Author Topic: Chevette as a first car?  (Read 9485 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Lampshade

  • Forum Newbie
  • Posts: 5
Chevette as a first car?
« on: May 18, 2011, 01:53:13 »
Hey guys

Basically I saw a Chevette for the first time when I was 8 (a cream 'A' registered 3 door L) and I've wanted one pretty much since. I'm now 21 and learning to drive this summer (would have been earlier but I wanted to leave it until after university) which will obviously lead to me buying a car. My question is, would it be suitable to buy a Chevette as my first car (preferably a blue, silver or white 3 door hatchback with the recessed headlights (yes I'm quite specific ;D))?

I am aware insurance is a big issue with older cars, I was quoted £1200 third party, fire and theft when I was dabbling with quotes when I was 16, but Chevettes seem to have all but disappeared from mainstream insurers now, at least the online quote services anyway :(

Cheers :)

Join the Chevette Owners Group. It's only £20 for twelve months. Benefit from discounts, parts, advice, shows, newsletters and much more!

Offline John Delahaye

  • COG Member
  • Forum Superstar
  • ****
  • Posts: 1781
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2011, 09:48:07 »
A Chevette would make a brilliant first car. They are a low insurance group, easy to maintain and most importantly good fun to drive. Parts are becoming harder to come by so unless you're prepared to get the welder out you should spend some time finding a solid example. Chevettes built before 1979-1980 have the recessed lights. Generally they don't produce as much light as the later version but a HID kit should sort that out.
Insurance wise, because of your age and because of the constantly rising insurance prices you are unlikely to find insurance which is 'cheap' any more. Although I'd recommend joining your nearest Chevette club as they can usually offer you a discount  ;D :cog:

Offline Laird Scooby

  • Forum Power User
  • Posts: 880
  • Losing the plot, minute by minute . . . . . .
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2011, 11:04:56 »
Something else to consider is believe it or not it's often cheaper to insure fully comp instead of TPFT. This is because the insurers view it as you're going to be more careful as you don't want to have to pay a large excess in the event of a claim. As you're now 21, you should (in theory at least) be eligible to insure it on a classic policy. Try http://www.lancasterinsurance.co.uk/ for it.

From the sound of things, you'll want to keep it pretty much standard. However, there's a couple of mods that won't effect your insurance but are well worth doing for reliability and to make it more usable on a daily basis.

First is an electronic ignition kit - http://accuspark.co.uk/ do a nice little kit that fits in place of the original contact breaker/condensor and has been tried and tested by others on here with good results.
Second, you could fit an electric cooling fan. This does away with the original fan that is driven whenever the engine is running. This gives faster warm up times, better economy and possibly a slight increase in performance.
Third a halogen headlight conversion. This would basically be a case of replacing the bulbs with the halogen variety designed to fit in the older receptacle for non-halogen bulbs. It would be advisable to install a relay to switch the power for them - there's plenty of advice on here to explain how to do it.
Once you've done all that it might pay to fit an uprated alternator as well. It should be easy to find a modern alternator to fit the mounts and give a much higher output, capable of covering not only the halogen upgrade but also the power for the electric cooling fan and the monster stereo you might fit! It will also mean on a cold, wet day when you've been using the heater, heated rear window, lights etc, the battery gets a decent charge so the car will still start the next day!

To most eyes, these mods won't be visible, except perhaps the cooling fan! So it will still look pretty much standard but you'll have the peace of mind of reliability etc. This will enforce your choice of a Chevette being a fantastic first car!

Cheers,
Dave

Offline Jordan

  • Forum Superstar
  • Posts: 1685
  • If In Doubt Flat Out! Sideways Or No Ways!
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2011, 16:34:00 »
Hi, I myself am 19 and have a chevette as my first car, purchased when i was 16. I have loved every minute of it...much better than modern eurobox crap  :cog:

Regarding insurance...ring up footman james...they do a young driver classic policy...my 3 door hatch os slightly modified (alloy wheels, exhaust, steering wheel, cd player, and a K&N air filter) I was quoted £860...no other insurance company got close, the nearest to that I got was £1700...speaks for itself really.

here's a cheeky picture of my girl


Offline parko

  • COG Member
  • Forum Superstar
  • ****
  • Posts: 1198
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2011, 17:41:23 »
my mate was 18 when he passed his test last year and it cost him £2400 to insure a 1.3 fieasta so the chevette will be a cheaper option anyway

Offline Lampshade

  • Forum Newbie
  • Posts: 5
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2011, 18:52:23 »
Thanks for the replies guys! :D

They seem to have much more character than the usual Fiesta/Clio/Corsa first car clichés. In terms of modifications, apart from the reliability factor, I'm a sucker for originality so most things would remain unchanged, including the stereo if it still worked.

Jordan - nice example there, not my first choice of colour but a nice one nonetheless :)

Another thing that crossed my mind when thinking about older cars, LRP petrol isn't available anymore, what does everyone do? Lead additive fluid?

