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This is the Vauxhall Cavalier Mark III / Opel Vectra “A” which Vauxhall hopes will hit Sierra sales hardest, the fleet-f...
This is the Vauxhall Cavalier Mark III / Opel Vectra “A” which Vauxhall hopes will hit Sierra sales hardest, the fleet-favourite 1.6L. But is it really up to the job?

Price UK 1988 £8738
Top speed 109mph
0-60 12.1 secs
MPG 34.1

For Fine motorway cruiser, well-designed facia, versatility
Against Harsh engine, mediocre handling, heavy steering

It won’t be long before the Cavalier’s fresh, rounded form becomes a common sight on Britain's roads. The question uppermost in the corporate mind of Vauxhall — and arch rival Ford — must be just how common? The 2-litre Cavalier SRi proved itself more capable than the equivalent Sierra in our recent test but it is the fleet favourite, the 1.6L — tested here in hatchback guise — which Vauxhall hopes will hit the ageing Ford hardest.

At £8738, with either four or five-door body, it is judiciously priced within £20 of the Sierra 1.61.and Montego 1.6b. All three are undercut by the current star of the class, the British-built 405 (£8170 in GL trim), another expatriate, the 1988 Nissan Bluebird 1.6LS (£8698), and the 1988 Citroen BX 16RS (£8322). What neither the Montego nor the -105 can offer, though, is five door versatility.

Unlike most cars offered in booted and hatchback forms, the styling of the Cavalier makes the two appear very similar at first glance. In fact, the hatchback version is 3ins shorter overall, though its wheelbase is the same at a fraction over 102in. Out of the 1500 hours of wind tunnel testing has emerged an excellent drag factor of only 0.29 and smooth, Audi-esque lines. Front and rear screens are bonded Hush to the body while the deep side glazing is semi-flush.

It’s hard to judge where the styling influences lie; the car does not bear a strong resemblance to any other Vauxhall and is not as positively penned as the Audi 80. Links with the previous model have been cleanly severed.

Under the skin there is little new, but lots of revised and refined componentry. Curiously, the Family 11 engine that powered the previous 1.6 Cavalier is not one of these items; it has been supplanted by a less powerful derivative of the physically smaller (and lighter) Family 1 unit. The reason cited is an improvement in economy on the urban cycle and better torque delivery. Bore and stroke arc 79 and 81.5mm respectively, giving a capacity of 1598cc; the compression ratio is a high 10:1 and fuel is fed by a twin-choke carburettor Peak outputs are 82bhp at 5400rpm (8bhp down) and 94lb ft of torque at 2600rpm (2lb ft down).

Suspension is fundamentally the same with MacPherson struts and lower wishbones at the front and trailing arms linked by torsion beam axle at the rear. A cross-brace lends extra stiffness to the outriggers that mount the front wishbones, giving better lateral control, and also carries the rear engine mount.

The wishbones now have one vertical and one horizontal bush to induce self-steer characteristics, as on the Carlton and Senator, and have a nose down attitude to counter dive. Castor angle is increased by 50 per cent to increase the rack and pinion steering’s feel and a new anti-roll bar reduces roll by 30 per cent.

Handling is safe and predictable but uninspiring. Manual steering heavy and low geared. Grip good, roll pronounced.
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  •   Ben Barry reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    SALES FORCE / SURVIVOR’S GUIDE / WORDS PAUL WAGER / 40 YEARS OF THE CAVALIER / #2015 / #1975 /

    We chart four decades and three generations of the Cavalier, the car which finally allowed #Vauxhall to topple Ford in the fleet market. #Vauxhall-Cavalier / #Vauxhall-Cavalier-MkI / #Vauxhall-Cavalier-MkII / #Vauxhall-Cavalier-MkIII / Vauxhall / #GM / #Opel-Vectra / #Opel / #Opel-Ascona / #Opel-Ascona-B / #Opel-Ascona-C / #Opel-Vectra-A /

    Back in the ’50s, the US influence brought to bear on the previously rather dowdy Vauxhall range by its parent company General Motors was by and large a good thing. A dose of transatlantic glamour, a touch of chrome and even fins on the bigger models all suggested Detroit rather than Luton and all that held the firm back was its rather unfortunate reputation for rot.

