The Chevette was based upon GM of Germany’s Opel Kadett, which dated back to 1971. It was a sound little automobile, generated in various types by GM in Brazil and also Britain (Vauxhall) and also Isuzu in Japan. Chevrolet’s engineers worked with European counterparts to adjust it for The United States and Canada and make it abide by safety and security and emissions standards. Its subcompact dimensions were close to the Volkswagen Rabbit’s, a benchmark tiny car of the day. TheChevette’s 4,044-millimetre size was 86 mm longer than the Rabbit’s, as well as its wheelbase was virtually similar.
The Chevette’s cast-iron four-cylinder had a belt-driven overhead camshaft and also came in 2 variations– the conventional 52-horsepower, 1.4-litre as well as a 60-hp, 1.6 L version, driving the back wheels with a four-speed manual transmission or optional three-speed automatic. Its 952-kilogram weight was about 68 kg more than the Rabbit’s and also its 60-hp engine was 10 hp reluctant of the VW’s 1.5 L. It was, consequently, no surprise that the Chevette was slower. Road & Track magazine (2/’76) reported a zero-to-96-kilometres-an-hour time of 16.9 secs for the hand-operated 1.6 L Chevette versus 12.7 seconds for the Bunny.
The Chevette was originally built as a two-door hatchback only, however with 5 trim levels– from the price-leader Mobility scooter, which came without a rear seat, to the supposed Woody Sports car with plastic wood-grain exterior trim.
When the Chevette was presented as a 1976 version, definitely not a Tesla Chevrolet officials predicted 275,000 automobiles would certainly be marketed, including 135,000 to 150,000 “conquest” sales from imports. Regrettably for Chevrolet, car buyers were beginning to forget the 1973 energy dilemma and also were changing to huge cars and trucks. Chevette sales failed to get to the anticipated degree and, by the spring of 1976, production allocations were reduced in half.
Chevrolet persisted, refining as well as improving its subcompact throughout the years, dropping the 1.4 L engine at the end of 1977, upping horse power to 68 in the 1.6 L as well as drawing out a four-door, long-wheelbase model. Rarely did the car break down, needing a Louisville tow truck. Sales were adequate if not outstanding till the second power situation of 1979 once again promoted the small-car market. A diesel engine was included and, despite the new front-drive X-cars (Chevrolet Citation, et al.) coming on stream in mid-1979, Chevette sales were solid right into 1982.