In all of my 35 years of exploring junkyards in the western United States, I had never found a Mexican-built, Mexican-market car until a few weeks ago, when I spotted this General Motors de México-manufactured 2009 Opel Corsa in a Denver-area self-service wrecking yard.
Chevrolet sold a car called the Chevy II for the 1961 through 1968 model years (after which the name of the top trim level, Nova, became the car’s name for the remainder of its production run), but this is the only genuine Chevy ever made.
These cars were built at GM’s Ramos Arizpe plant, where Sonics and Equinoxes and Cruzes roll off the assembly line today.
There are Chihuahua state registration stickers on the car, and it seems to be in fairly good condition. How did it end its days in a wrecking yard 875 miles to the north, in a country in which no member of the Corsa family was ever sold legally? I don’t know the rules about visitors bringing Mexico-plated cars across the border for business or vacation, though I have seen plenty of such cars in American border towns; perhaps this one overstayed its travel permit and got towed away and impounded after its owners took a trip to Colorado.
I believe this is a 1.2-liter O-series Opel engine, rated at 79 horsepower.
Five-speed manual transmission, of course, because this car was not made for soft, two-pedal Norteamericanos.
I thought about buying the radio, because it would be somewhat cool to have a genuine CHEVY-badged CD player in my Civic, but I passed on this opportunity (mostly because the dash harness connector was buried enough to be a hassle to cut out of the car).
The last year for the Chevrolet Chevy was 2011, after which this European-designed GM econobox was replaced by a Korean-designed GM econobox in the Mexican market.
But that wasn’t the end of the line for this version of the Opel Corsa; you can buy one (badged as a Chevrolet Sail) in China to this day.