    Into the ’60s, the recipe continued to work well but as the decade wore on, the need to downsize became more apparent as changing tastes and wider car ownership dictated smaller, more efficient cars. The first fruit of this thinking was the Viva of 1963, which was the smallest Vauxhall model to date and sold well. Crucially, it sold more to private buyers rather than the growing fleet market and the FE Victor failed to appeal against the slick marketing and pricing of the 1962 Cortina and even the still appealing BL products. Suddenly a neater European style was fashionable and the flamboyance of the US-influened Victor started to look outdated. The marque’s reputation for rot didn’t help things and GM knew a solution was needed.

    The answer was to more closely integrate its British and German subsidiaries, with Opel having been a part of the GM fold since 1931. The two firms had tentatively collaborated on the Viva and Kadett back in the early ’60s with both models featuring similar specification, while the FE Victor already used the Opel Rekord floorpan and this time the idea was to integrate the British and European products more closely.

    The result was that the Opel Ascona was picked by management as the basis for a proposed new Vauxhall midranger: it was the perfect size for a Cortina challenger and its conventional longitudinal engine and rear-drive layout would be a fleet-friendly recipe.

    Unlike the Victor though, budgets ruled out an entirely new body style and design director Wayne Cherry was asked to simply rework the Ascona. Cherry had already shown himself to be a fan of the dramatically wedgenosed designs and despite not being given free rein to develop something in the mould of his previous Firenza, he was able to adapt the front end of the recently-launched Manta (itself also developed on the same structure) to create a fresh-faced shape very different from the Ascona. Under the skin, the British car was identical to its German counterpart, which meant wishbone front and live axle with trailing arm rear suspension and the cam-in-head engines from 57 bhp 1.3 to 100 bhp 2-litre.

    The Cavalier was launched at the London motor show in 1975 and the timing couldn’t have been better: the Cortina was still in its MkIII incarnation which still had a year to last until the MkIV would arrive. The Coke bottle styling which had seemed so fresh in 1970 was now looking dated and the Cavalier’s neat European look was something new.

    Coupled with its fleet manager-friendly mechanical layout, the Cavalier sold well, with UK production coming on stream from 1977 at which point it could also be considered a ‘buy British’ choice. Certainly road testers of the day rated it highly, placing it above the Marina and even the Cortina. With the smaller Chevette slotting in below it in the range (also largely based on the Opel Kadett), Vauxhall once more had a competitive line-up.


    Of course Ford didn’t rest on its laurels and in 1976 unveiled the MkIV Cortina, meaning that Vauxhall was once more playing catch-up. This time though, it was starting from a more promising position in the shape of GM’s ‘J-Car’ project – one of the first attempts to create a ‘world car’ design which could be adapted to different markets with relatively little redesign.


    Development was a transatlantic affair, with teams based both in Detroit and Rüsselsheim and the car itself was intended as essentially a larger version of the MkI Astra/Kadett platform. Transverse engines and front-wheel drive would give it a modern flavour, while the cam-in-head engines would be replaced by a newly-developed family of OHC powerplants. With an alloy crossflow head and hydraulic tappets together with Varajet II carb and electronic ignition, they were designed for low-maintenance costs and improved fuel economy, while power outputs were up across the board: the 1.3-litre now developed 75 bhp which was equivalent to the outgoing 1.6.

    Elsewhere, the MkII Cavalier also boasted a famously neat piece of design in the sliding input shaft which allowed the clutch to be changed in just 65 minutes – at least, according to the1981 press release. Underneath, the MkII boasted MacPherson strut front suspension and coil-sprung rear with space-saving ‘Minibloc’ springs.

    Vauxhall also knew that Ford wouldn’t be replacing the Cortina until 1983 and so knew that if they could get their all-new Cavalier into production by 1981, they would steal a march on their Detroit rivals, with a car which made the Cortina look decidedly old-hat.


    As luck would have it, initial public reaction to the Sierra was also muted and the MkII Cavalier gave Vauxhall its big chance in the fleet market.

    Launched in summer 1981, the Cavalier was available as a two-door (later dropped) or a four-door saloon, but also a five-door hatchback which gave it something the Cortina couldn’t offer.

    Its neat styling, pleasant driving manners and decent build quality won it many ‘conquest’ sales as the Cortina was wound down and the biggest prize for Vauxhall must have been the 1984 sales figures which placed the Cavalier in second place with the Sierra down in fifth – a terrible showing for a brand new model, although Ford could take comfort in the fact that its Escort was rarely shifted from the number one spot.


    Initially just two engine options were offered: a 1.3-litre rated at 75bhp or a 90bhp 1.6, with trim levels ranging from basic, L and GL through to GLS and the sporty SR. In 1983, the range was expanded to add a fuel-injected, 115bhp 1.8-litre engine available in the new GLSi, CDi and SRi models as well as the rather lacklustre 54bhp diesel engine and a voluminous estate created by using panels from the Australian-market Holden version of that world car design.

