Stored 26 Years: 1980 Chevrolet Chevette

The 1970s were an unusual time for automakers. The gas crisis, pollution, and safety regulations played a big part in helping to shape the whole industry and one of the vehicles that came out of that mix is the Chevette. This 1980 Chevrolet Chevette can be found here on craigslist in beautiful Mesa, Arizona, where I should be right now. The seller is asking $1,900 which seems like a bargain, but there is no title so the next owner will have to deal with that.

This car has been stored for 26 years, since 1994. The previous owner passed away since putting the car in storage and their children couldn’t find the title so that’ll have to be sorted out but hopefully, it won’t be a deal-breaker for anyone who is looking for a four-door Chevette. Hello? Is this thing on?

The Arizona sun can give things a severe beatdown and it looks like it may have caused some issues with the paint and/or stripes on this Chevette, even after only 14 years of being in use. The Chevette was about the least-complicated vehicle that you could imagine and it was at the time the smallest Chevrolet ever produced. But, it filled a need and the company sold millions of them in many forms around the world. The rooftop luggage rack is cool and this car has new tires, a new battery, and zero rust.

This car has an automatic and yes, I always mention that. Some people want a crazy V8 engine, I want to shift for myself, whenever possible. At least with my vintage vehicles. The interior looks better than I thought it would with it being a desert southwest car. Being stored for almost three decades has seemed to preserve this interior more than usual. The back seat looks great and the rear cargo area under the hatchback looks even better.

The engine looks great for being 40 years old, it also seems to have been saved by being stored away for years. It should be a 1.6L inline-four with 70 horsepower and the seller says that it “runs and drives excellent.” Now, about that missing title… Any thoughts about this Chevette? Good buy or good-bye?

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Comments

  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    probably would have made an ok first car for a kid back in 1994. I can’t think of a single use for this little thing anymore, but hey to each his/her own I guess.

    Like 11
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    Let’s see…..Chevette,4 doors,automatic,and A/C.
    0 to 60 in? Wait,will it do 60?

    Like 18
    • michael j. small

      0-60 in 2 tanks of gas

      Like 2
      • stu

        0-60 in a bag of nuts and bolts….

    • Adam

      0-60 pack a lunch…

      Like 2
    • Courtney Sutherland

      Yes but it takes forever to get there. I had one back in 1981 cheap to run not many problems with it.

      Like 2
  3. Brian Hayes

    Got a kid with a couple of moving violations? Speeding tickets? Perfect for rectifying that!

    Like 11
  4. Left Behind

    The “Vette” will never be collected.

    They were loud noisy rattle traps.

    Like 2
    • Duaney

      I collect them, drive several as daily drivers. Fun to drive, not noisy or have rattles. Many people come up to compliment me and remember the Chevette’s they used to own. Car and Driver found the Chevette, (in one test of a new one), the most bullet proof perfect new car they’d ever tested.

      Like 7
      • local_sheriff

        Thumbs up to you Duaney! 👍 Definately not my cup of tea but I have much respect for people preserving these unloved basic cars, not to mention all the undeserved crap you have to take from all the haters. Love the diversity people like you add to our hobby!

        GMs T-body was of developing countries friendly tech and being cheap throw-away boxes they were also treated as such! Had owners cared to regularly maintain them they were not worse than other comparable vehicles of its time. This find is a cool anti-establishment car for the right person

        Like 3
      • Paul R.

        I agree, great little cars and the engine was virtually indestructible. I had a ’78 which my son inherited . He , being 18 ,did his best to destroy it , but did not succeed.
        Originally a dark green it ended up with a white bumper and blue left front fender. A simple car with panels that were fairly easy for Dad to replace.
        The car was used to deliver pizzas through out Ontario winters in the back country and never let him down.
        I found it fun to drive as well.
        When the body finally became too rusted out, we drove it to the wreckers.

