Back in Black: 1981 Chevrolet Chevette

When you need a formal car for a night out on the town with your significant other, what could possibly be better than a black 1981 Chevrolet Chevette?! This mini-limo (ok, that’s a stretch, no pun intended) is on Craigslist with an asking price of $4,500! It’s located in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. The seller says “no rust” and “31,000 miles“!

I know that nobody would most likely use this car for a night out on the town: pulling up to the valet station in front of the fanciest restaurant in town, hopping out with your tie and tails and your date with her nicest evening gown. Ahh.. what a sight that would be. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a black Chevette and it just looks so nice, doesn’t it? Normally I like actual colors on vehicles, but there’s something about this basic car in basic black that hits me. Ok, maybe this is why, the seller says that it had “new paint 3 months ago with high gloss, clear coat finish.”

It looks like a killer job on the paint, but it’s hard to tell without seeing it in person. The black wheels are a nice touch to keep things elegant, as much as a Chevette can ever be elegant. Hopefully things are rock-solid under that beautiful new black paint. The owner says that it has “solid floor boards with no holes.”

The interior looks pretty nice, but there’s a small tear under the driver’s seat? I’m not sure how that happened. And, of course it’s an automatic! A manual transmission would sure make this car more fun to drive. There are no engine photos, unfortunately, and here’s the clincher: the seller has posted 24 photos and there isn’t one photo with the hood open. Ugh. And, they have it listed as a “5 cylinder”, so either that’s a mistype or a mistake (I’ve done both more often than I care to admit), or it has a Volvo or Audi engine in it. I’m guessing the former. I’d bet that this is a 1.6L inline-four with around 70 hp. It has new “tires, water pump, timing belt”, that’s a good thing! What are your thoughts on this low-mileage, no-rust Chevette? It looks great to me, but is it $4,500 great?

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Comments

  1. Tony Goodner II

    Great starting point for an engine swap…. ( Dare to be different and use a supercharged 3.8)

    • Mr. TKD

      Thumbs-up

    • mars2878

      i’d go a 6cyl setup from a 5th gen camaro

  2. JW454

    The engine could be from a 2004 to 2012 Chevrolet Colorado… They’re 5 cylinders – 3.5 and 3.7L. Maybe but, my money is on it being a typo.
    Nice looking little car though.

    • kirk

      i have a chevette diesle

  3. steve m

    did it cost that much new?

  4. Kevin Wernick

    This is getting out of hand guys. A chevette? Seriously? 45big ones? Guess I’ll leave it alone, my opinion will be deleted anyway

    • 63Comet

      Well, I’d have given your comment a thumbs up! A Chevette? Not unless that “5 cylinder” is not a type-o and even then, definitely not for me.

  5. angliagt

    That actually looks nice,in Black.
    We just bought a replacement for my Wife’s 2007-
    Fusion (4 cylinder/5 speed),that she totaled,when
    she hit a patch of ice.
    When we looked at newer cars,we realized
    that most of them are White nowadays.Luckily,we
    found a 2010 Fusion,4 cylinder/6 speed,in Charcoal.
    Not a great color,but better than White!

  6. Leon

    Limo tint and it’s a mafia staff student driver car. Lol

  7. Jaimie

    These were great. Had one in ’82, The air filter wasn’t removable. You had to replace the whole metal unit!

  8. Jeffro

    I’m thinking screaming chicken on hood and we have a poor man’s Smokey and the Bandit!

    • KeithK

      Thumbs up!

    • Joe Howell

      That’s too funny.

  9. CHRIS WEICHLER

    Tub it out with a Dana60 and a Stealthy 327 under Da’Hood and some Limo Tints…BaddAss!!

