right?

      Like 7
  6. Avatar photo CCFisher

    The Chevette 5-door hatch wasn’t available until 1978.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo John W Kriegshauser

      You are correct CCFisher. The 1978 was the first year GM offered the 4 door Chevette, and the grille was changed to an eggcrate style that wasn’t as attractive as the 76-77 style IMHO. My Dad ordered a brand new 77 Chevette in Firethorn Red Metallic with a gray and maroon cloth plaid type seat material. It was a 1.6 liter automatic with A/C. The car was for my Mom, but when I turned 15 in 1978 I started to drive it. Certainly no worries about a teenager speeding in a Chevette, right? Well, my younger brother started driving it and he whipped the dog crap outta that little Chevette. These cars get a bad rap, but our Chevette never broke down. It was a tough little car and seeing this one brings back good memories. However, I am not interested in paying over 10 grand for one, regardless of its condition!

      Like 19
  7. Avatar photo Mike

    Probably bought by the elderly office manager who took the bus to work and only drove it on Sunday to Church and back home. Hence the saying, “Driven by a little elderly Lady to Church on Sundays.”

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo wuzjeepnowsaab

      Yeah, I was going to say it was probably an office secretary who ordered a robin egg blue/white interior/automatic transmission Chevette. She probably named the car “Maggie”

      Like 3
  8. Avatar photo bw

    When is a COPO not a COPO?

    Like 6
  9. Avatar photo Steve

    While I love survivor cars, this one causes me to chuckle. Each to their own, I suppose.

    Like 5
  10. Avatar photo Jpatrix

    “I always wanted to own a vette”

    Like 11
    • Avatar photo Eddie Vetter

      For this price u can get a real vette from late 70s.

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo Howie

      The seller has two Vette’s listed.

      Like 7
    • Avatar photo Kevin Yancey

      I had five of them, from 78-87, all manual trans. I even had the elusive ’80 5dr hatch with the HO motor. It would bury the speedo and hit the peg at 0. I could match a 4.0L Jeep Wrangler in stop light drags, so it was pretty quick for what it was, until Suzuki put the GT on the Swift!

      Like 1
  11. Avatar photo mjf

    Amazing that car brings that much…

    Like 5
  12. Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma Washington

    Nice looking car. I remember the Chevette from when I was a boy. I remember at the time finding later models more attractive than this early model. Why it was so unpopular with car enthusiasts is beyond me. I’d buy one if I could find one in decent condition. Laugh all you want, but this is my kind of car, functional, reliable, economical. Given its condition and low mileage, I’d pay around the asking price.

    Like 13
    • Avatar photo grant

      Well, you found one. Go buy it. Having owned two of these as a teenager, I’ll pass. Objectively horrible little cars.

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo Andy

      They were spoken about poorly mostly because they were so slow. They were loud and cramped too. Just as an economy car of the time were. There was a lot of quality control issues at times. They were cranking them out so hard that they were told just get it put together, the dealers can fix them later.
      The ones that were assembled properly were actually damn good cars, more dependable than gravity.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Dwayne Hale

        I got one at one time as a teenager. It was cheap and ran good, but with auto trans it was scary getting into highway traffic. Didn’t have long. Later hit a more sporty looking one that was stick shift. It ran good and fun to drive. Traded it for a trans am!

        Like 0
  13. Avatar photo Larry

    When I was a GM engineer, this was the car I purchased. I had the choice of almost anything in the catalogue, and (like an idiot), I bought a Chevette. At least it wasn’t fitted with a slushbox like this POS.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo nlpnt

      Key word being *purchased*. However steep the discount, you were still spending your own money so I can understand going for the cheapest option.

      Like 0
  14. Avatar photo mark

    Gibb received the highest % taking delivery of 12 out of the 69 1969 ZL-1 427 Camaros.

    Like 1
  15. Avatar photo Rich

    They should pay ME $10k to take it. Seriously? This is the cleanest biggest POS in America.

    Like 3
  16. Avatar photo Mike D

    Wow! A COPO Vette for only $10k!! 😀

    Like 2
  17. Avatar photo Moit

    Got an 80 chevette “scooter” edition back I’m 89 for 20 bucks.
    Drove it like I stole it. Took a hell of a lot of abuse. Then I gave it to a friend who needed the motor to put in someone’s newer model which still had payments but no money (a church job).
    A week later he and his partner gave me a Pontiac 400 for my firebird which I puked motor in hence the reason of driving a chevette.
    Second best $20 I ever spent. 😉

    Like 1
  18. Avatar photo harold daniels

    Learned how to drive a stick, in one of these. Base model, was good for 3 days on $2 worth it of gas lol. Those were the days🙄.

