Chevy Enthusiast via Hooniverse: The 1982 Chevette the GM dropped a V6 into.

Some of you may or may not know that I write a monthly column for Chevy Enthusiast Magazine, titled Weird and Wonderful Bowties. It is quite unlike any other column you may read in a magazine, but not unlike this blog. You see, I don’t like writing about all the usual suspects that might be covered in a Chevy Magazine. Rather, I uncover some unusual model, or interesting personality, and devote 1,000 words to it. And for this week, I want to introduce the Hoons at the Hooniverse some of the hidden Chevrolet and Chevy related discoveries. First up; The Chevy Engineered V6 Chevette. The Chevrolet division of GM was undergoing a monumental change during the Regan era, engineering new game changing vehicles to meet the Government imposed fuel efficiency, safety, and pollution control mandates. By 1982, Chevrolet replaced some of their best models in terms of reliability and longevity, with some of their worst products ever. The rear wheel drive Chevrolet Nova was replaced with the front wheel drive Citation. The second generation Camaro, introduced in the spring of 1970, turned into the third generation Camaro, with a 4 Cylinder Engine as standard equipment. The Chevrolet Monza, a derivative of the unloved Vega, was put to pasture with the introduction of the Cavalier. OK, so the last example was actually an improvement, but you catch my drift. Other models were also scheduled for replacement like the Corvette, and the Malibu. However, one car held on for an astonishing 11 years, becoming the best seller for the division for 1979 and 1980, and that was the Chevy Chevette. So why am I writing about a car that was ancient when it was introduced in 1976, and with such ergonomic missteps as misaligned steering columns, a cramped interior with miserable workmanship, and wheezing power-trains that couldn’t get out of their own way? Well, you see, I’m not. These cars were dreadful, except for one, and that’s where this story begins. It was the dark ages for performance cars, and deep within the bowels of Chevrolet’s Product Promotion Engineering Division (aka the Bow Tie Brigade), a performance oriented Chevette was created. It was relatively simple, as all the parts they needed were readily available, and bolted right into place. And it would have been astonishing if it went into production. The secret to the enhanced Chevette is the transplant of the relatively new 60-degree V6 that was available on the S-10 pickup, and was also offered in the new 1982 F-body (Camaro, Trans Am). Two different transmissions were tried, including the Warnet Super T10 manual four speed from the Corvette, as well as a 700R4 Turbohydramatic. They stuck with the Chevette rear end, but could have swapped an S-10 unit to handle the power. A cowl induction hood, and a set of Gotti 14 inch Alloys were the only clues that this was anything but an ordinary Chevette. When Hot Rod Magazine did a feature on this fire breathing Chevette, it was equipped with the automatic. The car weighed 2260 pounds, and it would do 15-second quarter mile times consistently. The real eye opener to the test crew was the fact that this car performed better than the new Z/28, Trans Am, or the Turbo Buick Regal, yet had more cargo room. The Corvette also gave up a set of front seats for the engineering study, providing a comfortable driving experience, while getting almost 23 MPG in combined track/city/highway driving. The transplant only added 140 pounds, which is really nothing compared to today’s porkier cars. Projected price of the V-6 Chevette? Around $6,500. So why wasn’t the V-6 Chevette produced? The Chevette was in its seventh year of production, and GM was loath to spend any additional funds on a car with limited profit potential. The Corporate Average Fuel Economy Mandate also came into play, since the base 4 and the available Diesel would make up for the more profitable V-8’s within the Chevrolet stable. And then there is the fact that this little car offered more performance than the Z/28, and close to the current (1982) Corvette, more than likely killed any chance for production. The Question is this: Would you have bought one? Leave your comments below. Image Source:; July 1982 Edition of Hot Rod Magazine. Take a look at this months edition of Chevy Enthusiast here!

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One response to “Chevy Enthusiast via Hooniverse: The 1982 Chevette the GM dropped a V6 into.”

  1. F M Avatar
    F M

    I bought a new 1978 Chevette 4dr 4spd in 1978. That car made a name for itself with me behind the wheel. I was 18 yrs old at the time. There wasn’t too many days I didn’t hold the pedal to the floor and dump the clutch. I had a retired mechanic say to me that car won’t last past 20,000 miles if you keep driving like that. Had people come ask me what did you do to it to make it run like that? I had also put 60 series tires on cragar wheels and raised rear end. Went past 20, 40, 60 thousand miles and still drove it the same way. The rear-end took that abuse and then the original clutch exploded a little over 100,000 miles. It had around 250,000 miles on it when I parked it. Had a new ride and wasn’t interested in it anymore. Set for 5 years outside and I guy that seen it run back in the day wanted to buy it in the middle of winter and it was buried in a snow drift. He said I want now or never. So got the tractor out and pulled it out of the snow and he put a battery in it. He asked if it would start. I said it always did before but has been sitting for 5 years. It fired up after 5 sec’s of cranking on it, and he paid me than drove it away. That was the last I saw of it. One of the toughest cars I ever owned. So the answer to the V6 Chevette, Yes I would have!