T-Car Platform (Chevette, Kadett C).Bucik-Opel KadettThe Kadett C reached the United States as the Buick–Opel. In reality, however, this was an Isuzu Gemini; an updated version of this car was marketed in the USA as the Isuzu I-Mark in the early 1980sIsuzu GeminiThe first Gemini was the Bellett Gemini, first seen in November 1974. It was based on the third-generation Opel Kadett C on the General Motors T-car platform and came in four-door saloon and two-door coupe body styles. The chassis code was PF50, although the later 1.8-litre versions were called PF60 and the diesels PFD60.Holden GeminiThe Holden Gemini is a compact car which was produced by Holden and sold in Australasia from 1975 to 1986. It was derived from the Japanese Isuzu Gemini, one of the many models based on the GM T-car platform. TX 1975-77, TC 1977-78, TD 1978-79, TE 1979-82, TF 1982-1983, TG 1983-1985.Sahaen Gemini and BirdThe GM T car was launched in 1977 as the Saehan Gemini and was based on the 1976 PF50 Isuzu Gemini, in export markets it was known as the Saehan Bird. It was available only as a 4 door saloon and was initially fitted with an expensive imported 1492cc engine giving 72bhp @ 5,400rpm which gave a top speed of 99mph. It was available as a manual or automatic. In 1979 a pick up version was also produced called the Saehan Max. Between 1977 and 1981 18,900 Saehan Gemini vehicles were built.Daewoo MapseyIn 1983 Saehan Motor was taken over by the Daewoo Group and the car was renamed Daewoo Maepsy.The Daewoo Maepsy was again just available as a 4 door saloon or the Daewoo Max pick up but used only the 1.5litre OHC engine. The car continued to be sold in some export markets, such as Greece, as the Saehan Bird. In 1984 the car was revised with more modern front end styling and called Daewoo Maepsy-Na, Na meaning new. Between 1983 and 1989 approximately 400,000 Maepsy, Maepsy Na and export Saehan Maepsy were produced. The range was replaced by the Daewoo Le Mans which was based on the Vauxhall Astra MK2 / Opel Kadett E (T84 Platform).Opel K-180The original T Car in Argentina was the Opel K180, launched in November 1974 for the 1975 model year. At the time it represented a major investment for General Motors in the country. Opel in Argentina had previously been associated with larger imported cars but the K180 was designed to compete with medium sector rivals such as the Dodge 1500 and Peugeot 504, it also coincided with Ford pulling the plug on the Taunus. The K180 got its name from K for Kadett and 180 related to the engine capacity which was 1800cc.Although almost identical in outside appearance to the Opel Kadett C the engine was completely different and was actually designed and developed in Argentina. Work began on the engine in October 1971 ahead of the T Car programme launch. The starting point was the Chevrolet 6 cylinder 194ci unit. This was then cut down in size by lopping off 2 of the cylinders and then fitted with a new cylinder head specially designed in Argentina. Ironically, the one Opel part that was used on the engine was the rocker cover from the Opel CIH engine. The new engine was named “Chevrolet 110” with a power output of 86bhp which compared favourably with segment rivals. To make the engine fit did require some extensive modifications to the front engine bay and suspension sub frame. From the rear the car was similar to the Vauxhall Chevette GL Saloon with a matt black rear panel between the rear light units. In 1977 the K180 was awarded Car of the Year by APICA (Association of Journalists Automotive Industry and Commerce) a full two years after launch.Inside the car used locally produced seats and door trims, also the dashboard used Chevette / Kadett C instruments but the rest of the dashboard and centre console was completely different and was designed and produced in Argentina.There were very few versions of the Opel K-180. Following the Standard models, the second version came in 1976, the "Opel K180 Rally". This model was launched to broaden appeal to younger buyers looking for something sportier in appearance and incorporated a number of details like a rev counter, new radial tires, black bumpers, and two lateral stripes with the emblem "Rally". In 1977 the LX was released with a more luxurious interior including a new centre console and smaller diameter leather covered steering wheel.The K180 was only sold by General Motors as a 4 door saloon but there was a conversion to an Estate car available, shown on the right, called the K180 Rural, it looks like a bit of fibre-glass roof tacked onto the back of a Saloon - what