Chevette in Salvador (Bahia) Brazil, posted by Rivera Notario
The Chevette was born in Brazil, where it first started out as a two-door sedan in 1973. It found its way to the US in 1976, and lasted all the way through MY 1987. Built and/or assembled in several South American countries, including Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela along with Brazil, its life there was considerably longer. It finally ended in 1994 in Brazil, 1996 in Ecuador, and all the way to 1998 in Columbia.
But it did get a bit of a refresh down there, along the way.
Here’s how it looked in GMC Chevette guise in Argentina, in the later years of its life there.
The Marajo, the station wagon version, made it through only 1989.
The Chevy 500 was the utility/pickup of the line, which was built until 1994 in Brazil, the last version of the family to be built there.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive look at the Chevette family tree; just a quick reminder that it had lots of relatives in South America.
I know these cars are hated but theh did the job they were designed to do very well .
Indeed, and that little pickup? Take my money.
I learnt to drive in a Vauxhall “Shove it” . Crude compared to a Fiesta.
Had the misfortune to drive an automatic version. The slowest car I have ever driven.
It’s my understanding that these cars are much more highly regarded outside the U.S. than within, with the sportier models quite valued in places like Brazil and Argentina. It’s amazing how many body styles there were (fastback coupe, notchback coupe, sedan, 2 door wagon, 2 door hatchback, 4 door hatchback, and pickup/ute). I also find it odd that GM used the “Chevette” name even in places where the brand it was sold under wasn’t Chevrolet. “Chevrolet Chevette” makes sense – it’s a small Chevy, and the -ette suffix is widely used to denote a small or miniature version of something. But “Vauxhall Chevette” makes no sense at all. I guess Vauxette didn’t sound right.
The Vauxhall should of course have been named ’Cadet’!
There was a Vauxhall Cadet in the 1930s, but ironically it was quite a large car by contemporary British standards with a 2.0 or 3.2 litre six cylinder engine.
“GM should have used in their overseas small car designs in the US back in the 70’s”
Umm, they did, see T body.
And South Africa got the Chev Hatch which was Chevette inspired shall we say..
A somewhat distant relation of the Vauxhall Viva, I haven’t seen one in years, although I considered them tough cars back in the day.
Speaking of South Africa, GM beginned its transition from Chevrolet to Opel when they introduced the based-Ascona known as Chevair.
The Argentinian version of the T-model was called Opel K180 (Opel Kadett 1.8 liters or 110 c.i.). Its 4-cylinder engine was created by cutting out two units from the six cylinder 194 motor and reducing the stroke to 2 1/2 inches. The car was some 100 pounds heavier than the Brazilian model. Produced from 1974 to 1978. In the early 90s the Chevette was imported from Brazil but curiously it used the GMC branding.
They were also assembled here in Uruguay mostly as 2 and 4 door sedans and sold fantastically, from 73 to 93. They were also imported from Brazil in some versions, and also fitted with the same 1.8 diesel unit that was optional in the US. In that guise, lots of them from about 82 to 90 were used as taxis. Produced here with the same mechanicals was a fiberglass bodied station wagon as well as a coupe and the pickup, which in fact predated the Brazilian Chevy 500. The commercial name for the fiberglass cars was “Grumett Chevette “
Dad had 4 of them…the 79 2DR & 4 speed was the most fun. Should have bought it for school, but I’m not a Bow Tie fan. He traded it in for an 81 4Dr and used it on a rural route for a couple yrs. Was rolled when a deer darted out in front of him one night, they fixed it and not one panel lined up with another. Sold it off and went with an 83 4Dr for a couple yrs. Sister got that one as a driver for school. He then got the 84 4 Dr. These last 3 were automatics, 3 speeds TH 200s. The 84 went over 500K miles, was on its second engine, 2nd trans, 1st rear end. It always had the CEL on, no one could get it to clear, so a digital clock sat over it. They were OK for utility grade. Finally hit the bone yard in 2008.
Was in NE Brazil a few yrs ago, recognized the Chevette front clips here & there.
These were also sold as the Opel Kadett, Vauxhall Chevette, Isuzu Gemini, Holden Gemini and Daewoo Maepsy with a multitude of body styles – 2/4 door notchback saloons/sedans, 2 door fastback coupe, 3 door hatch (the 5door hatch was not offered outside the US), 3 door estate/wagon and 3 door panel van. The pick up was confined to S America.
A T bar Aero convertible was also mocked up for the show circuits as an Opel or Vauxhall but never put into production.
The only link of the Chevette to the Vauxhall Viva was the use of the latter’s pushrod 1256 motor and gearbox.
Like Nate said, a good, honest car that served many well in many markets.
It would have needed a different nickname than ‘Shove it’ if it’s name wasn’t Chevette.