    The SRi in particular was something of a halo model for the range with its boot spoiler, alloy wheels and checked Recaro seats and notably more sporting than any of the Sierra models. In 1985, the Cavalier received a first facelift with a chunky new chip-cutter grille, restyled rear lights and revised specifications. It worked well without detracting from the neatly understated style, but Ford was also fast catching up with the Sierra which after a slow start was really gaining ground.


    In 1987, the grille was revised once more with a slatted style and the top engine was upgunned to an injected 2-litre good for 130bhp with the SRi now renamed ‘SRi 130’. The Cavalier remained an attractive product to the end, but with rivals like the Pininfarina-styled Peugeot 405 on the market, coupled with the increased attractiveness of entry-level BMWs, VWs and Audis, the writing was on the wall for the MkII which ended production in 1988. Its swansong was the Calibre special edition, created by in-house tuner Irmscher which took the SRi 130 in four-door saloon form and added a chunky Tickford-penned bodykit, sports exhaust and sports suspension. A limited edition of 500, it boasts a survival rate far higher than the average MkII but is still a rare beast. With over 807,000 examples sold and cars even exported back to Europe, the MkII reversed Vauxhall’s fortunes in the British volume market but the big question was what exactly to replace it with.


    The answer was of course, more of the same. The MkIII Cavalier unveiled at the British motor show in 1988 was in fact a heavily facelifted version of the MkII and carried over much of the engineering but looked like a bigger, more grown-up car. Once again, its styling was neat but inoffensive and was identical between Opel (now badged Vectra) and Vauxhall versions. Careful attention was paid to detail engineering and the new car had a feeling of solidity which set it apart from the MkII, with chunkier plastic mouldings and improved corrosion protection. The engine range was now larger too, kicking off with a fuelinjected 1400 option which just a few years ago would have seemed too small for a car this size but which offered 75bhp – the same as the original MkII’s 1600 unit. Further up the range was found the 1600, 1800 and the 2-litre, the latter now available in 150 bhp 16-valve form as used in the Astra GTE.


    More was to come though: in 1992, a 167 bhp 2.5-litre V6 and a 204bhp turbocharged four-wheel drive model were added to the range, with a new trim level bringing with it full leather trim and the 4x4 also available as a regular L model. ABS and airbags also featured on the menu, making the Cavalier a thoroughly modern offering. Meanwhile, further down the range the diesel option was improved with the addition of the Isuzu-sourced 1.7-litre engine in both 57bhp and 82 bhp intercooled turbo versions.

    The MkIII version represented the pinnacle of the Cavalier and despite Ford’s best efforts the Sierra was looking increasingly dated against the Vauxhall, even if the lairy Cosworth did gain a cult following which the more subtle Cavalier 4x4 Turbo lacked. The MkIII also spawned the Calibra which was a more glamorous, two-door Cavalier and offered a stylish coupe sitting below the Corrado and 3-Series in price.

    The MkIII would continue in production until 1995 and remained competitive right to the end, but in the face of new opposition GM had no choice but to embark on a further update.

    That competition of course came in the shape of the Mondeo which spearheaded Ford’s remarkable reinvention of its product range during the ’90s and which would take a state-of-the-art challenger to unseat it. And GM’s response? Ah yes, that’ll be the Vauxhall Vectra... the story of which deserves a feature all of its own.

    THE CAVALIER THAT WASN’T

    When the Cavalier was replaced by the Vectra in 1995, it represented more than a name change but a larger cultural shift. The Vectra name had been used for European versions of the model since the MkIII and replacing the Cavalier name was significant as it represented the end of a perceived need to engineer a different model for the UK market.

    An all-new model built on a 5cm longer wheelbase and with wider track and multi-link suspension, the Vectra B as it’s known in Vauxhall/Opel circles was in its own way just as neat as the Mondeo and a worthy successor to the much-loved Cavalier. Its styling was tidy if rather bland and the racy oval mirrors sweeping out of the scuttle line were an elegant touch. It was an easy-riding motorway pounder even if its chassis lacked the sparkle of the new Mondeo which appealed to road warrior types. The engine range was modern enough too, with 16-valve units standardised from 2000 at which point the chassis received a facelift too. So why was the Vectra a failure? Actually, it wasn’t: the car sold strongly across the fleet sector and it was only the sensationalist comments of a certain J Clarkson still keen to make a name for himself that placed that image in the public mind. The Vectra B was replaced by the squarer Vectra C in 2002 which was even more significant for Vauxhall, representing as it did a sad milestone. The new Vectra was produced entirely in Europe, which meant the end of car production in Luton.

