Cheap Rent: 1977 Chevrolet Chevette Scooter

Base model cars sometimes aren’t the most desirable, collector-wise, but when they’re as nice looking as this 1977 Chevrolet Chevette Scooter is, all bets are off. And, I know, “nice looking” is a very subjective term. This nice looking Chevette can be found here on Hemmings in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. The seller is asking what seems like a reasonable $4,000 or offer for this nice looking (ok, don’t overdo it, SG) Scooter. Let’s check it out.

For 1977, the second year for the Chevette and the second year for the base model Scooter, Chevy kicked it up a notch. Well, half a notch. They included a rear seat as standard equipment! I know, a rear seat! It appears to have painted bumpers and no chrome trim around the windows which are other telltale signs of a Scooter model. This car looks great and there’s a reason for that, the seller mentions that it has been repainted but it’s otherwise original. Chevy made just over 13,000 Chevette Scooter models in 1977.

With almost three million of them sold in the U.S. and even more than that sold globally, they were generally good cars. That they cause such a ruckus is often due to the piling-on syndrome rather than actual owner experience. Were they all perfect? No, but they were basically good, reliable cars, not the God-awful junkers that some folks claim them to be. Both Toyota and Honda have produced their share of lemons so there surely will have been a few Chevette lemons. It’s one of the current cars that some folks love to hate.

The strap pulls on basic door cards are another sign of a Scooter model. This one has an automatic which would have been a somewhat expensive option for such an inexpensive car. And, a glove box door? Fancy, at least for a Scooter. The seller says that this car runs and drives and it has 70,000 miles on it but it has been sitting for a few years so it’ll need some love. At about $3,000 new, the Chevette was the first U.S. compact car specifically made to battle the effects of the gas crisis of 1973.

This dusty engine should be Isuzu’s G140 1.4L four-cylinder with around 55 hp. They say that it runs but I’m guessing that the usual work will have to be done that you would do with any vehicle that has been sitting for a few years. Have any of you had any real ownership experience with a Chevette? Not just what you’ve heard about them from your neighbor’s cousin’s uncle’s second wife’s co-worker who owned one a few decades ago?

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Comments

  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    In the Summer of ‘85 a group of govt employees mentored a group of high school age kids in a govt program to help develop job skills; when we would meet up with another like group form another are one of our more gregarious kids would set eyes on a likely counterpart and coyly ask if they’d like to go for a ride in a ‘Vette.. they’re reaction to seeing it was a CHEvette not a CORvette told volumes of their guiding principles!

    Like 2
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      That should read ..”another like group FROM another AREA..”
      Where’s the GrammarCheck when you actually need it?!??!!? SHEESH!

      • 80s Time Traveler

        Eazzzzy ,Hero, might want to switch to decaf

        Like 6
  2. Dave Suton

    Had a lot of friends in high school driving some sort of economy car. Chevettes lasted longer than the honda cvcc or corollas clap trap rust buckets, of the day

    Like 3
  3. Boatman Member

    Dad bought a 4 speed Scooter new in ’76. Drove it 12 years and well over 100,000 miles trouble free, and Dad never took care of a car! Almost it’s whole life spent in NY., the only rust it had was the floors and the bottom half of the hood!

    Like 4
    • JunkFixer

      Which is what this one should be if it were a Scooter. The 4 spd was the only transmission available on the Scooter pkg in 1977. No automatic was available. The above car is a (very) low-line Chevette 1.4L Coupe but not a Scooter.

      • James Schwartz

        Scooter’s came with automatics. This is the second thread that you’re claiming that. Look at the pictures. This IS A SCOOTER. Door panels. Painted headlight bezels and bumpers, not chrome.
        Could you just stop with the “all Scooter models were 4 speeds” BS already.

        Like 3
      • Ralph

        You never know….someone could be cloning Scooters to unload them at Mecum…….

        Yes I concur, the Scooter could come automatic, I knew someone that had an ex-postal Scooter without the rear seat and it was an automatic, I think it cost them $100.

        Like 1
      • JunkFixer

        Mr Schwartz, the Turbo-Hydramatic was not available in the Scooter in ’76 and ’77. Not until 1978. Neither was a glovebox door or cigar lighter. All Scooters during these 2 yrs also had rubber floor covering. During these two years however there was another Chevette pkg that looked very much like a Scooter – the 1.4L Chevette Delivery.

