I had a 1981 Chevette. This was an absolute joy to drive – even in the snow! It always started (I was very well liked in my neighborhood in the winter for boosting newer cars). It was cheap on gas and as far as repairs…not an issue. I changed the water pump myself and it cost me $40 bucks! Sure, some of the gauges and materials were crude, but this car was a tank! Plus, wasn’t the VW Beetle crude... I sold the Chevette for $600 when it had 140 000km. The owner kept it until it died at 314 000km!! I really miss that car because it was cheap to own and fix due to the lack of electronic systems (read none). As a first car or winter car (my Mustang was stored in the winter), this car was the best.
Regarding the Feb 28th comment... all 4 Chevettes had power brakes, not manual as you believe. On the issue of snow boots, my point is, the Chevette is the only car that I've had a problem with snow boots in. Other cars like Ford Escorts and Honda Civics don't have this problem. And I did roll my eyes when my sister dented the gas tank (she backed up waaaay too far). But you're missing the point. My point is, on other cars (like the Ford Escort and Honda Civic), the gas tank would not get damaged in the same situation because the tanks are mounted in less exposed locations on those cars.
Regarding the March 28th comment... a quote from the review "I never owned one, but we had 4 of them at different times in my family that I occasionally drove and also helped out on the repairs with."
Regarding the comment from April 20th... compared to a 1982 Mercury Grand Marquis, 1987 Honda Civic, 1986 Pontiac 6000 and 1991 Ford Escort, the Chevette/Acadian is greatly inferior in snow. However, it probably is better than a Mustang in snow.
Chevettes are NOT tanks. I've seen how well they don't hold up in colisions. Cars like the Mercedes 190E and Volvo 240 on the other hand are tanks.
And to the previous comment... If you think a Chevette is the best car in the world, you really need to try out some other cars like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla or even the Ford Escort (as long as the Escort in question is from 1991 or newer).
Maybe the one you had did start in -30C, but the 4 that went through my family would only start in those conditions if a block heater was installed and plugged in.
Regarding 3-Aug and 22-Feb comments. There was a factory option for Power Brakes I owned four Chevettes, two used 1978s one used 1979, and one new 1981. The 1979 had power brakes while the other three had manual brakes. Changing the starter on the 79 with its enormous vacuum brake booster was a bit of a challenge, but I always found working on the Chevette fairly simple and inexpensive compared to most cars. My 81, the only one I had with a manual trans, had plenty of power for city driving and got a steady 30 MPG in the city. Today it takes a hybrid to do that!
Chevettes DO have frames, ALL cars do, including uni-bodys, it's just that it's itegrated with the body, which is were we get the term Uni-body...and guess what... They CAN bend, I've bent, twisted and cracked them before. :) Just thought I ought to correct you before you go and spreed a false truth. No offence to you though.
My first car was a 1981 Chevette and it was the worst car I ever owned. It was like driving a soup tin on wheels, especially in snow or ice, and I had to have a block heater installed if I wanted to go anywhere on a cold Canadian winter morning. It gave me no confidence as my first car ever and I hardly went anywhere in it, even back and forth to work and shops. I was really glad to see the back of that one. Foul colour, too... like tomato soup.
I've had two Chevrolet Cavaliers since then, one that I liked a lot and another that I hated because the body rusted out big-time and I was almost ashamed to be seen in it before I traded it in. I now drive a Mazda and have to say that I don't think I will ever go back to a Chevrolet.