    Top of the Cavalier range was the 204 bhp Turbo 4x4. A V6 option was also available, as was a luxury leather spec.

    Although the MkIII Cavalier was a heavily revamped version of the previous model, it sold well against the Sierra and early Mondeo.

    MkII seemed very modern compared to the Cortina, giving Vauxhall a great opportunity in the gap before the Sierra arrived.

    The second generation of the Cavalier proved a top seller for Vauxhall.

    The Cavalier was a comfortable and able performer and transported countless reps around our motorway network.

    The short-lived two door coupè is now highly sought after.

    The MkI's sloping nose is attributed to designer Wayne Cherry.
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  • WRECK TO RACER

    Die-hard Vauxhall fan Steve ‘Gromitt’ Hucker fastidiously collected parts from six cars destined for the scrap heap, building them into this incredible #Vauxhall-Cavalier-BTCC-Replica race car on an exceedingly tight budget. Words & images: Matt Robinson.

    We can all appreciate a good car project regardless of how much money is behind it, but when someone puts together a stunning motor like this British Touring Car Championship replica Vauxhall Cavalier for next to nothing, they’ve earned our undying respect. The work of Walsall-based Steve Hucker (better known as ‘Gromitt’ to his friends), this brilliant Vauxhall has been built up over two and a half years, mostly from parts taken from cars destined for the scrapheap.


    A die-hard Vauxhall fan, Steve runs Vaux- Speed, a Vauxhall breaker and tuning specialist in Walsall. Having looked after all sorts of different cars for customers for years, Steve wanted a new project of his own to sink his teeth into. “I thought I’d build something a bit different for myself. I’ve always loved touring cars, it seemed a bit more unusual to do a Cavalier as they only ran for six years in the BTCC,” he explains. A complete eight-valve 4x4 Cavalier came up on eBay, and looked to be the perfect starting point for the project, apparently needing only a new clutch to get it going. When he got hold of the car, however, it needed a little bit more than just a clutch. “Things on eBay aren’t always listed 100 per cent, one person’s ‘just wants a clutch’ is another person’s ‘needs a complete engine rebuild and whatever else!’” Steve chuckles.

    Nevertheless, it was a good starting point for around £200, and gave Steve a good base on which he could slowly build on, whenever he had available funds for parts. Not long after, an eight-valve GSI lookalike was spotted and quickly snapped up as a donor, primarily to pilfer the doors. As it was an earlier car, it came without the impact bars in the doors, helping shave off a little extra weight. Not much happened on the project for a while, but another car came up that would enable the build to surge forward, as it had a full roll cage. It belonged to someone Steve had done business with in the past, but without the spare capital to drop on the car, he reluctantly had to leave it. Some time later, he happened upon the car again while browsing eBay. On this occasion it was just the shell up for grabs, as the new owner had taken out the engine and a few other parts for another project, and was selling the leftovers. This time Steve was adamant that he was going to have it. The original deal with the seller fell through, but with the garage in which the shell was being stored due for imminent demolition, it needed to go quickly. It was offered to Steve at a price too good to refuse.

    Steve opted to keep the original eightvalve shell due to its superior condition, and transplanted whatever he could from his new donor car, including the all-important roll cage. The only problem with the eight valve shell was the presence of a sunroof. That’s not the sort of thing you’d normally find on a race car, so Steve removed the roof from yet another Cavalier shell which was en-route to the scrapheap, and transplanted it onto the project.


    With the car coming together nicely, it was time to think about the paintwork. To keep the car as unique as possible, Steve wanted to go for the little-known 1994 Cavalier BTCC livery. “I only worked off one picture of the original BTCC car. This colour scheme was only used for 1994; it’s not documented that well, so it was quite a struggle, but I was determined because I wanted it to stand out,” Steve explains. He was presented with two options to achieve the white, grey and red colour scheme: either to use decals for the entire job, or have it painted in white/grey/ red and just use decals for the sponsor names and logos. A friend was confident he could achieve the look successfully with the latter method, and we have to say, the results are superb. There are a few differences compared to the real thing, owing to Steve’s personal preferences, but the overall look is very close.