        Like 3
  5. Turbo

    No title on a 40 year old nerd mobile. Hmm. If you give me 250 bucks, I will haul it off for you.

    Like 4
  6. Vegaman Dan

    Is it wrong that this appeals to me more than any modern Camry or Accord? The simplicity, clean design, and no pretense.

    That said, part of me also wants to see this sitting a set of 33″ tires.

    Like 14
    • Dave Suton

      No. Because Toyotas and Honda’s are Fugly

      Like 7
      • Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

        Right, fugly. And here we have this handsome 1980 Chevette…

        Like 13
    • Stu

      Vegaman Dan….Attention….Sears optical is offering a 2 for 1 special on prescription eye glasses….

      Like 2
  7. Mark Bardenwerper

    Absolutely. Harder to find rust free Chevettes. Find the estate, get certificate of death of former owner. Bill of sale from executor. Apply for lost title.

    Like 5
  8. pontiac59

    I’d drive it. 1980 shouldn’t have a computer in it, so it’s probably a nice little econo-car. Basic as can be.

    The biggest issue here would be finding parts, they do not exist in junkyards these days.

    Like 3
    • stu

      pontiac59…This is an easy fix, when you can’t find parts just push the car to your destination!
      Mint!

  9. Léo Boisvert

    No way! My dad always tells stories about his first car that was a 79 Chevette! One of them is that one time when he was late for class he tried to thread the needle in between 2 cement blocks. He ended up putting stickers on both sides of the car.

    Like 2
  10. JoeNYWF64

    Make sure you don’t hit that wiper switch! lol
    I am surprised this “color” interior was available – i would have gotten blue instead.

    Like 1
    • nlpnt

      1980 was an interesting year for the Chevette, first year for the late-style rear, last for the gasket rather than bonded-in windshield and ALL the upholstery patterns on offer were one-year-only.

      Like 1
  11. Howebrad460 Member

    This one does appear to be heavily optioned with Air, auto, and the upgraded wheels.

    Like 2
    • Ralph

      With tilt wheel and remote sport mirrors too.

      Like 2
  12. jwzg

    Store it for 26 more years and it would still be worthless. I had one.

    You could measure 0-60 with a sundial in those cars.

    Like 3
    • Gary

      A friend of mine bought one new. I rode in the back on a beach trip. Four hrs. each way. It was like sitting on concrete. Ac had to be shut off to merge onto the interstate. It had no power with it on. I never rode in that again. Ouch!

    • stu

      jwzg…Are you kidding me….this car is the Cadillac economizers of the day….LIL

  13. Dual Jetfire

    “…anyone looking for a 4 door Chevette” Ha!

  14. Arby

    Chuv-it.

    Like 1
  15. Tim M

    My Dad had one just like this with 4 doors and an auto transmission and it *never* ran or drove “excellent”. It was adequate for basic transportation, point A to B.

    Like 1
    • bone

      Thats what it was designed to be , nothing more. Something that the Vega tried and failed

      Like 1
  16. Steve Clinton

    The perfect 1980 muscle car!

    • stu

      Oooohhh yeah, the perfect 1980 muscle car! Just redo the heads, headers, new pistons and you might just get 0-60 in about a week!

  17. Cav427

    This is an old and rare car, 1/2 were recalled and the other half dissolved in the rain.

    Like 4
    • karl

      Not true at all , that would have been the Vega . I worked at a junkyard in the mid to late 80s in New England where rust is a constant thing , and I can tell you the only part that rusted badly on these cars was the passenger floor pan where the large flat cat converter was placed . You could beat the crap out of these little cars and they would still keep running. Its just a nothing special econobox that did their job.

      Like 6
      • Cav427

        Hello Karl,

        Perhaps I was a bit unfair with my joke. But one has to admit they are rare. Ford Escorts are rare now, so are Dodge Omni’s. You will find people who have fond memories of all of these disposable cars. However, my joke has an ounce of truth, they should be kept. These cars were part of American History, and fortunately there are those that elect to keep them running and on the road.

