Think you know everything there is to know about Chevy? Maybe you’re an avid collector and enjoy haunting used car dealerships looking for that one strange vehicle that makes you do a double take. Whether it came from the company itself, was altered by an enthusiast, or has a dark past, Chevy has a long and colorful history that is bound to include some unique characters.
When you’re over 100 years old, you’re bound to have some stories, so it’s no different when it comes to one of the nation’s most iconic and beloved brands. Chevy proves it’s been everywhere and seen just about everything, the good and the bad.
So if you’re on the lookout for classic misfits, the redheaded stepchild, the outcast, or the strange freak that turns heads and makes regular car owners wonder, “who would ever want that?” then this list of weird and interesting Chevys is for you. From a recovered relic from the infamous Spahn Ranch, known to be home to Charles Manson and his family, to a whimsical Brazilian Chevy truck you’ve probably never heard of, to a creepy Corvette that helped a serial killer momentarily elude capture despite a nationwide manhunt, these Chevy models will make you want to take a second look.
A Haunted 1955 Chevy
Let’s face it, people love the macabre, and they love collecting. So when you combine the two, it’s no wonder people go crazy for artifacts that have a connection to famous cults, crime scenes, and serial killers. Whether it’s a weird obsession or just because we like to be scared, it’s tough to ignore items that have a fascinating or haunted history, even if it is a grim one.
So when a 1955 Chevy 210 sedan was discovered on Spahn Ranch in Death Valley and given a top-to-bottom makeover, people were naturally fascinated. It’s said the Chevy Hot Rod is haunted, with creepy accounts including one collector who said the rafters of the building the Hot Rod sat in would shake so hard it would cause dust and debris to fall down onto the car, or another who claimed the doors would open and close on their own.
Maybe it’s because of its eerie origin story or because of its sleek new revamp, but either way, people can’t help but gawk when the Manson Mobile rolls by.
The Truck From Brazil
Considered one of the most beautifully and whimsically designed trucks of the 1960s, you’ve probably never seen a Chevy Brasil because if you had, you wouldn’t forget it. The Chevrolet 3100 was designed at the time as a utility vehicle, designed and manufactured in San Paulo, and sold throughout Brazil. So it’s no wonder the curvy relic is a novelty to Chevy owners in the States.
The sturdy and reliable Chevy 3100 truck was a true mark of pride for farmers and merchants. The 3100 was later renamed ‘The Brasil’ when it was recognized as one of the essential tools that aided in Brazil’s rapidly booming 1960s/1970s economy.
A familiar sight on the streets of 1960s Brazil, the Chevy 3100 was the ultimate tool of workers nationwide. The 145 horsepower Stovebolt overhead-valve six engine gave the truck the power and pep to make it fun to drive, plus enough strength to haul work materials to and from job sites or merchandise around the city. The truck was produced in San Paulo until 1964.
In 2005 a restored 1960 Chevy 3100 Brasil took part in a 10,000-mile road trip starting in Brazil and ending in Sterling Heights, MI, where it was gifted to the GM Heritage Center by Luiz Fanfa, the retired PR director of GM Brazil.
A Deadly Rental
What is often cited as the most infamous rental car in history, an understated 1965 Chevy Impala, is now considered part of car history after being involved in one of America’s deadliest bank robberies in Nebraska back in 1965.
While many people have never heard of Duane Earl Pope, he rented the 1965 Impala one morning from a Hertz rental agency in Saline, KS, with fifty bucks he’d borrowed from his dad. While he claimed he was renting the car to search for work, what he actually planned to do was something no one could have expected.
Pope drove his newly rented Impala to Big Springs, NK, staked out the local Farmers State Bank, and by late afternoon had brutally shot three of the bank’s employees while paralyzing a fourth, all for less than $2,000. He jumped back into his Impala and high-tailed it back to Kansas, returning the car to Hertz before going on the run and making the FBI’s most wanted list.
While Pope was later arrested and is currently serving three life sentences in a Nebraska prison, the 1965 green Impala became part of the Chevyland USA Museum until it closed. The Impala remained part of the Monte Hollertz collection until the death of Hollertz, when it was put up for auction in 2021, selling for $45,000.
A Killer Corvette
While the image of the Corvette sparks mental pictures of fun in the sun and sleek curves, this 1977 Chevy Corvette has a dark side. This particular Corvette belonged to Spokane serial killer Robert Yates, who was accused of murdering 16 women. He would often drive either his Ford cargo van or his ‘77 white Corvette to pick up potential victims. During one such encounter, a witness saw the woman getting into his car. Due to a mistake in the reporting, police thought they were originally searching for a Camaro, not a Corvette, so Yates was released for the time being before being arrested a short time later.
The Corvette was later obtained by police, who recovered evidence from the interior, including a shirt button from one of Yates’ victims. Years later, in 2005, the Corvette would go up for auction sporting the original pen marks investigators used to mark potential DNA evidence, plus a grim sign on the front reading “Vehicle acquired by Spokane County in connection with the investigation of one or more homicide case(s).”
Ironically the 1977 white Corvette that clocked in only 16,723 miles was sold for around $4,000 to an ex-police officer who was able to overlook the car’s history and focus on restoring the vehicle and adding a new chapter to the Corvette’s personal history.
Lost & Found
Whether it’s a Stingray, a Camaro, or a Transformer, Chevy has been featured in some pretty big films. Its eye-catching sports cars are impossible to miss when you see them peeling out across the silver screen. But what about one of Chevy’s most popular models, the Malibu?
While they might be considered understated, practical cars by today’s standard, take a look at the unforgettable 1964 ruby red Malibu SS from 1994’s Pulp Fiction, and it’s anything but. The classic Malibu, driven by John Travolta’s character, Vincent Vega, was originally owned by the film’s director Quentin Tarantino.
Shortly after the film finished in 1994, the striking Malibu was stolen from the director’s LA residence, with its whereabouts remaining unknown for the next 19 years when it was randomly discovered by two police officers who noticed a few guys stripping down a car during one of their routine patrols. The new owner of the Malibu had no idea it was stolen or anything about the car’s original history, which was too bad for him because once the vehicle was connected back to Tarantino, the director naturally wanted it returned to him.
If you like collecting unique cars or strange stories to go along with them, Chevy has more than enough history to go around. So next time you see a Chevy rolling down the street or sitting quietly in the back corner of a lot, you’ll have to stop and wonder, what’s its story?
Whether it’s a strange-looking model from a foreign land or a rusted-out shell forgotten in the back of a barn, it’s tough to know where that Chevy has been, what it’s seen, or where it might go in the future. Its story might just surprise you.