    Like 9
  19. Avatar photo Denny N. Member

    What Chevy model was the biggest POS ever?
    It has to be either the Chevette (“Shove It”) or the Citation.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Bob S

      The Vega by a long shot! As uninspiring as the chevette was, it was a well screwed together unit that worked as advertised.

      Like 10
    • Avatar photo Matt in Flint

      You’re clearly not familiar with the Vega then!

      Like 2
  20. Avatar photo Mike G.

    Garbage then, garbage now!

    Like 4
  21. Avatar photo George Birth

    The wife and I bought an 81 Chevette brand new in 81. Worst piece of junk I ever bought!!!!!!!!! My wife could fit her hand between the door frame and roof line, the r.fr. headlight burnt
    out in two weeks of driving, trans had to be rebuilt in 1K miles due to rough gears and EGR system failed in 10K miles. Car was worth trade in of $1K after 35K miles. Get smart buy a Camero.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo cold340t

      Or a rusty MOPAR!

      Like 0
  22. Avatar photo Greg Gustafson

    The perfect slogan for these Chevetts,
    “A little Chevy goes a long ways.” I used to have to work on these turds.

    Like 1
  23. Avatar photo david r

    Worst. Car. Ever. I had two (!!) of these dogs. Have to be out of you mind to pay 10k for this thing.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Gregg

      Okay….. but why did you buy a second one? I mean, wasn’t it apparent right away that it was the worst car ever?

      Like 1
  24. Avatar photo Buddy

    This one stands for:


    Like 0
  25. Avatar photo Mark Ruggiero Member

    I expect there must be quite a lurch when that ac compressor kicks on…

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Bob Washburne Member

      That 4-banger coupled with the automatic couldn’t pull the skin off of chocolate pudding. Turn on the A/C?

      Reminds me of a buddy who had a 3-cyl Sprint auto with A/C. On the NJ Turnpike, he’d get it up to about 75, then turn on the A/C & firewalled the throttle. After a couple minutes, by which time he was passing 60 in the wrong direction, he’d turn off the A/C & get back up to 75. Lather, rinse, repeat all the way home.

      Everything is a collectible. For every boot, there’s a sock. GLWTA.

      Like 1
  26. Avatar photo Karl

    I had a girlfriend when I was just of college who owned a 2 door chevette with an automatic. I remember thinking the first time I ever got in it just how small and completely cheap everything was, and the seat didn’t go low enough or back enough to hide. It was a hideous little brick!

    Like 0
  27. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    Gotta admit, the early ones were cute.
    1st time i seen a REMOTE CONTROL PASSENGER side GM racing mirror! & on 1 of these yet!
    Did not know you could get a clock on these – temp gage would be better.
    I wonder if the R12 a/c still blows frigid cold. Mighty big compressor.
    Do NOT turn on the a/c if the car has 4 people inside, a full “trunk”, & attempting to climb a steep hill or enter an expressway!
    & i wonder if the GM heritage center has one, or would want (this) one.
    The best thing about this is that it has 4 cheap to buy/replace shock absorbers that never make any noise – compared to space robbing/noisy decaying rubber mounted macpherson struts(as they age).

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Emel

      So was the Yugo.

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo Ralph

      You could get a tach in them too for a little while, I’ve only ever seen one. The early Chevettes were kinda cute little cars The GM Heritage center does have one in their collection from what I’ve seen.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Andy

        They were spoken about poorly mostly because they were so slow. They were loud and cramped too. Just as an economy car of the time were. There was a lot of quality control issues at times. They were cranking them out so hard that they were told just get it put together, the dealers can fix them later.
        The ones that were assembled properly were actually good cars, more dependable than gravity.

        Like 0
  28. Avatar photo Mitch

    This have the body colour i mentioned as baby blue in the
    nautilus blue Firebird thread. GM just made a few Firebird
    in this colour.

    An LS is too heavy for it. (driving dynamics)

    For the rest of the world Vauxhall and Opel sold them as
    Kadett C with engines up to 2 litres 85kw/115hp SPEEEED!
    Back then it was one of the fastest compacts in the WRC
    rally and touring car championship. U.s.chevette use used
    as usually the low-compression engines caused from bad
    fuel quality and poor owner treatment. As the most imports
    for ya.
    FIAT a.e. restricted the ouput on the 2 litre engine from 115
    to 95 hp. Or 90?

    Like 2
  29. Avatar photo HarryQ

    @Howard A, one clarification. Vince Piggins worked for Chevrolet and was the wrangler for most of their under the radar support program for racers from NASCAR to sports cars to Drag Racing.

    Like 0
  30. Avatar photo Mitch

    A super fast Chevette? A Here is close one:
    Kadett C 820 KG weight
    2.0 L inline 4 16V with 4 independent throttle bodies 280hp
    5 speed Tractive sequential gearbox
    80% rear lock differential
    full roll cage and Bilstein sport suspension
    Actual value about 100’000


    Like 3
    • Avatar photo SirRaoulDuke

      10/10 would daily.