a botch up! No surprise that very few were sold! It would have been easy for GM to build a K180 2 Door Saloon, 3 Door Hatch & an Estate but for some reason they didn't.GMC Chevette.GMC has traditionally always been associated with US and Canadian trucks & pick-ups and as a commercial vehicle brand, but the T Car in Argentina used the GMC badge when it re-entered the Argentinian market from 1992 until 1995 for a version of the Chevette. The GMC Chevette was built by GM do Brazil specifically for the Argentinian market as part of an alliance between two companies – Renault Argentina who formed part of the alliance called CIADEA (Compañia Interamericana de Automóviles) and GM do Brazil. For General Motors it effectively replaced the Opel K180, which was withdrawn in 1978 after the production facilities in Argentina were closed amid world political reaction to the then government dictatorship. The agreement signed between GM do Brazil and CIADEA committed Renault to export to Brazil the Renault Traffic which were then re-badged as the Chevrolet Traffic and sold by GM. In return GM exported a version of the Chevrolet Chevette badged as a GMC so it could be sold through Chevrolet as well as Renault dealers in Argentina. The main differences between the GMC Chevette and Opel K180 were mechanical, the GMC Chevette came from Brazil with a 1.6litre OHC engine (200 cc. Smaller than the Opel K-180) and also the option of the 1.7litre Isuzu diesel engine, something that Opel did not offer when it was made in Argentina. Also the Chevette came with gearbox options: 5-speed manual or automatic. The Opel K-180 was only ever equipped with a 4 speed gearbox. The GMC was available in 2 or 4 door saloon and also the Chevrolet 500 pick-up, whereas the K180 was a 4 door only.The GMC was well received in Argentina as a replacement for the very popular K180 and continued the reputation for reliability and longevity. One of the few problems with the GMC Chevette was the difficulty in getting spare parts for the car. In Argentina all parts were imported from Brazil but these were mainly mechanical components, the trim and body parts were only imported in small quantities. The car still sold very well and gained the nickname “Load Burrito”It was eventually replaced by the locally built Chevrolet Corsa but the car ever reached the same popularity as the original K180. The joint agreement with Renault was dissolved in 1995 and with it the end of the GMC Chevette.Chevorlet ChevetteGeneral Motors Brazil is the largest subsidiary GM in South America and the third largest market for GM products after the US and China and it celebrated 80 years of operation in Brazil in 2005. The company was founded in 1925 and operated in small rented properties Ipiranga in Sao Paulo. Initially the cars were assembled from CKD kits supplied from the US. The first factory opened in São Caetano do Sul – São Paulo in 1930. In 1958 a second factory opened in Sao Jose dos Campos – São Paulo, officially inaugurated a year later by the President Juscelino Kubitschek. GM Brazil were involved in the T Car project from its inception in 1970 (code named project 909 by GM Brazil) and the first division of GM to launch the car on 24 April 1973 as the Chevrolet Chevette. Initially only available as a 2 door Saloon with a 1.4litre engine in one level of trim - Especial. Visually the car was almost identical to the Opel Kadett C that would be launched in Germany later in August 1973.The Chevette was a huge investment for GM in Brazil, the number of employees at the São José dos Campos plant increased from 3000 to 8000. The Chevette became an agent of economic development with new auto parts suppliers, an increase in the number of Chevrolet dealers and associated industries being established. It was known within GM Brazil as the "anti-Beetle" and it was named Brazil Car of the Year in 1973 and became a top seller in 1974. This model is now known as the Series I. The one model one trim policy continued until the middle of 1975 with the introduction of the higher powered Envemo models which also featured additional trim and equipment. Late in 1975, for the 1976 model year, saw the launch of the visually striking Chevette GP model to celebrate the Brazilian Formula 1 race. At the same time the SL version was added to the range with additional chrome trim and equipment. The last new model of the Series I Chevette was launched in 1977 and called the GPII which was an updated version of the first GP with different camshaft, carburettor and distributor but to meet emission regulations not for