The Chevrolet Beretta was an ambiguous car. First of all, it was the coupe version of the equally ambiguous Corsica, slotted above the Cavalier and slightly under the N-body cars, the Chevy-engineered L-body cars were like “almost midsize” or “near compact”. It was like in its own category, and they had door handles that were integrated in the B-pillars. Sweet.
Welcome to Forgotten Classics
As demonstrated in the previous articles, the goal of this series of essays is be to bring cars that are getting no love back in the limelight. FC is also a thorough analysis of why such cars remained obscure and never got the praise they deserved.
The 1990 to 1993 Beretta GTZ was the high performance version of the Beretta. It replaced the 1988-1989 GTU model. The Beretta/Corsica in their standard form were not really impressive cars, except for the GTZ ...
First of all, the engine. To power this beast, Chevy borrow the famous Oldsmobile Quad4, a 2.3L 4banger that produced 180hp. That is only 4 horses short of the the new Mazda’s 2.5L SkyActive engine, but 25 years ago. One word : Impressive.
To send the power to the wrong wheels, GM engineers installed a German made Getrag 5 speed manual transmission. With its standard GM FE7 suspension, the car was capable of 0.92 G on the skid pad, better that all FWD car ever tested by Motor Trend at this time. It’s also worth to mention that the GTZ was able to sprint from naught to sixty in only 7.6 seconds, which was also faster than its competition.
Inside, designers left nothing to be desired. The minimalist equipment, the heavily bolstered racing seats and and the meaty (for the era) steering wheel made a very strong statement.
Unfortunately, the early 90’s was not a good era to be a coupe, and the Beretta saw its sales figures plummet year after year. The GTZ was canceled after the 1993 automotive season in favor of the Z26, which a none of the goodies aforementioned but offered a 3.1L Multiport V6 engine that was good at impressing gullible customers.
Very few GTZ models were produced, in fact they are so rare that even finding pictures for this article was complicated. If you can put your hands on a example, do not hesitate, these babies will start to appreciate very soon.
Thanks for reading.