        The Delivery pkg had several options available but retained many of the no-frills features of the Scooter pkg, most notably it’s plain door cards and door pulls along with plain Scooter bumpers. Carpet was available instead of the Scooter’s rubber floor covering. Rear seat was optional, so was a lighter. A glovebox door was included. Rear windows were fixed. An automatic was also available, so long as you didn’t opt for optional air conditioning. The Chevette Delivery looked very much like a Scooter, but without the “Scooter” script on it’s flanks.

        The car listed above could be a Chevette Delivery, or it could be a dealer low-ball advertising Chevette-base special. But it’s not a Scooter.

      • James Schwartz

        Hey “junkfixer”
        Check out this screenshot from 3 months ago on another Chevette thread where you said Scooters didn’t come with automatics from 76-83. Now you’re changing your tune (after of course being proven wrong). This was YOUR post in January, pretending to know all about Chevettes. .
        Please refrain from stating things as “facts” when clearly you are wrong…again. .

      • JunkFixer

        Mr Schwartz, here are links to Chevrolet’s own advertising literature for the Chevette for 1976 and 1977 which clearly state that the automatic transmission WAS NOT AVAILABLE on Chevettes with the Scooter pkg. I have never proclaimed to be any type of expert and I honestly can’t imagine where you are inferring that from.

        I got the model years wrong in my first post on this subject. Mea maxima culpa. I try to verify any technical info I post and I don’t know how I got that one wrong. But I’m not wrong this time – you are, and your vitriol isn’t appreciated or helpful. We are here for the love of old cars, not to argue or fight about them. Good day sir.

        http://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/chevy/76cvet/bilder/4.jpg

        http://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/chevy/77chevette/bilder/3.jpg

        Like 1
      • James Schwartz

        You “had. The model years wrong”. Lmao.
        You listed every year of the Scooter and said it wasn’t available. Nice try though.
        People disagreed with you in the previous chevette threads, and you argued with them, claiming an incorrect “fact”. Do you need more screenshots to prove it. You basically were claiming to be an expert telling everyone else they were wrong.
        You are the purveyor of mis-information.
        Good day to you sir!.

    • James Schwartz

      I will also add that “fleet” sales were seperate from retail sales. The brochure is a retail sales brochure.
      Fleet sales were to companies only, and you could throw the “rules” away as far as what was available and when.
      “Fleets” could order Scooters with base equipment, and vise versa. They could special order vehicles based on large quantity purchases (retail side couldn’t).
      Such as the “Chevette delivery” that this may or may not be. No mention of it in the brochure, but (if it does exist) would be shown in a fleet catalog.
      Being a Chevette nut, I would love to see any information about the Chevette Delivery. Somewhere around here I think I have a Fleet sales catalog from Chevrolet, but I don’t think it’s a 77.

  4. mallthus

    I had a slightly higher spec Chevette back in the day. It was slow and got relatively poor mileage compared to my friends’ Toyotas and Hondas.

    That said, it was incredibly reliable. In 120,000 miles I drove it (of 175,000 total), the only failures were the starter and the brake master cylinder. And it was kinda fun, once you got past the lack of power. Small, light, and RWD, it exemplified the joys of driving a slow car fast.

    Like 3
  5. Howard A Member

    The Chevette was a good car. Too bad people were still gun shy after that “Vega” thing of any small car from GM. But the Chevette more than proved itself, and 3 million of any car is worth recognizing. To show how Detroit bamboozled the public, the Chevette was basically a rebadged German Opel, a car they couldn’t give away 5 years prior. Nice find.

    Like 3
    • dweezilaz

      Well the exchange rate and the lack of interest by Buick dealers to sell them didn’t help.

      This was GM’s World Car [ T Car] sold and built many countries around the world.
      Like Ford’s Escort, GM’s Chevette shared little with their World Car brethren. Lots of differences for the US market

    • local_sheriff

      The Chevette proved what GM should’ve done in the first place prior to introducing the Vega; leave small car engineering to Opel. They already had decades of experience producing quality smaller cars for the European market, all of which already had OBVIOUS design influence from the US cars.

      I’ve always wondered why the hell GM US went through all the hassle of designing the Vega at all; all they needed to do was to tool up for a US version of the Opala/Rekord. Much, much better looking, a proven design and suitable engines could be sourced from excisting US or Euro production

      Like 1
  6. Chris

    I had a buddy in HS who’s Dad shoehorned a $%$ into one and Track’ed it…Was Baddass!

