Rolling Violation #10
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1990 Chevrolet Beretta GT* Back: rv9

click for a higher res pic
    GM 3.1L V6
    Port Fuel Injection
    140 hp @ 4200 *
    185 ft-lbs @ 3200 rpm
    3 speed automatic transmission
    187 inches long
    2900 lbs. approx curb weight.
    0-60:  ~8.8 seconds.
    1/4 mile:  ~16.8 seconds
    Top Speed:  116 mph - governed

    60-0: 133 feet. *

When purchased and how much:
    August 1995 for about $9000 CDN with 86,000 km.  (about 53,000 miles)  Still have it.   Odometer now reads over 210,000km. (130,000 miles)

    Rolling Violation #10 always has a * after it.  Why?  It's not my car.  It's my wife's car.
    Why the big stink over who "owns" the car, especially if I'm married?  I don't do front wheel drive.  It's just wrong.  At least she bought a Chevy.
    And so, Rolling Violation #10 is an "adopted" car.  She's been through a lot since 1997 when I first met her:  (the car, not the wife. Ok, maybe both of them.)

Beretta (Pre-Ray):
    Purchased new from Melnick Motors in 1990, it was traded back in 1995.  Nicole had recently totalled her Sunbird, and was looking for a new car.  (The accident wasn't her fault - and she's not making me say that - it really wasn't her fault.  I have the paperwork.)  It was in pretty good shape and had been well maintained, with only 86,000 km on it, virtually all of it small town, highway, pampered "little old lady" mileage.
    It was black, sporty looking, with the reddest interior I've ever seen.  Air, cruise, tilt, digital dash.
    Nicole was hooked.  She bought it - it hadn't even been prepped yet - it had been literally traded in THAT day.
    From 1995 to 1997 the Beretta subsisted on a steady diet of regular unleaded and oil changes, racking up the mileage to 146,000 km in July of 1997.

Beretta (post-previous boyfriend)
    When I met the Beretta, it was in need of three things.  One, some TLC.  Two, some money.  Three, a new alternator.  Shortly after meeting Nicole, her car decided to fall in love with me.  That's the only explanation I can come up with for a formerly reliable car blowing up like it did. :)  Nicole decided to take a chance by calling the new guy who supposedly had 1) tools and 2) a crush on her.  She was right on both counts.  It is extremely tricky to look "cool" when you're trying to figure out how to get the dang serpentine belt off and you have NO IDEA how the heck you're going to get a stupid ratchet in there without taking half the front end apart.  Eventually, a little brute force when she wasn't watching took care of that...
    Between 1997 and 2001, the Beretta managed to rack up mileage and repairs at a rapid clip.  First up was brakes and tires.  The tires on there would start hydroplaning on a humid day.  Both rear wheel cylinders needed to be replaced in 1998.  Then they needed to be replaced again in 1998.  Then one again in 2001.  Unfortunately, this is probably a major contributor to the permanent "mushy" feel of the brake pedal.  The brakes are fine, just the pedal feel sucks.  This is a common Beretta complaint.  Then it was fed new shocks, struts and ball joints.  Suprisingly enough, Darren was again involved in this!
    Another common Beretta complaint has to do with the door panels and dashes.  Over time, the early design door panel falls apart.  From the factory, it's basically held together with velcro and glue.  Unfortunately, no one makes repro parts for this, so you're left duct taping and bunge cording the door panels back together.  As I write this, the driver's door pull has come off again... maybe I should be working on the car instead of a web site talking about the car... naah. :)

Not all is bad about the poor Beretta.
    This thing ends up saving my bacon every winter.  Virtually guaranteed that somehere between Christmas and Valentine's day I'll have blown up my winter car.  We've been "saving" the Beretta in the winter until this happens, and my other cars (rv9 and rv12) never seem to last the whole winter without blowing up something.  As a result, I end up driving a FWD car in the winter while my other car gets rebuilt in the garage/driveway/parking lot.
    It's coped with the Florida heat in July, been driven 18 hours non-stop, been hailed on, and just generally been >thisclose< to a work-truck.  About as close as you can get for a car.

Lock up Transmission:
    Lock up torque converters.  Wonderful when they work, not so wonderful when they act up.  Really crappy when it starts malfunctioning intermittently in the winter.  Really really crappy when it starts going when you're busy house shopping...
    What happens when your lock up torque converter locks up?  If you're driving, the engine speed drops by about 200 rpm and your fuel mileage goes up about 1-2 mpg.  The problem is when you're stopping and it doesn't unlock - the car shudders and eventually stalls.  It's just like driving a stick shift car and trying to stop without pressing in the clutch.  At first, restarting the car will "fix" it for a while, but it will get worse.  Eventually, you'll need to do a "neutral drop" just to get home, and this kind of abuse will eventually cook the transmission.  While you have it out, replace the steering rack - it's a lot easier that way.

Over time, heat causes the solenoid to start deforming and sticking.  If you catch it early, it's pretty easy to change.  If you are lazy or cheap, you'll end up with a dead transmission from the abuse.  Don't ask if I'm lazy or cheap, I'm both. :) If you're really lucky, you might be able to get the transmission side pan off in the car when it the solenoid dies. On the replacement tranny, I wasn't so lucky - I had to change the solenoid in 2003 with the pan only loose - I couldn't get remove the pan. Amazingly - NO LEAKS!

Hail Magnet:
    Not quite sure what causes this, but this thing is a hail magnet.  As you might guess from the pictures, this is post paint job.  Unfortunately 2001 produced a lot of hail.  We weren't able to cover the Beretta in the fall and the hood is sporting a few dents.  It could have been worse - I've seen people's cars written off from hail damage!

Paint Job:
     For a few years around 1990, there were changes in the paint and primer by GM (and Ford and Chrysler).  They had to reduce emissions, and they changed the paint and primer.  Unfortunately, the new stuff had some delamination problems.  (There are a lot of sites covering this so I won't go into any detail.)
    Eventually we'd had enough of the spotted look, and the decision was made to repaint the car.  It's in pretty good mechanical shape, and it was only the paint and doors that prevented it from looking in nice shape.
    In Fall of 2000, it went into the paint booth.  They only had to sand for about 5 minutes - the pressure washer took most of the paint off.  (Ok, so it was more than 5 minutes, but apparently the pressure washer really DID take 90% of the paint off!)

    As of Fall 2003, we still have the car and probably will for a couple more years.  The odometer just hit 210,000 km and it's running fine.  I fixed a nagging oil leak last summer, but she's not quite ready for retirement yet.  It always starts, there's no rust and once I fix the air conditioning and Nicole fixes the doors there's nothing really wrong with the car.  (other than it's front-wheel-drive.)

More pictures:
    If Nicole ever lets me take a good picture of her car, I'll replace the primered shot at the top of the page - she has a phobia about pictures and her cars.  It seems that within a few weeks of the picture being taken, the car is totalled.
Latest pic:

Links: - lots of links and a mailing list

    Some performance specs from Motor Trend April 1990 issue. (braking)
    0-60 & 1/4 mile times are "guesstimates" from a handful of Beretta GT and GTZ road tests and the stopwatch.  The car has never actually been drag raced - that would be too embarassing to get waxed by a Honda.
    I've seen Hosepower figures of 135 hp and 140 hp for the 90 3.1 V6.  The 89's were 135 and the 91's were 140, but depending on where you read you see both for 90.  I have a 90 Lumina catalog that has both numbers in it, so I use 140.  It's not like it's 495 or 500 hp...

The collection:








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