5 Short-Lived Chevrolet Cars (And 5 That Will Last Forever)
As an automobile manufacturer, Chevrolet has a long and varied history. Once America’s darling that made the best-selling cars and trucks, Chevrolet ran into financial difficulties in the late 1970s, primarily due to the oil embargo. Of course, all Detroit Threes were in trouble at the time, and the GM-owned Chevy was no different.
That’s not to say Chevrolet isn’t turning a profit, but it might have to work harder to reach its ’60s glory days. between the two. Here are five Chevy cars you couldn’t destroy with a missile and five that almost brought Chevy to its knees…
ten Gone with the Wind: Chevrolet Vega
Named after Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra, the Chevy Vega shone brightly when it was introduced in 1971. It seemed like a blessing and also received the car award from the year – until all hell broke loose. It was prone to overheating, rusting, and burning oil like no other.
The engine seemed to have a million problems, and it was more common to see a Vega smoking under the hood than not. It is said that after a while most junkyards would flat out refuse to take a Vega because they already had a stock that they needed to destroy. The only silver lining being that they stopped production in 1977 as the Vega was only six years old.
9 Standing tall and proud: Chevrolet Chevelle SS396
The Chevrolet Chevelle was introduced in 1964 and remained a popular and powerful nameplate until the end of its run in 1977. It was then replaced by the smaller but smarter Malibu. To combat the growing popularity of muscle car competitors, Chevelle sported a sleeker design in ’66 and ’67.
Engine options were upgraded to a 5.3-liter or 4.6-liter V8, each producing 310 and 220 horsepower. The 1966 SS396 model ruled the roost, with a 6.5-liter V8 good for 375 horsepower. It took the Chevelle from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, despite that heavy body. Thus, the Chevelle nameplate remains a Chevy fan favorite.
8 Gone with the Wind: Chevrolet Corvair
Much like its rear-engined competitors, the Ford Pinto and Volkswagen Beetle, the rear-engined Corvair also tried to gain market share. And sales looked good with over 220,000 copies sold in 1965 alone. Then came Ralph Nader’s book, “Unsafe at any Speed”, which belittled the car’s swing axle and called it prone to rollovers and to collisions. By 1965, sales had fallen to 109,000.
In 1968, only 15,000 of these cars were made. Later, the Corvair was said to be no more dangerous than any other rear-engined swing-axle car, just like the Beetle itself. However, the damage was long overdue and the Corvairs went off the market in 1969.
seven Standing tall and proud: Chevrolet Camaro
Other than a few misfires like the Iron Duke Camaro with literally no more power than a touring car, the Camaro has stood the test of time. Initial production ran from 1966 to 2002 for four generations. Then launched as a concept car, the Camaro rose like a phoenix in 2009 and became the fifth generation.
Now in its sixth generation, the Camaro may not be a bestseller, but it has its loyal following. One of the larger Camaros would be the 2010 Camaro ZL1, equipped with the 6.2-liter Corvette V8 engine, which gave it 580 horsepower. The 2020 Camaro is no less tough, and the market for it seems stable as a rock.
6 Gone with the Wind: Chevrolet Chevette
In 1977, the capricious Vega was released. To replace it, Chevrolet called on the Chevette. Only they shouldn’t have. And we don’t oppose it. The Chevette was loaded with old tech and was rear-wheel drive at a time when Japan was flooding the United States with fun front-wheel drives.
So the Chevette was cheap, and in the days of the 70s when oil and emissions were tough, it gave people an economical option. In addition, there were those who boasted of having a “Vette”. Unfortunately, at 52 horsepower, this Vette was no match for the original and somehow worked through 1987 when Chevrolet finally decided to drop it from the list.
5 Standing tall and proud: the Corvette
The Vette, and we mean the Corvette, still stands tall and proud, spanning over 60 years and seven design generations. Called the Vette, and sometimes also the Stingray – it’s an American’s ultimate dream sports and muscle car. The engine has moved from front to mid lately, and displacement sizes continue to go up and down depending on horsepower, emissions and power need.
Named so because a Corvette means a small battleship, it is a nimble car. Its unofficial output reaches 560 horsepower and everyone seems to have their favorite model anyway – but they make them like tanks.
4 Gone with the Wind: Chevrolet Uplander
Despite the rather cheery nameplate that attempts to convey an all-terrain capability of this vehicle, the Uplander mostly made its buyers feel depressed. Introduced in 2005, the Uplander got a bad start in 2009 – but it’s been a long four years. A stretched minivan at a time when Honda and Nissan minivans were beginning to dominate the market, the Uplander found few takers during its short lifespan.
It had replaced the Venture and the Astro, but could not compete due to its ugly appearance, weak, plasticky interiors, and those underpowered SUV-like dimensions. The engine vibrated and the steering was also too loose for comfort. The Uplander was not built to last.
3 Standing tall and proud: Chevrolet Bolt
Compared to the other models on the list, the Chevy Bolt is a baby – since it was only introduced in 2017. But this cool electric vehicle makes Chevy big money, with its 230-mile range on a single full charge, or 90 miles on a 30 minute quick charge. Although it’s a small car and not in Tesla’s league of speed or luxury, the Bolt makes practical sense as an electric vehicle.
It’s small and fun to drive, is affordable enough for anyone who wants a good ride around the environment, and makes sense for traffic-congested towns that also have a parking deficit. In October 2017, it also surpassed sales of Tesla electric vehicles, although sales have fallen slightly since then. That said; it’s the car of the moment and destined to last.
2 Gone with the Wind: Chevrolet Citation
One of the most recalled Chevy cars of all time, the 1980 Chevrolet Citation was recalled nine times in its first year. Despite poor fuel lines, faulty brakes, and engine problems, the Citation managed to sell well initially. But that was before people realized how unreliable and poorly made the car was.
Many called it an unbalanced wooden crate on wheels, and a sudden application of the brakes could and did lock the rear wheels – causing the car to come to a screeching halt and crash. Of over 810,000 models sold in 1980, sales dipped to just 62,000 in 1985 – wisely Chevrolet retired the Citation lest it tarnish the Chevy name.
1 Standing tall and proud: Chevrolet Silverado
Introduced in 1999, the Chevrolet Silverado may have slipped from its second best-selling truck to number three, but it’s still hanging there. While the top spot has remained firmly with Ford’s F-series since 1977, RAM dethroned the Silverado from second place.
That said, the Silverado is a tough truck, although the 2015 model suffered suspension, body integrity and reliability issues. With the all-new 2020 models, Chevy will do its best to regain its No. 2 position and assure its buyers that the Silverado is as reliable as it gets, with nearly 12 million already on the road.
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