I have acquired a 1981 Chevette Rally. What a wonderful car. It is quick, responsive, durable, and everything a car should be.
The most problems with Chevettes, were because they were inexpensive, and people let Bubba work on them, rather than the Chevrolet dealers. They never washed them, waxed them, or maintained them. Mine has been rustproofed, and is being restored by Grabiak Chevrolet, Weimann's auto interiors, and an auto restoration company in Pa, to do the minimal body work, that some Bubba screwed up in the past.
A wonderful example of automotive design. KEEP YOUR GM CAR ALL GM. It will last a lifetime.
What constitutes a "Rally" package, considering the 1.6 liter engine was already standard by 1981? Body stripes?
And good luck with ever recovering the cost of that "restoration".
Even if they put 2-3K into "restoring" it, I assume they would have no car payment, and insurance and license fees would be negligible. Also fuel cost would be low, unlike many older automobiles. Sounds like they will have a cheap car that they like. That is more than a lot of people can say that pay hundreds of dollars every month for a me too plastic appliance, I mean automobile.
I recall this car as being relatively simple to fix. You do not need to go to a car dealer for periodic maintenance as well, as with any other car out of warranty. They built this model in Wilmington De. These little cars were well built. The most basic was a Scooter. I rode in one some distance once to pick up a used 1969 Camaro SS. I guess they thought I was on a tight budget and I got a great deal on my Camaro!
With care, GM cars and Fords will last virtually forever. I thought our near-mint unrestored 1955 Pontiac was exceptional, until I ran across a totally original, unrestored 1925 Ford that was DRIVEN to the show. It was bought new by the owner's grandfather in 1925.
I went to pick up a 57 Chevrolet Bel Air 2 door last month. Better than the day it was built. Even the panel gaps adjusted to perfection. I looked at the window sticker; 2600.00 in 1957 with the following options; 283 V8, a radio, and 2 speed wipers. That's it. What a great buy for 27000.00 in 2012! Look at the sheet metal and bumpers on this beautiful car sometime. Should be around another 55 years, family member to family member.
I just had the Chevette out and did a 0 to 60 with it. In Western Pa it is hard to find a totally flat road that you can go 60 on, so some of it was a slight uphill. 10 seconds flat. I am very happy with that, as my Pinto was a 14 second, and my 1965 Nova, 194 Ci was a 13. Much faster than a 1980 Honda Accord that we had, and faster than an MG Midget that I owned for a short time.
This car is so much fun. People try to pass me on the expressways, and all I have to do is hit the accelerator. It downshifts, opens the 2nd barrel on the carb, and sounds like it is turning into Mr.Hyde. One nitwit kept it up, and we were both going well over 90 when we had to slow down for a red light. He wanted to know what was under my hood, and did I want to sell it. I told him that that is what happens when you get the car worked on by the factory.
I am having the timing belt changed, transmission drained and new filter installed, rear end drained and new grease put in. Then the body work will be done, in the original Bright Red color. Next year I will have Weimanns Interiors restore the carpeting and the seats to new condition. And yes, I have no car payments, have a car that you do not see everywhere, and draws attention everywhere I go.
The problem is people thought because the car was cheap, it was junk. They never got them tuned right, took them to Bubba to work on them because he was cheaper than the dealer. When they did take it to the dealer, and he told them what was wrong with the car, they said he was ripping them off, and took the car to Bubba again. Bubba would figure the car was junk after a while, and put sand in the oil (it happened to my Father in Law, may he rest in peace). Then it went to the junk yard, that crushed it. All it needed was some TLC.
There are still a few Chevettes in our area, as well as quite a few very nice Pintos. These cars were all very simple and very ruggedly built. I owned a nice '79 Pinto a few years back, and after just under 200,000 miles, I sold it for exactly what I paid for it. I'd love to find a good restorable Chevette, as I liked them better than the Pinto.
I wish I could find a good Pinto. I had 3. A 1972, a 1976 and a 1979. The 72 was my first new car. I terrorized 4 towns with it, before the tranny went out from doing reverse burnouts. The factory repaired it, and then said they would not warranty it anymore, as it was burning oil, tranny problems, and the gear shifter came out of its holder. All from beating the crap out of it. Rev to 6000 and dump the clutch, rev it back to 6 and shift into second. Hard on a good car.
To everyone that says a Chevette is slow, bad braking, poor ride, etc. read this. It is about the Pinto, but the Chevette has better braking, acceleration, and ride than all of these cars, that it was competing with in the mid 1970s and early 80s.