Monday, February 10, 2014

The Other, Other Vette.

Say 'Vette' to a car fan and there is no doubt that he will think of the Chevrolet Corvette, the legendary and quintessential American sports car. The 'Vette first appeared in 1953, and 61 years and 7 generations later is still going strong. Even non-car fans can probably identify the Corvette, as it has always had a look all its own. An all-new updated model for 2014 has just been introduced, and will certainly keep the Corvette name a popular one.
The other 'Vette, for me, is another Chevrolet, but this time a slightly less exciting one, the Chevette. Produced from 1976 until 1987, it was Chevrolet's entry-level subcompact during that time. It had the peculiarity of being rear-wheel drive in an era when almost all other small cars switched to front-wheel drive. This 'Vette was a big success for Chevrolet, especially at first, but was never much more than a basic, utilitarian means of transport.
Enter the third 'Vette, another Chevette, but this time the Vauxhall version from the UK. While I knew that a Vauxhall Chevette had existed, I always assumed that it was identical to the North American hatchback version. It turn out this is not the case. A friend who recently moved to the UK and knows that I am a fan of oddball cars sent me a few pictures the other day of a Vauxhall 'Vette sedan.
What a looker! I especially like the 'flush-mounted' headlights and smooth front end, as opposed to the traditional sealed-beam headlights and slatted grille of the American Chevette. The sedan (or saloon) body-style is also a tad more upscale than the 'hunchback' styling of the 3 and 5 door Chevrolet version.

While I wouldn't say no if someone offered me a Corvette, and I would also be happy enough with a goofy little Chevrolet Chevette, I think that my new favourite 'Vette is the one with the Vauxhall label.

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