Monday, February 16, 2015

4k: Throwback Hatchback: 1976 Chevrolet Chevette, 350 swap

Chevy's Chevette was a lightweight pipsqueak with two-digit horsepower and a freightliner's worth of negative connotations. It was embraced by the drag strip crowd, who found that it only took a small-block V8 to redeem an otherwise disposable economy trinket. Originally listed in January, this thing keeps getting closer to fiscal sensibility. Find this 1976 Chevrolet Chevette with a Chevy 350 for sale here on eBay, located San Juan Capistrano, CA currently bidding for $3,500 reserve-not-met ($5,000 buy-it-now) with three days to go. 

Normally, seeing a 350 swap these days evokes feelings of that one friend who still answers his phone with "Whaassaaapp." It's been done, re-done, and overdone. However, this one earns exemption from our hipster-esque free-thinking tirade with its special history: Hot Rod Magazine fame, circa 1982. The article highlighted a Buick V6/4-speed auto swap built by Hooker Headers, with the 350 taking its place sometime later. It's mated to a TH350 automatic transmission to get you down the drag strip with as little thinking as possible.

The iron lump makes 300 horsepower. Chevy fitted them to 100 million cars between 1955 and 2011. Some cultures hold "First 350" parties, which are similar to a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or First Communion but with more singing.

The seller lets the pictures do the talking as to the car's condition, although more information on the build can be found at A wooden dowel rod holds up the rear hatch, there are holes in the door panels (conveniently sized for a dowel rod) and the dash mat could be hiding anything. Possibly more dowel rods. The paint has just the right amount of age (high-gloss candy paint would be bad form) for a throwback special like this. 

It hasn't been registered since 1992. Someone better find a SMOG loophole, or get it out of California. But please keep it firmly in the '80s, please.

See another classic build that's survived a few decades? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. I like it in an outrageous way, like wearing disco clothes or voting for Sarah Palin. But it'll take a lot more than a big motor to turn a turd like a Chevette into a decent car. The best thing that I can say about the Chevette is that there are other 1970s cars that I hate even more.


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