      Like 0
  31. Avatar photo Karl

    That’s rather amazing to put it mildly! Thanks for posting that.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Mitch

      Peoples often complain here about the bad engines. Well, i
      give some slight pushings for a solution.

      With a 1.6 twin carb’d or the 2.0 Kadett C engine with fuel
      injection and manual gearbox this thing will be a “muscle
      car” killer. Especially around 90° corners. A GTI for a bargain.

      Like 0
  32. Avatar photo Lothar... of the Hill People

    If they were good enough for Joie Chitwood Thrill show, they are good enough for me.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Greg Gustafson

      Screw Joie Chitwood! I’m no stunt driver but, for me to be interested in it, the car has to be good enough for me.

      Like 0
  33. Avatar photo jimmyx

    Not sure why COPO is so fascinating? All GM employee orders for any Chevrolet are COPO. The order is placed with the Central Office and invoiced and shipped to the employee’s choice of Dealer – same process for all the Divisions. For employees assigned company cars, they can order what they want to buy, have it shipped to their assigned location, drive it and buy it through their favorite Dealer with a further discount based on miles.

    Like 0
  34. Avatar photo MarveH

    I’m an unashamed fan of econo-boxes. I’d much rather drive a small car over any luxury car made.
    I’d love this except for one glaring, unforgivable flaw; the slush box. No small car should ever have an automatic, they suck the life and joy right out of them. With a manual and a few tweaks it would be a lot of fun.

    Like 3
  35. Avatar photo Brad Williams

    A friend had one with a diesel that he used for a courier job and loved his profit margin.

    Like 0
  36. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    I have never even ridden in one.
    Hate them.
    Because of the number of times I got stuck behind one going 40mph on a two lane road.
    After Chevettes disappeared from the roads they were replaced by PT Cruisers.
    And now there are no more two lane roads. Around here.

    On a side note, look at how many comments this one has generated.

    Like 0
  37. Avatar photo Charles Woosley

    Back in 1994 I moved to the coast of the state of Washington, I was looking for a second vehicle when I came across a 1980 chevette four door tanish brown, been sitting for a long time on the street in front of a house. No for sale sign on it, so I knocked on the door and I asked if it was for sale, the old man said “why would you want to buy that crappy car “, well I bought it for $30.00 dollars and towed it three blocks to get it home. Looking the car over, I found out that someone put new plug wires and cap on it, had to buy a new battery, put new gas in, it was a automatic. It didn’t want to fire, so while I had my son turn it over, I seen spark jumping out the side of the distributor. That’s when I noticed the cap was not on right, the little nub thats built on the cap wasn’t sitting in the cutout along the distributors outside wall, I pulled the plug wires, moved the cap where it fit down tight to the distributor, put the wires back on and it ran. The car had 37,000 miles on it, the tires were probably 90% good, the car was super clean except it needed washed. I drove it for four months, then I moved to California. Sold the car for $1200.00 dollars. It had more power than I expected, hated to see it go, never had any problems with it, I guess I got one of the better ones that were made.

    Like 1
  38. Avatar photo Ben

    The car sold at the Mecum Classic auction in Tennessee on Oct 15th for $16,500. With the 10% buy fee, and transport-the seller probably has close to $19k in it. I’m sure he’s not letting it go for less than $20k. Sorry..cool and rare..But I’m not quite sure I’d part with $20k for a 60hp robin’s egg.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Miguel - Mexican Spec

      If the buyer thought it was a good investment to buy it at 19K and try to resell it, he was dead wrong.

      Like 0
  39. Avatar photo Mattster

    Not woth 10k! Maybe if it had a 4 speed manual. You could time it with an egg timer with an automatic! Heaviest part of the car would be the transmission! Swap out the 4 banger with a buick 3.8 supercharged! 2500# car with 240 reliable HP and rear wheel drive!

    Like 0
  40. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    Anybody here had/have a GM car that’s not a Chevette with a PASSENGER side remote ctl mirror – like this car has?! I have never seen that before!

    Like 0
  41. Avatar photo Miguel - Mexican Spec

    What always struck me about these was the fact that the steering column was in there at an angle because there wasn’t enough room to out it straight.

    That didn’t bode well for your legs in a frontal accident.

    I bought a lot of them to resell, but not for my collection.

    Like 0
  42. Avatar photo B Wallace

    At at recent Mecum Auction in WI there were 3 vehicles that sold in the 8K range. A Chevette, A Pinto that was kept outside and had a rusty hood. And a Mint 1949 Ford Firetruck with a Flathead that had numerous trophies displayed next to it from the Car Shows that it was displayed at. Which one would you rather have?

    Like 0

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