10 Chevrolet Cars Time Forgot About
10 Forgotten ChevysWithout further ado, here are what some are calling the 10 worst Chevy cars of all time; though, we beg to differ!
#10 1923 Chevrolet Series-C "Copper-Cooled"
The “Copper Cooled” almost cooled sales for Chevrolet…permanently. (DAVID CONWILL VIA HEMMINGS.COM)
This thing almost took Chevrolet down before the brand got going.
The brainchild of Charles F. Kettering, the 1923 Chevrolet Series-C Copper Cooled vehicle was supposed to be an engineering marvel.
By air-cooling the engine, the Copper Cooled was touted as a more affordable, lighter, and all-around better automobile. Kettering and his executive pals were so sure it would work that they decided to replace the mainstream Chevrolet 490 with this most new of new cars.
#9 1960 - 1964 Chevrolet Corvair
Before the 1965 Corvair, there was Ralph Nader’s subject of concern, the 1960 – 1964 model. (CHEVROLET)
Let’s face it, competition is hard. You get dominion over a vast land of car buyers for, say, almost 50 years, dictating what they’ll drive and the experience they’ll have, only to have some upstart import car come in and ruin it all.
It’s not fair.
And when this happened in the late ‘50s with VW’s Beetle, Chevrolet did the reasonable thing: They ignored it. But when the Beetle started gaining market share, well, that was a different story! Oh no!
Finally, Chevrolet got to work and built the Corvair. The 1960 Corvair. And for four long years, they sold the loud, hard-to-drive and dangerous vehicle as a competitor – not really getting it right until 1965.
#8 1971 - 1977 Chevrolet Vega
Cost-cutting and too-fast development doomed the Vega. (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
I have a small confession to make. I know the Vega is routinely derided as the worst-ever vehicle ever produced by Chevrolet, but I kind of like the way it looks. I think, in my heart of hearts, that the Vega is actually a little sexy.
Some people actually agree with me. Heck, even Motor Trend named it the 1971 “Car of the Year,” and around 2 million examples of the Vega were sold between 1971 and 1977.
Regardless, most people are rightly fixated on the Vega they remember driving: a rust bucket that shook and rattled on down the road, burned oil like lanterns, and overheated on a regular basis.
#7 1975, 1979 & 1980 Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevrolet Chevette was the small car that could…not. (CREATIVE COMMONS)
Corvettes aren’t supposed to be on this list. But alas, they are. In fact, there are three so honored vehicles crammed into a span of six glorious years: 1975, 1979, and the 1980 Corvette 305 California.
These three represent the sad and sorry world of Corvettes and Cats – as in catalytic converters. The resulting decrease in power from the 5.7-liter V8 engine just sapped the life out of the cars, making it a sorry story of whimsy for past performance glories. Case in point: The 1979 model, which is the best-selling Corvette of all time, boasted an earth-shaking 185 hp.
It’s not like customers were surprised. The 1975 model burned up the asphalt with a crazy 165 hp! Chevrolet brought the lack of power into the eighties, as well, with the 1980 Corvette 305 California supplying no more than 180 hp worth of metal and rubber-burning grunt. Many cried.
#6 1975, 1979 & 1980 Chevrolet Chevette
A V8 engine that makes 165 hp? In a Corvette? That’s terrible! (CHEVROLET)
Let’s just say the Chevette was affordable, shall we?
Otherwise, we’d need to talk about how it not only replaced the outgoing Vega, it may have been worse than the Vega. Or how it was built on old technology, was never really updated, and just got churned out on the assembly line for people looking to buy a cheap car.
It was rear drive when buyers wanted front drive (like the imports), and was as slow as a fat snail. Starting horsepower was 52, and the power plant never got beyond 74 hp. That’s riding lawnmower territory, for goodness sake.
#5 1980 - 1985 Chevrolet Citation
The reign of the X-car never got started. (CHEVROLET)
Is it just me, or were the 1980s a bad decade for domestic cars?
Granted, the 1979 energy crisis had something to do with the development of many a horrible car, but it seems domestic automakers like Chevrolet suffered quite a bit. Take the Citation. Sure, they sold a bunch (it was America’s best-selling car in 1980) and Motor Trend named it the 1980 “Car of the Year.”
But by 1983, car buyers had figured out that the Citation was only slightly better than a large wooden box on wheels. All the GM front-drive X-cars, as they were known, suffered from quality and reliability issues, like the Buick Skylark and Pontiac Phoenix. But the Citation was the symbol for what was supposed to be a contemporary and competitive domestic small car.
#4 1982 - 1985 Chevrolet Camaro "Iron Duke"
Camaros equipped with an “Iron Duke” 4-cylinder engine made all of 90 hp. (GM/CONTACT)
Seriously, “Iron Duke” doesn’t sound all that bad, right? It conveys strength and purpose, as if to claim a birthright by power. Howdy there. This here gun is called Iron Duke. It keeps this town safe from ruffians like imported cars.
Not really. As applied to the appealing 1982 Camaro, Iron Duke has more to do with a big and crusty dutch oven, except this one didn’t cook a thing. The Camaro’s standard 4-cylinder base engine was called the Iron Duke, and this ‘sports’ coupe transported drivers and passengers along U.S. highways with a positively pedestrian 90 hp.
That made this Camaro all show and absolutely no go, to the point where you’d just be better off parking it. If nothing else, it was nice to look at, thanks to a redesign for the 1982 model year.
#3 1982 - 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier
The best-selling “mobile” appliance was the Chevy Cavalier. (GENERAL MOTORS/CONTACT)
There was no risk to the Cavalier. None. It sold exceedingly well over many years, was affordable to build, and affordable to buy. The wheels went ‘round. The seats were standard, and you didn’t have to pedal it. Win! Heck, I owned one, and my criteria for purchase was simple: it was cheap, the engine worked, and I didn’t have to sit on a milk crate.
Of course, it wasn’t a very safe vehicle, and ultimately the parts bin was emptied. But still, for a “worst car” the Cavalier had one heck of a great run.
#2 1992 Geo Metro
Sure, it’s no Mazda Miata… (CARS.COM)
Some people love the Geo Metro, just as they do many of the small cars from the era of Swifts and Sprints. In fact, in the late 2000s, there was a blip of strong interest in the econoboxes, the thought being that they still provide the best fuel economy without the higher prices.
Of course, such logic leaves out small details like safety, which is the main reason why the Geo Metro Convertible is on this list. If the idea of a convertible golf cart (55 hp! 3-cylinder!) that’s legal to drive on the highway doesn’t make you cringe at the thought of a crash, you must be a NASCAR driver.
#1 1992 Chevrolet Uplander
It’s a minivan! It’s an SUV! It’s neither! (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
The best way to honor the Uplander is to stare at it for a few seconds. Like the sun, it’s shape will leave a lasting imprint, along with a vague feeling of anxiety and nausea. Inside and out, there was nothing “up” about it, except for the uppity suspicion that people might be laughing at you and your children as you drive down the street.
Call it by any name you’d like: the Saturn Relay, the Buick Terraza, or the Pontiac Montana. No matter what badge you slapped on the over-extended snout, it’s still bad, still badly done badge engineering, and still a black eye for Chevrolet (and the rest of GM). The seats didn’t fold down. The quality was terrible. And most of all, the Uplander was not close to competing with the import minivans of the day.
This article was first discovered on NY Daily News.