        Like 1
  18. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. Although I was too young to drive at the time, I remember cars like the Chevette. I’ve always loved the 1980 and later Chevette.

    Like 1
  19. DON

    I dont get all the “its so slow or didn’t ride well ” comments. This wasn’t a muscle car , nor was it a luxury car. It was designed to be a economical commuter or 2nd car, which it performed well. When this car came out in 1976 , oil was supposedly nearing depletion , gas prices were going up , and everyone was in a panic -even a straight six car didn’t get great gas mileage . People wanted a small economy car that could be easily maintained, and this car was it. They sold millions . The reason they aren’t around so much is simple, they were disposable cars, and after these cars aged an owner would just drive it until something major needed repair and then they were junked.
    Also on the slow bit -My first car was a 67 four door Falcon with a six cyl. That thing was so slow that when I came to steep hills I had to speed up before hand to get a running start ! Also my mothers 67 Rambler had a 199 in it that was so underpowered it seemed like kids on bikes would pass her on the road. Again, like the Chevette, they were an economical car of their time .

    Like 8
  20. Northstarlc3

    Early Fiero used the Chevette front suspension from what I recall??

    Like 4
    • Lc

      Well, I once went to Napa Auto looking for some part for my 76 Chevette, 4spd, and the guy at the counter mentioned “disposable car”. I believe that is true; however, if somebody treated it otherwise, the Chevette has been dependable. At least it was for the six years of my ownership from 2011 to 2016.

      Like 5
    • MN

      No, it was the Citation suspension.

  21. Bunky

    The basic design criteria for the Chevette (Shove-it) was for it to be cheap and light. Weighed in under 2000lbs. Objective achieved. They were horrible cars. I had one as a rental and couldn’t bear to listen the the buzzing sound that emanated from the engine compartment at anything over 60. It is a car. It most likely will get you from point A to point B, and maybe back again. Probably decent on gas. If that’s your criteria-enjoy.

    Like 1
  22. John B. Mc

    Believe it or not some of us do collect Chevettes-I have more than one. I avoid the automatics because I owned one and the lack of acceleration turned me against automatics. Yes they are slow, yes they don’t ride like a luxury car, but they sip fuel, don’t often break down, and they don’t have an interference engine (and it’s cast iron not aluminum). One of my cars has over 300,000 miles on it and it’s still a decent car.

    Like 7
  23. chrlsful

    4dor, now that’s cool!
    Bicentennial I had 1 as my County car (wrked for Stanislaus County). 2 dor. This would B better.
    Nice car, did the job.
    “0 – 60”? who cares, that’s not the app here.
    Every application hasa auto (truck, bus, etc) made for that. Don’t forget to ask the right Q before ur purchase…most do not’n pick the wrong vehicle.

    Like 1
    • Steve Clinton

      In English, please?

      Like 3
  24. 370zpp

    20th century Misery; Driving on a two lane road and you come up behind one of these going 45 mph.

    21st century Misery; Driving on a two lane road and you come up behind a PT-Cruiser going 45 mph.

    Like 1
    • Michael

      I have a pt cruisrer GT pretty fast don’t know what your talking about

  25. Matt G

    Wow, I am the 34th comment, this car seems to inspire way more passion than a rusted out Charger… I remember from driving these, that they ingeniously combined the bad traits of full sized cars (ponderous, imprecise handling) with the bad traits of small cars (cramped interior space).

    Like 2
    • bone

      I had a Pontiac T1000 , basically a Chevette with different grille and taillights . I put some wider Vega GT wheels on the car and it made a huge difference in the handling !

      Like 2
      • stu

        bone, are you saying your T1000 with the wider wheels made the car ready for track racing!

      • bone

        Well Stu , maybe not track racing, but the wider GT wheels did make it corner better ! There there were a few Chevettes that ran in a stock 4 cyl class at our local race track back in the early 90s though !

