You Won't Believe How Much Shittier Compact Cars Were 40 Years Ago

This is a 1976 Chevrolet Chevette. It was a sales success for General Motors, which is almost shocking today because it is unbelievable how bad it was.

Regular Car Reviews points out that 40 years on in 2016, it’s easy to see the Chevette with rose-tinted glasses. After all, the car is light, simple, and rear-wheel drive. That’s unicorn status nowadays.

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But RCR also points out just how remarkably bad this car is, floppy and cracking and wheezing down the road. The thing has 23 tear your hair out horsepower. That is beyond belief.

What’s incredible is that this horrible, terrible, hateful car was not a failure! It was a sales success! The Chevette did its job and, judged by the standards of its time, the Chevette did it just fine.

It’s a testament to how far global car competition and regulation have advanced the standards of ordinary compact cars. A Honda Fit is a car; a Chevette is a relic.


Contact the author at raphael@jalopnik.com.

DISCUSSION

buckfiddious
buckfiddious

You’re missing the most important point: Yes, Compacts were shitty 40 years ago. But ALL CARS were shitty 40 years ago. ALL OF THEM.

“But, but, what about the (insert desirable old car here)? It was amazing and beautiful and better in every way than new cars!”

Nope. It was shitty.

That 40 year old Porsche 911? Shitty. That 40 year old Bronco? Shitty. That 40 year old Mercedes, BMW, Ferrari, Jeep, Whatever? Shitty.

Ask yourself, when was the last time your car wouldn’t start because it was cold? When was the last time you flooded your engine while driving? When was the last time you overheated? When was the last time you had to scrape frost off the INSIDE of your windows because your defrosters just do not work? When was the last time you saw a car rust through? When was the last time you finished a long drive with a headache from the noise and leaky exhaust system? When was the last time your window crank fell off? Seat wore through? When was the last time tapping the brakes sent your car into an uncontrollable spin?

If you live anywhere at all where there is weather, all old cars are shitty. They are unreliable now, they were unreliable when they were new. We like to think that the old BMWs were amazing, and at the time, they were. Because EVERYTHING SUCKED. That old BMW is just great in comparison to other cars from the 70s. Today it’d get it’s doors blown off by a honda civic. The Civic would be roomier, less expensive, Quieter, more comfortable, featuring climate control and reliability the likes of which god himself could only have dreamed about 40 years ago.

Cars today are only boring and dull in comparison with other cars today, because we have such an amazing selection of incredible cars. You take the hated to ridiculous levels, boring, appliance-grade Toyota Camry of today back in time 40 years and people would literally shit their pants at it’s awesomeness. It’s an iPhone compared to a payphone. It’s comfort and quietness would be awe-inspiring. It’s handling? As good as most sports cars. It’s power? 0-60 in under 7 seconds was pretty much the realm of supercars 40 years ago. THIS IS A FAMILY SEDAN. And not even a good one.