In early 1973, the new GM T Platform was introduced to the world as the Brazilian-market Chevrolet Chevette, followed soon after by the Opel Kadett C in Europe. The Isuzu Bellett Gemini appeared in Japan in 1974, and it wasn’t long before these cheap, rear-wheel-drive subcompacts were being sold in every corner of the GM Empire. North America got the Chevette starting in the 1976 model year, and sales continued here all the way through 1987. American Chevette sales peaked here in the late 1970s, so the examples from the middle 1980s have been tough to find in junkyards. Here’s one of those cars, a thoroughly battered ’84 in a San Francisco Bay Area yard.
This one has the two-tone paint option, which added $133 to the price of a $5,508 car (that would be about the same as a $357 option on a $14,787 car in 2021).
A far more expensive option was the three-speed automatic transmission, which added $395 (about $1,060 today) to the final price tag.
Power came from a 1.6-liter Isuzu four-cylinder engine, rated at 65 horsepower in 1984. An Isuzu diesel was also available, generating 51 slow-motion horses.
Though very obsolete by this time, the Chevette just kept selling and so GM kept building it. A couple of new four-doors managed to get close to the Chevette sedan’s price in 1984, including the Mazda GLC ($5,644) and the Plymouth/Dodge Colt ($5,639); even such super-cheap machines as the Toyota Starlet and Subaru STD were priced closer to $6,000.
It appears that this car sat outdoors for many years and endured a nearby fire that didn’t manage to set the interior alight.
Versatile, economical, dependable basic transportation.
In 1984, 97 percent of all the Chevettes ever built (presumably just the American-market ones) were still on the road. Strap that canoe on the roof and go on vacation!
To see more than 2,100 additional Junkyard Finds, visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.
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