Offline rdb1

  • Forum Expert
  • Posts: 379
  • You Can't Beat the Throb of a 1256
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2011, 20:13:59 »
Hi welcome aboard, my first car was a chevette :cog: mind you that was in 1981 O0 it was only 3 years old then  ;D, you have two options, first as you have said use a fuel additive, which I think most of us do, the other is to have your cylinder head modified, only really an economical option if you intend to do high miles of if yon have to have the head off  :'( to replace a blown head gasket or similar, there is a third option if you do some investigation, some petrol stations still have lead replacement petrol, but they are few & far between, I believe there is a web site that tells you where they are, try goggling it :juggle:

Offline KGW

  • Forum Expert
  • Posts: 286
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2011, 22:32:02 »
I just use unleaded, whats the worst that could happen?  :o

If the valves burn out I`ll just get the head done.

Get yourself a Chevette, don`t worry! My first car was a Chevette, in `86!  ;D

Great little cars, easy to fix, made of metal, not plastic, cheaper on insurance!

Offline Laird Scooby

  • Forum Power User
  • Posts: 880
  • Losing the plot, minute by minute . . . . . .
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2011, 00:11:17 »
Nearly forgot Lampshade - welcome!

As for a Chevette having a stereo - i don't think they were ever fitted with a stereo!! Pretty sure the best they had was a Philips 391 LW/MW (no FM!!!) mono radio!! Hence the speaker grille between the 2 air vents in the centre above the radio hole!

Nice to know you are going to keep it as original as possible though. What you could do if you do want a stereo that will look "factory" while giving you FM and stereo sound is find an early Mk2 (X, Y, A, or B reg 1981-85) Cavalier GLS in a breakers yard and deprive it of it's Philips 760 (?) stereo radio cassette unit. I'm pretty sure 760 is the model number (it's a long time since i had one!) and IIRC it came with 6 presets, 4 of which were FM with 1 each on MW and LW. The auto-reverse cassette deck had a music search system on it whereby it would find the beginning or end of a track by the silent part of the tape. This was however quite punishing to cassette tape and had a habit of snapping them after finding the same track several times! By gaining the FM function, you could then get an MP3 player and an FM modulator/transmitter and simply tune your radio to the modulator for MP3 music. Alternatively, you could use a cassette adaptor that plugs into the headphone socket of the MP3 and then slots into the tape deck but you lose a lot of sound quality. It's ok for using as a handsfree system for your mobile though using the lead the phone manufacturer supplied as it contains a microphone which you just position in the right place for handsfree. Yes it does work - i've got that set up in my Rover!

I'm still searching for my Chevette but i've had 3 already so it's not quite so urgent as yours will be when you pass your test! Something to remember when you do - you will have had lessons and taken your test in a "modern" with things like ABS, PAS etc. Although the brakes in a Chevette are pretty good and the steering fairly light, there will be a difference so be wary of it when you have your first drive. One other little thing, most moderns are front wheel drive - Chevettes are rear wheel drive so they do handle slightly differently but to be fair, you'd have to be driving pretty hard to notice the difference as the Chevette is a very good car for handling/roadholding.

Re the unleaded thing - you pays your money and takes your choice really. As has already been said, you can use an additive or get the head done. If you get the head done, you could get it gas-flowed at the same time which will give a nice boost in power for not much extra cost and could improve economy as long as you don't use the extra power! It's one of those unseen improvements that make for a better car.

Offline Mad Max A.K.A. Mal

  • Committee Member
  • Just Call Me Blydenstein
  • ****
  • Posts: 11899
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2011, 21:07:17 »
I'd just use a lead additive, I've not heard of anyone having issues and I know some people have not used any additive and still not had a problem, it will be far cheaper than getting the head done, as for gas flowing it - your insurer would probably decline a first car with engine mods and hence I wouldn't bother.

Keeping it original is to be applauded, but its also got to be practical, Any normal DIN sized stereo will fit, and hence I'd be off to Halfords and spend £80 on a radio/CD with aux plug so you can play your Ipod etc, you can always hang onto the original and refit it if you sell it. The writing is on the wall for standard car stereos anyway, given that from late 2012 all new vehicles have to be fitted with a DAB radio, so they'll probably go the same way as TV and switch off the analogue systems which means your old one won't work anyway!
It's better to burn out than to fade away . . .

Offline Laird Scooby

  • Forum Power User
  • Posts: 880
  • Losing the plot, minute by minute . . . . . .
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2011, 21:49:33 »
I didn't know about the DAB thing Mal. Are/will there be boxes similar to freeview boxes that can be purchased so existing radios can be "converted" to DAB or don't you know?

Yes, i do have a good reason for asking - i still have the original factory fit stereo system in my Rover, albeit with replacement speakers. It's a radio/cassette head unit with a boot mounted 6 disc CD changer. As such, i don't want to change the head unit as i will lose the CD changer control. While i agree about the practicality aspect for Lampshades car the fact is it probably doesn't have a stereo that was factory fitted but as mine does and it's a high-end system, i'd have to pay a lot of money to get something that still wouldn't do what this one does!

