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Hooniverse Track Car Weekend Edition Last Call – An SCCA Chevette?

Jim Brennan July 1, 2012 Last Call, Weekend Edition 30 Comments

Received this from Kamil via e-mail. Image Source: Dan Roth

  • craigsu

    I'm guessing this will get a free pass from the Judges at any LeMons event.

    Sidebar: You gotta love the first line of Wikipedia's 24 Hours of LeMons entry: "Not to be confused with the 24 Hours of Le Mans".
    HA! No worries there.

  • Joe_Btfsplk

    It didn't just fall off the turnip truck….yet.

    • OA5599

      I was wondering about that, too. I don't see any chains or tie down straps or a place to anchor them, though I suppose there might be some D-rings hidden behind the truck's side rails. If not, that truck driver better not make any sudden stops.

  • Savant_Idiot

    Chevette Racer.

    That is just wrong.

    • RichardKopf

      It would appear that the Hooniverse disagrees with you.

      • Savant_Idiot

        Every rolling pile of excrement has its fan bois…

        • Richard Lopf

          But what makes it a rolling pile of shit?

          • Savant_Idiot

            I have owned one and driven several so I know of what I speak. For comparison purposes, I have also owned several other makes of the same vintage/price range from various countries.
            Compared directly with cars of it's time, it was a stinking pile of shit to rival Bandini Mountain. It lacked the beauty of its predecessor, the Vega, but shared it's horrible mechanical ineptitude. It rode and handled like an ox cart with square wheels and had the fit and finish of a '70's Lada. The interior, gauges and switchgear were unattractive, cheap feeling and held up worse than their visual promise.
            As a rival to imports like Honda and Toyota, it was a catastrophic failure. They all outperformed the Iron Duke powered stinker, got better fuel mileage, handled better and were more pleasant to drive. The fact that I still see imports of this vintage here in SoCal used as daily drivers but can't remember the last time I saw a Chevette moving under its own power says much about malaise era "small cars" from GM.
            The only time these should ever be driven on a track is during a demolition derby.

            • RichardKopf

              Ah, so you're a bitter ex-owner. And while you do make some valid points about the Chevette, the context is no longer relevant when discussing a Chevette repurposed into a track car. The same is true for Yugos, too. My dear Hoon, you must BELIEVE.

            • Maymar

              For what it's worth, I worked for a place several years ago that ran an fleet of ill-maintained Chevettes as delivery cars – in spite of much abuse, they were still soldering along (mostly), well past 260k kms. I mean, I'm sure they were all over 300k kms, but the odometer in every one died shortly after 260k. And this is in Ontario, where rust kills everything quickly.

              Now, it's not to say they're good, but they're not without merit – cheap, simple, easy to work on, and an easy way to teach a stupid kid how to handle a RWD car. And I do still see the occasional one tooling around.

  • PuddleRising

    It ran circles around the smart car

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    The grafted-on chin spoiler adds hilarity.

  • lilpoindexter

    I always liked the Chevette styling. In the 80s hot rod magazine used to feature lots of Chevettes where the cars had 2.8L or 3.8L GM V6's.
    Mine would have a 2.8L V6 with 5 speed.

    • buzzboy7

      I like the styling in the same way that I like the Omni. I think they share some looks on the front end.

      • I dig the look of an upright grille and non-aero headlights. I still have a thing for the 1st gen Mazda 626 2-door…similar look to the front end.
        <img src="http://cdn100.iofferphoto.com/img/1110700800/_i/6027824/l_1.jpg"&gt;

        • owned one of these…loved it…sold it to a nephew who Hooned it all through college.

        • I learned to drive in one of those – Dad's car. You had to work that 5-speed for all it was worth to get some semblance of acceleration but, like the RX-7 of the same vintage, it was deliciously tail-happy. A neat car that no longer walks the earth.

  • racer193

    They did a caddy motor in one too I believe it was a 500.

    • One of my favorite Hot Rod builds of all time. IIRC it was in the March or April '00 issue. (I bought the Chevette/Caddy issue just to have something to read on a trip in that timeframe, and it did not disappoint.)

    • Yeah! It was called Bad Seed. They went to the junkyard and got a Caddy 500 engine and trans and stuck it in the poor little thing, and it ran 11's. There's not much if you Google it, just references to the article, but I remember it. I bought that issue and was impressed.

      • OA5599

        <img src="http://graphic-server.com/cgi-bin/backissues.cgi?full/HR200004.JPG"&gt;

        It was a total ghettohoon build. At the junkyard, they pulled off the later model heads and swapped on a pair from 1969, which gave them a 12.5 compression ratio all for the price of one junkyard engine (they did do a proper hone and gasket change back in the safety of their shop). Rear end came from an F150, and they retained coils springs to suspend it, but still kept the front half of the truck leaf springs as trailing arms. The driver's seating position had to be moved to account for the driveline intrusion into the passenger compartment (accomplished through judicious use of a sawzall with no attempt to even smooth the jagged edges, let alone seal the opening).

  • BGW

    That's what I love about some of those niche SCCA classes- you never know just WTF might show up.

  • NoKetchup

    There is a scca guy in NW Indiana who runs a chevette…. 'cept his has DUAL big block chevy's in the thing.

    hmmm. maybe I should hunt down some pics.

  • RichardKopf

    Chevette + Ecotech = win

  • Small, light, manual trans, RWD. Assuming you can engineer out the crappy build quality and questionable design decisions, I don't see a problem here.

  • scroggzilla

    Jimmy McCrae (father of Colin) and Pentti Airikkala used hammer the Vauxhall version of the T-car around the stages back in the day.
    <img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8147/7154652294_c4baed6cb3.jpg&quot; width="500" height="334" alt="80 welsh rally jimmy mcrae vauxhall chevette">
    So, I guess what I'm saying is, a Chevette track car isn't that big a leap in logic.

  • AllenK

    I don't know where they were/are finding the things,but they run a Chevette class at a bunch of dirt tracks in Kentucky. This was 10 years or so ago,but even then I still don't know how they came up with that many of them. I talked to a guy at one of the tracks,and he said he had a ton of them.

    Seeing a running Chevette is a rare sight,but I do see one once in a while.

  • Ol' Shel'

    At least it drives the correct wheels. Any RWD car, prepped for racing, is going to be fun. If it's affordable fun, all the better.

    I like Hooniverse, but really dislike many who post here.

    Why all the insecurity?

  • mallthus

    Truth is, a Chevette can be a fun hoonmobile. Yes, they were crappy cars when new, but for this purpose, it's pretty close to ideal. The engine bay is surprisingly roomy, they're light as heck, no complex systems anywhere in sight and RWD (FTW).

    I drove mine (when I was 16 and my '82 Chevette was only 4 years old) like I stole it. I learned how to do a handbrake turn in that "crap car" and spent a lot of time sideways on dirt roads in the SoCal mountains. It's lack of power taught me to conserve forward momentum in ways I'd never have learned if I'd had a powerful car.

    So, I can totally see it as a race car.

    And besides, no one's making cracks about this one…
    <img src="http://cache.jalopnik.com/assets/images/12/2008/10/medium_LTXUG-50.jpg&quot; width=500>
    …and it's the same T-Car chassis.

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