increased performance.Chevorlet Chevette Series IILate in 1978, ready for the 1979 model year, came the first proper facelift for the Chevette. The front end of the car was completely revamped with a grille similar to US Pontiacs at the time, the rear end styling remained the same. . The car was still only available as a 2 door Saloon but now with only two trim levels - Standard and SL, the SL models were fitted with increased exterior chrome trim and interior equipment. Announced late in 1978 a new 4 door model was added to the range for the 1979 model year along with a new version of the engine designed to run on ethanol as an alternative to petrol. During 1979 a 3 door Hatch was announced in one level of trim and the option of petrol or ethanol engines. A special edition version of the 1979 Chevette called the "Jeans" featured all seat coverings and door trim in a denim material and was a direct response to VW's "Jeans" Beetle. 1980 saw another styling revision, this time to the rear end which was squared off and featured larger rear lights. A new 1600cc engine was added to the engine line up in the Hatch 1.6SR as well as a completely new 3 door Estate model called the Marajo which was a local design and was not based on the European Chevette / Kadett C Estate. The Hatch was voted 1980 COTY. The series 2 versions remained almost unchanged until the end of the 1982 model year when the range was revamped and restyled as the series 3.Chevorlet Chevette Series IIISeptember 1982 saw the launch of the 1983 model year Series III Chevrolet Chevette. This was far more than a mild facelift, it was a thorough top to bottom overhaul of the Chevette and included new front and rear end design, new interior and a new set of engine and the Saloon was now available as a 2 & 4 door with 1.4, 1.6 or 1.6 with twin carburettors and a 1.6 Ethanol. Both 4 and 5 speed gearboxes were offered. Trim was Standard or SL. The same combination applied to the Hatch and Estate models. This now meant there was a huge choice for customers and home sales and exports increased. All models featured a smart new front end with horizontal bar grille and with new larger rear light units and bigger bumpers front & rear In 1983 a new pick up version was launched called the Chevrolet Chevy 500, it remained in production until 1995 longer than any T Car variation in the world. The front end was the same as the new face lifted passenger models with a new cargo area at the back. The Chevette Hatch was a revamped with the same front end as the Saloon but the rear end was lengthened giving a look similar to the Ford Escort Mk3 or Volvo 340.Chevorlet ElectrovetteThe GM press release read "The Electrovette is the first of a new series of electric test cars produced by the General Motors Corp. This experimental prototype uses twenty 12-volt maintenance-free batteries weighing 920 lbs (417 kg) which are carried in the rear seat compartment. The suspension system has been re-engineered to handle the additional weight. The two passenger sedan weighs 2,950 lbs (1338 kg) and has a top speed of 53 mph (85 km/hr).Although the Electrovette was experimental GM showed it publicly in 1978 at General Motors Civic Leader meetings around the United States and at various car shows. In the wake of the 1973 oil embargo GM felt that there might be an opening for electric vehicles in the future and, like today, it wanted Chevrolet to be the lead brand. "General Motors is confident electric vehicles have a definite place in the future of transportation and has designated Chevrolet the lead division for development of an urban battery-powered car," a company statement said. But GM never gave the green light to the Electrovette. In 1978 GM acknowledged that a breakthrough in battery technology was needed - a goal that remains just as elusive today. More important, at the time petrol prices levelled off, American drivers became accustomed to higher pump prices and settled back into large petrol powered vehicles. Chevrolet's launch of an electrified vehicle would wait another 32 years.GrummettThe General Motors' T Car story in Uruguay is extremely complicated and also difficult to accurately compile information because, at least until the mid 1980s, the operation was very much an "ad hoc" affair that was integral with the fledgling car industry in Ecuador. Basically the history can be split into two distinct parts - the glass-fibre Grumett models built by Autopiezas Esposito up until 1982 when Grumett production stopped and the more "normal" production vehicles built by General Motors Uruguay.