  10. PaulbZ3

    IMHO I would say that this has 131K and pictures of the engine would likely reveal the truth. Carpeting doesnt get worn through like that in 31K miles and if kritters were eating it they’d likely taken out more than that in the last 30 some odd years. Still looks okay though but priced on the high side. Even with the auto trans this should still get high 20 mpg so for a commuter or winter car this would be ok if not full of bondo for $2500 or so. Less than 15 minutes from my house so if anyone would like some eyes and addition photos I’d be willing to go by and look it over.

    • Blyndgesser

      Chevettes used really cheap materials. I’m betting the miles are original.

  11. JW

    Growing up west of Chicago I remember a few people driving around in these mostly beige or a puke yellow, rusted to death by road salt. It would be hard for me to believe this was original to the Chicago area unless bought new and stored in a garage from that day forward but who would do that with a Chevette.

  12. Dairymen

    I don’t care if it’s in 10, 50 or a 100 years; there’s no need and nobody cares if you show up at your carshow in it. (Unless you can convince someone in 2117 that it was a limo lol.

    • Scott

      I would care. My mom’s first car was a POS Chevette and I would definitely want to check one out.

  13. Dave Member

    I would continue with the Darth Vader theme and murder out the front end and the bumpers…

    • Jeffro

      I agree! The Force feels strong on this car.

  14. RJ

    Driver seat looks really broken down for the claimed mileage. Might be a buy at $2,500.

  15. AMCSTEVE

    Um I worked at a Chevy dealership in 81 and I don’t think black was an option. I even owned a few but this guy is in LA LA LAND

  16. mtshootist1

    I prayed for a Corvette, but God gave me a Chevette..

  17. Warren

    24 pictures and NO underhood shots? Off to Craig’s List detention for you!

  18. Brian

    He had it priced at $5800 about a month ago.

    My first car was a ’79 four door, bright orange. It made for a great pizza delivery vehicle. I drove that sucker into the ground.

  19. Bruce Fischer

    I drove on in the mid 80s with a stick shift when I had to drive 54 miles each way to work.I had it for about 3 years .It never let me down.Bruce.

    • rando

      That’s a big old thumbs up for me. Drove the one my wife’s mother gave her for a few years to commute ~60 miles round trip for a while. Solid car if not at all exciting. Can’t remember but we either traded or sold it. Just cause we upgraded. And it was soooo boring. But it was reliable as an anvil.

  20. steve m

    I dont know if I ever shared my Chevette experience or not. My dad bought one new in ’78 yellow, he bought it for the family and my mom hated it so it became a delivery vehicle for the family business. My dad owned an Alternator and Starter shop (back when rebuilding was common place in the US). Our customers were most of the shops, gas stations and car dealerships in Pinellas County Florida. It would do daily delivery duty every day, and once a week it would do “the route” replacing dealer stock of units and bringing cores back to the shop. It would leave with almost the back bumper dragging the pavement because it had 1500-2000lbs of alternators and starters in it. I think he got 150 to 200k out of the original drivetrain, and in ’81ish dad bought a wrecked one at auction and put the drivetrain in the ’78 and got another 200k out of it. It served us quite well and was replaced with a Isuzu P/U. It was a fine utilitarian car. It was yellow on black four door auto, if anyone cares.

    • Jeffro

      I miss the days when you could get a starter/alternators rebuilt.

  21. Paul R Bellefeuille

    Here’s a Pontiac T-1000 for uh..less money..
    https://nh.craigslist.org/cto/6019143415.html

    • Anthony

      Paul – that looks exactly like my Chevette when I was driving it – same color and dirty as hell. Great car with manual transmission that never let me down…

      • Paul R Bellefeuille

        I had a ’79. Bought new! Great car.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      The phone number from the ad is in Derry, NH. I’m 2 towns away, and that’s still too far to go and look at that piece of junk.

      • Kevin Wernick

        Thumbs up on that one.

  22. Ariel

    5 cilinder ?! But About the transmisson. Is it easy to find this kind of gearbox to sell in the us? In Brasil, where I live, this car was offered just with a manual gear box ( 4 or 5 speeds)..

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