  26. Ike Onick

    What a waste of perfectly good storage space.I would have piled boxes on it just so nobody would have to look at it.

    Like 2
    • stu

      Ike Onick, I disagree with you…this car would be parked right beside a pile of firewood ready to burn…Think outside the box….think

      Like 1
  27. Pete

    Anybody remember the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show? They used some Chevettes at some point in time.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joie_Chitwood

    Like 2
  28. Engident

    For $500, I bought factory supercharged ’99 Riviera that needed only a master cylinder and was 10x the car this deathtrap is. And it came with a clean title. So, like, no. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbzIHLPhWDE

    Like 1
    • Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

      Yikes. It would be hard to walk away from an accident. Good luck with the Riv. Those are beautiful cars and I believe they started the styling trend for Buick that still exists today.

      Like 1
  29. ray vacca

    my first job out of high school was customer service and we had these as company cars. they were our parts cars that we drove from here to there. i seem to recall they were fun to drive and got great mileage. i had a lime green one that served me well. did i forget to mention that i was able to take the car home for personal use and did not have any auto related payments for 4 years… no gas , no insurance and no car payments. to me it was a fun car that i have fond memories of. and on the highway they could be thrown around here and there very easily and they were peppy. that’s my personal story of the Chevettes and i am sticking to it.

    Like 8
  30. Bigdlm633

    Fill the gas tank and double the value. I owned one of these turds. I actually changed a timing belt in 10 minutes in the middle of a busy intersection. Sophisticated as a brick.

    Like 2
  31. Harriston Richardson

    Wow, i,m into the 80,s and i would love to have this one. How do you get a new title when the original cant be found? They were never supposed to be nothing special ,just a point A to B car but it served it,s purpose like it was intended to do .

    Like 1
  32. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    The diversity on this Chevette thread is baffling me. Every car has its place in history and will have its fans and nay sayers, I known to defend K-Cars and Mustang lp’s, but I scratch my head as to why anyone would want to drive these cars when far better riding, more efficient, comfortable, safe, and modern cars can be had for the same money. If I saw one of these at a car show I would give it a few minutes time like anything else, but to actually drive one in today’s world? I’m curious why some folks insist on owning/driving them…

    Like 1
    • stu

      Bakyrdhero …please to talk about the K-Cars…These cars were garbage…

      Like 2
    • Duaney

      Chevrolet advertised the Chevette as having a splendid ride, they have SLA front suspension and coils at all 4 wheels. Many of the ads high lighted the excellent ride and comfort. Efficient? The diesel gets 45-50 MPG. So I don’t know what back yard hero is saying.

      • Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

        To each his own I guess Duaney.

  33. Lc

    I drove my 76 from 2011 to 2016, and enjoyed driving the little classic for the most part especially because it was a standard. Like any car when things go out they suck. People’s pockets only run so deep, and it gets to the point of whether it’s worth to keep throwing money into it.

    Like 1
  34. Paul Stehlik

    I love mine! Of course it is now equipped with a 4.3l vortex and 5spd t-5. Currently going through some body mods for the lowered stance and cage.
    BTW 0-60 is under 6seconds and 1/4 ets at around 10.5.
    We are autocross racing after this pandemic.

    Like 3
  35. Duaney

    I’ve noticed all the love for one of the most primitive cars ever built, the VW Bug. Yet the Chevette is like a Cadillac in comparison and gets all the hate? Watch some U Tube video’s of Chevette’s as rally cars.

    Like 2
    • JoeNYWF64

      Unlike the bug, it has a great heater & much more utility! In the summer tho, mine had no fact a/c & i could not turn off the heat!
      I stuffed rags into the vents. lol
      The 3 spd automatic tho is mickey mouse strong.

      Like 1
  36. Ike Onick

    Rear defroster so your hands stayed warm when pushing it home.

    Like 1

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