Driving The Diesel Chevette

Diesel Chevette with hood open

There is no other experience quite like driving the Diesel Chevette. I got the rare experience to drive a 1981 four door model with automatic transmission. It was blue in color and although well worn, was in what I saw as good shape for its age. Despite being just a silly car, driving it is right up there on the list of the coolest things I have ever done. It even inspired me to write some stories.

How'd this get started? I collect and use IBM Personal System/2 computers as a hobby and to show people the true power and "futuristic" engineering seen in these systems. This is a pretty common hobby shared by many people around the world.

One person who has participated in the PS/2 newsgroup and community is Mr. Robert Watts. Mr. Watts also has another interest--The Diesel Chevette automobile. I owe him some fair bit of thanks for making me aware that these cars existed and getting me interested in having one.

I've always been very proud of the fact that I have a 1984 GMC Sierra with a 6.2L Diesel engine. Unfortunately rust is killing that poor old truck faster than I can get ready to fix it. For now it's parked, but I do start it every now and then just to keep things from getting "taken over" by nature and her creatures. Seeing the Diesel Chevette, however, got me to thinking that perhaps I could have my cake and eat it too--with a Diesel engine in a compact car that wouldn't be hard to store like my truck is. Plus it would make a great daily driver around town, which is where I do most of my driving anyway.

In an e-mail exchange with Mr. Watts I became aware of a Diesel Chevette hiding out in northern Illinois. While it was quite a trip to make, I went to see the car and actually got to test drive it!!!

The owner of the car had a lot of difficulty getting it started, but once that was done I got to drive around the parking lot. Even with no power brakes the car drove and handled very well. The power steering was really good and the car seemed to handle quite well. For such a compact car I was also quite comfortable, which seems to be quite a rarity whenever I am in most compact cars. (Getting in the back seat was another story, but that's a non issue with just one person in the car, which is how I spend 99% of my driving time anyway...)

I will say that it is no race car...and you wouldn't be smart to race pedestrians at the next light as they might win. :-) But it is very fuel efficient and can certainly get you from point A to B.

Now all I can say is that I've got to have one of those cars. I think that driving the one I got to drive was one of the coolest things I have ever done what with that mighy little Diesel rattling away under the hood and all... I gave some serious thought to actually buying the car I drove, but the guy wanted more than I could justify spending even with all the maintainence that had been done on it. It was hard to walk away. It really was. I do have to wonder where that car is now. I really hope it found a good home...

I still really want to find one. If you're in Illinois and have one that runs, I'd really like to hear from you!
There was a time when I had pictures of all types for you to look at. I haven't put them back up yet...

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