Offline Mad Max A.K.A. Mal

  • Committee Member
  • Just Call Me Blydenstein
  • ****
  • Posts: 11899
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2011, 21:54:09 »
Apparently the "target date" for switching off analogue radio is 2020 so your ok for a good while yet  ;)
It's better to burn out than to fade away . . .

Offline MDA Lamb

  • Forum Expert
  • Posts: 253
  • Late onset mid-life crisis!
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2011, 22:12:17 »
Word in the world of radio is that FM might yet outlast DAB, DAB hasn't the coverage of similar powered analogue transmitters meaning especially in areas like ours more transmitters are needed (lots more money). Also, there hasn't been the take up by broadcasters that was expected and the DAB franchisee's are all making huge losses which are being subsidised by the taxpayer. There is also a new standard DAB+ which is being touted but has yet to be taken up anywhere in Europe other than by the various government sponsored stations, even so there are no transmitters in use or even ordered yet...

MDA

Offline John Delahaye

  • COG Member
  • Forum Superstar
  • ****
  • Posts: 1781
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2011, 22:55:30 »
I can't see DAB ever getting a foot hold once coverage of mobile streaming gets better. I can already listen to the radio intermittently whilst driving with an iphone plugged in to my head unit and it only takes 2 minutes to pop a few podcasts on a USB memory stick which plugs straight in the front.

Offline Laird Scooby

  • Forum Power User
  • Posts: 880
  • Losing the plot, minute by minute . . . . . .
Re: Chevette as a first car?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2011, 23:22:31 »
Thanks for those answers John, Dave and Mal - this also answers my own question :

http://bit.ly/lGyMjv

Reading between the lines of what you've all said, it would seem there's very poor coverage and unlikely to get any better by 2020 so come 2012 there will probably be a lot of second hand, barely used factory fit car stereos on the market!

My main reason for listening to the radio while driving is for the traffic reports and as such i tend to tune it to local radio where ever i happen to be. I also feel that independent local radio gives better traffic reports for the area than the corresponding BBC services - perhaps it's just me that thinks that but each to their own. The gadget above apparently links an MP3/iPod/WMA player and your mobile via Bluetooth to your car stereo via an FM modulator as well as being a DAB receiver in it's own right. As there is a fair bit of time before analogue transmission becomes extinct, there's plenty of time for other cheaper products to appear on the market and possibly even new formats to appear for digital audio, transmission etc etc etc.

Go back 10 years and while some of us had heard of MP3 not all of us had any knowledge of what it was and MP3 players were F-expensive. Now you can pick them up under a tenner (ebuyer.com). I'll sit tight and see what happens i think and in the meantime, i'll quite happily plod on with good old FM!!!
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 23:29:13 by John Delahaye »

Join the Chevette Owners Group. It's only £20 for twelve months. Benefit from discounts, parts, advice, shows, newsletters and much more!
 

COG shoutbox

Refresh History
  • Bill: fixed gopefully
    Aug 11, 2017, 11:09:37
  • John PH: What's happened to my menership
    Aug 21, 2017, 12:26:37
  • John PH: I'm not a member again. What's happened?
    Aug 21, 2017, 12:26:53
  • Mad Max A.K.A. Mal: @bill can you check johns membership status?
    Aug 21, 2017, 18:09:31
  • Bill: will check
    Aug 22, 2017, 18:36:25
  • Bill: IT says John PH member here
    Aug 22, 2017, 18:42:55
  • Bill: not sure what happened?
    Aug 22, 2017, 18:44:25
  • John PH: Yeah I paid for another membership again
    Aug 23, 2017, 12:26:54
  • Trudgechr: How do i add to the register
    Sep 02, 2017, 16:20:58
  • Bill: you can put it in here > [link]  , then a mod will move it to the right category eventually :)
    Sep 17, 2017, 10:34:41
  • Tomo195: Hi all.
    Oct 09, 2017, 20:31:33
  • Tomo195: does anybody know how I can post pics without using photobucket
    Oct 09, 2017, 20:39:11
  • Bill: just use the insert image button if the files are local to you
    Oct 12, 2017, 00:03:40
  • Bill: oops i meant the attachments and other options red bit at the bottom of a new post.
    Oct 12, 2017, 00:04:36
  • Barry Arthur: Needing help we v5 for my chevette
    Nov 14, 2017, 20:47:50
  • parko: what fo you need barry
    Nov 15, 2017, 21:38:28
  • parko: do
    Nov 15, 2017, 21:38:35
  • Barry Arthur: I don't have a up to date v5.according to DVLA I need a pic of vin plate and vin number stamped in to shell of vehicle.i can't find stamped on number.does anyone know where it is
    Nov 15, 2017, 22:26:54
  • parko: i cpuld be wrong but is it under the carpet between the drivers seat and sill
    Nov 16, 2017, 19:29:21
  • hsrwannabe: On the dashboard where the tax disc  used to go if its a pre 79 car
    Nov 17, 2017, 00:03:59