There are few things more fun than a crappy, $200 Chevy Chevette.

The story of the beige, turbocharged Chevette that brought joy to my high school auto tech class.

25w ago

I was going through some old pictures on my phone and found this, the Chevy Chevette that became a sort of group project car for my whole high school auto tech class.

One of the students saw the thing advertised for $100, and the owner said that if nobody bought it that day he would scrap it. So that student offered the guy $200 for it, because logic. The bill of sale was written on a piece of notebook paper. It had no taillights. Unsurprisingly, the DMV took one look at it and said "nope," denying them permission to register it. It was janky in every way. But it ran, and it ruled.

I remember among the first mods that were done to it were removing the passenger seat and welding a big metal tube to the parking brake. You know, for handbrake turns. And yes, many, many handbrake turns were achieved in the parking lot outside the shop in this crappy Chevette.

Then of course came the decorating. The sharpies came out, and various things were scribbled on it, everything from cartoon characters, social media accounts, random swear words, "send nudes," penises, everything. And the headlights were taped, because rally car. A trip to the junkyard for parts brought back a great many badges, so they could rebadge it as a BMW. And a Honda. And a Saturn... and a Ford... and so on.

Its final, most glorious form was achieved via a junkyard turbocharger plucked from a Ford Focus, IIRC. The turbocharger setup featured the finest craftsmanship that a couple years of fiddling with welders from time to time could produce. Plus some rubber tubes and duct tape for good measure. Surprisingly, this janky mess actually worked, and made the Chevette noticeably more powerful! Although they never actually set up a proper cooling system for that turbo, so they could only run the thing for a couple minutes at a time.

By this point, the $200 Chevette had become somewhat infamous. The marching band practiced in the field across from the auto shop at the same time we were in class, and apparently the band kids found the random antics and hooning of the Chevette both hilarious and very distracting. They loved us, and the band teachers hated us. Good times 🙂 Eventually, they moved marching band practice to a different location, 100% because of the Chevette. If that's not an accomplishment to be proud of, I don't know what is.

Sadly, the Chevette finally met its demise when one session of hooning caused the engine to break free of its motor mounts, lurching to the side and slicing the battery open with its fan. With that, it was decided that the Chevette was officially too broken to be worth fixing anymore, and it was sold for scrap after all. However, its hood still remains in that auto shop, serving as a reminder that you don't need to be rich to have stupid amounts of fun with cars (well, until the teacher decides to get rid of it, anyway). All you need is a bit of mechanical intuition, a few hundred bucks for a cheap but running crapcan, and a sense of humor.

RIP, Chevette. At least you got to spend your final moments bringing people joy. A noble ending for a very crappy car 🙂

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Comments (7)

  • At my school, the current project here is a coyote swapped Studebaker 2R

      5 months ago
    • That sounds awesome! You should share it here.

        5 months ago
  • I finally get to see what it looked like! You've been hyping this up for longer than we've been on DT! It's every bit as glorious as I imagined! That remote mount turbo tho

      5 months ago
    • And I forgot to mention they straight-piped it as well. The thing was LOUD. I can only imagine what it was like for the band kids to be trying to pay attention to their teachers while in the background this crappy, noisy beige turbo Chevette is...

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        5 months ago
  • that is awesome

      5 months ago
  • Get thee to a Lemons Race, good sir.

    But also, good times! It appears as though you're pressurizing air through a tube held on by duct tape. Is that really what's going on in that photo?

      5 months ago
    • Yep, that is exactly what is going on here. A rubber tube duct taped to the air filter housing. Jankiest turbo setup I've ever seen, but hey, it worked. The car was noticeably faster afterwards.

      Also, they were originally planning on...

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        5 months ago