Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Chevette


1981 Chevrolet Chevette in Denver wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsNorth Americans could buy the Chevrolet Chevette, featuring the finest in affordable early-1970s Opel Kadett C technology, starting with the 1976 model year. Chevette sales continued all the way through 1987, amazingly enough, because it could be manufactured and sold so cheaply.

Since the Chevette was so simple and sold in such large numbers, enough have survived that I still find them in the big self-service wrecking yards to this day. Here’s a grimy, beat-up ’81 spotted in a Denver yard last winter.

1981 Chevrolet Chevette in Denver wrecking yard, 2007 Harbor Freight catalog - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsI found 2007-tagged collector-car license plates and a 2007 Harbor Freight ad in the car, so I’m pretty sure it sat outside for the 12 years prior to arriving here.

1981 Chevrolet Chevette in Denver wrecking yard, head gasket in a can - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe can of Radiator Stop-Leak tells us that the car suffered some overheating problems prior to being parked.

1981 Chevrolet Chevette in Denver wrecking yard, automatic gearshift - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsNearly all of the Chevettes I’ve seen have had manual transmissions, because Chevette buyers wanted cheap transportation, period, and paying extra for two-pedal convenience didn’t make much sense. This car has the luxurious automatic, though.

1981 Chevrolet Chevette in Denver wrecking yard, flu shot sticker - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis beats slapping cannabis dispensary stickers all over your car.

1981 Chevrolet Chevette in Denver wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAn overheating Chevette that got crashed and then sat outside in High Plains Colorado for more than a decade won’t get rescued. This car might have donated some useful parts to a surviving Chevette prior to being eaten by The Crusher, though.


Car of choice for cheap priests!





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