  7. Ben T. Spanner

    Corvette-Chevette; Rolex-Timex. If you can’t tell the difference, why pay the difference. Most could and would.
    I worked with a young lady whose first car was Grandma’s 1964 Chevy Biscayne? with a 6 and powerglide. Ist new car was a Chevette. She boiled water in a sauce pan, and threw it on the windshield to deice. It never broke. There; I said something positive about a Chevette.

    Like 3
    • don

      You didn’t buy a Chevette for sporty looks and performance , and you didn’t buy a Corvette for fuel economy . And I’m sure everyone knew the difference ; and they sold a lot more Chevettes then Corvettes ; I’m sure the amount of Timex’s sold in a year was astronomically higher than Rolexes too

      Like 2
  8. Joe

    Back in 1983 this was our Dominos pizza delivery vehicle. Second gear was like neutral, you had to floorboard it to get it to shift! One day me and another employee decided while on a delivery to take it and do donuts in a muddy field and we got it stuck, that was fun explaining to the boss, the good old 80’s, fun times!

    Like 1
  9. Karl

    My buddy had a 78 Scooter , it had painted bumpers and black trim with an automatic . We put a manual trans in it , and spent one summer at a local junkyard swapping out the base bumpers and trim for chrome and upgrading the interior from higher line Chevettes . We also put Vega GT factory mags on it which made the tires stick out a little from the fenders, but the handling was a lot better . He had rear louvers on it and a CB radio antenna on it- we used to tell him it looked like a large scale RC car . We had a lot of good times with that little car !

    Like 6
  10. Tort Member

    My Dad and brother each owned a Chevette. For what they were built for they were good cars and both were driven lots of trouble free miles.

    Like 3
  11. Kenneth Carney

    Used to see these in various states of
    disrepair around Polk County Fl. in the
    ’80’s and ’90’s. Most of them were very
    well-used by then but they somehow
    still kept running. A lot of folks around
    Winter Haven at that time couldn’t afford
    to buy a new car so this was what they
    used to get around. There was a point
    in time when Havendale Boulevard looked like downtown Havana with all
    those old, used up cars chugging down
    the street! Buy here pay here lots were
    charging as much as $3K for a used
    up Chevette–and that was in the late
    ’80’s! Despite all that, they were good
    little cars that ran forever if you treated
    them right. Would love to have one now
    for posterity. Nice find.

    Like 3
  12. Rich

    I bought a new 84 with a five speed. Great car. Only failed twice: the catalytic converter got clogged and the timing belt broke. I used it to commute to Boston from southern Maine.

    Like 2
  13. 2VT

    Rare to hear a kind word about the Chevy Chevette but mine was raced as a Showroom Stock C car back in 79. My friend had an R5 Renault he raced and I wanted to race against him. Didn’t think it could ever win but guess who won the regional SoCal Championship that year? Yup, me. And the car, a 77 with A/C turned 100k miles while going around turn 9 at Riverside. The next owner sent me a photo of the speedo years later. It was pointed at “M” of MPH (as the speedo numbers stopped at 80) and the odometer was turning over for the 2nd time. He told me some years later he drove it to the junk yard.

    Like 7
    • Ralph

      Seeing this photo makes “The Love Bug” theme play in my head. I love it.

  14. Comet

    A longtime girlfriend dumped me at the same time she bought one of these. I’d like to think it was karma.

    Like 1
  15. River

    Had a few of these in the ’90s, fun little beaters. Had several Opels, too. Great cars.

    Like 1
  16. Dave 442

    James Schwartz : another identifying factor that verifies this IS a scooter is no bumper fillers front or rear. Fender to bumper, quarter to bumper. Its a scooter. Unsure where the other guy is getting his information but he needs a new source.

    Like 1
  17. Will Irby

    A friend of mine had a Chevette for several years. His had more than adequate power.

  18. Louis Q. Chen

    A high school buddy bought one in 1979. It was a two door an upgraded one with auto an A/C! It was a white knuckle experience when one need to get on the freeway! I suggested he turn off the A/C so that we have a little more power? It was a reliable car, my buddy sold it after ten years and it still run today as reported by the current owner! The gas mileage was good also.

  19. John B.

    In this area a large number of Chevettes were raced (they had their own class) and several were also used in demolition derby’s. One thing that has not been mentioned is the fact that Chevettes did not use an interference engine like their more powerful foreign competitors; in just a little over an hour a Chevette could be up and running with no permanent damage. I had two Hyundai’s both of which did irreparable damage when the timing belt broke. I traded one for a non-running S-10 and the other for a Chevette with no regrets!

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