    Steve has put a lot of effort into taking weight out wherever possible, not just in going for the impact bar-less doors. Absolutely everything unnecessary has been removed; he even laid out the wiring loom on the workshop floor and binned what wasn’t needed, shaving an extra 20kg. “It isn’t a lot, but every bit you save is good. It’s different to just taking a road car and saying ‘right, I’ll take the seats out and rip the door panels off and call it a track car.” This attitude shows when you get into Steve’s Cavalier. All the proper racing car parts are there; a Corbeau seat with a six-point FIA approved harness, FIA approved cut-out switch, and fi re extinguisher system.


    Losing weight isn’t enough on its own, of course; the suspension and brakes also needed an overhaul to make sure they were up to the task of track work. Koni Competition adjustable shocks went in at each corner, with 90mm customs springs on the back, and 60mm standard road springs on the front. The latter is just a stop gap, and any day now a similar set of custom springs will go in, giving a much lower level of body roll. While the idea of a nice but pricey set of coilovers is a tempting one, custom springs are the way forward, and not just for the sake of the budget. “There are a couple of places that still make custom poundage springs. The beauty of that is once they have the spec of your car, you can pick the phone up, order a set of springs and within 24 hours you’ve got a new set on your doorstep for the price of standard springs,” Steve explains. This also means he won’t need to hunt around for springs with the correct poundages, which wouldn’t be easy considering the very specific, custom nature of the car. To help bring things to a stop a little quicker, meanwhile, Steve has swapped out the standard front brakes for a set of four-pot calipers over 320mm discs.


    Another important aspect for Steve to get right was an inboard fuel tank setup, to further ape the proper race-spec Cavalier. Normally, this wouldn’t be cheap, but a contact through Shenstone and District Sprint club had a tank going spare which he could use. It was designed for a BMW, but some alterations to the pipework and the addition of a swirl pot made it suitable for the Vauxhall. It wasn’t all plain sailing, however. The Cavalier destroyed several fuel pumps before it was worked out that fuel was atomising before entering the pump, causing it to burn out. Further adaptations were made to the set up, and a larger fuel pump added, and it’s been perfect ever since.

    Steve’s tight budget has meant the 2.0-litre eight-valve has stayed in place rather than the most obvious engine transplant option of a ‘red top’ Vauxhall XE engine. However, it’s no ordinary eight-valve; this one is sporting an Irmscher intake manifold, larger throttle body, gas-flowed head and Kent camshaft. The result is about 160bhp, a thoroughly respectable number, especially considering the weight figure is now well under a tonne. Around the base figure you’d get in an XE, in fact, but with a much simpler engine to work on. “What I’ve spent on the engine, you’d spend on just rebuilding the bottom end of a red top these days,” Steve points out.


    The car is road legal, but with the slightly tricky task of climbing in through that beefy role cage a necessity of getting behind the wheel, Steve mostly reserves public highway driving for testing, rather than convenience. It sees plenty of track action, with its happiest hunting ground being Curborough Sprint Course near Lichfield, where we photographed the car being driven in anger.

    As much as Steve loves the end product, it’s the build itself of this, and his prior projects, that he really gets a kick out of, especially if he can keep the cost low and get the biggest bang for his buck. “They’re not mega budget cars, but they’re really nicely built. That’s the enjoyment of building them for me,” he explains. And when it comes to the Cavalier project, the car is pretty much where Steve wants it to be right now. “Once I’ve done the front suspension I will say ‘yes, it’s finished,’ it’ll just be tweaking and adapting after that,” he says. Of course, there are still tempting avenues to explore, such as individual throttle bodies, so we’ll be interested to see what avenues he chooses to pursue in the future.

    As a man who’s always got a project on the go, it’s not outside the realms of possibility that Steve could end up selling the car, but that seems unlikely for now. “It’s possible I suppose, if someone offers me a ludicrous amount of money for it!” he chuckles. Steve has already turned down an offer for what he describes as a “substantial amount of money,” which we can more than understand, as his journey with this car is far from over. Why? The answer is simple. “I want to enjoy it more.” After seeing Steve having a great time hustling this home-brewed hero on track for ourselves, we hope he gets that wish.

    SPECIFICATION #Vauxhall-Cavalier / #Vauxhall / #Opel / #Opel-Vectra

    ENGINE: #Vauxhall-20SEH eight-valve, gas-flowed head, Kent camshaft and pully, enlarged throttle body, Irmscher inlet manifold, Pipercross air filter, custom inboard fuel tank with internal swirl pot, high-pressure bootmounted fuel pump, full 2.5-inch Ashley exhaust (centre exit).

    TRANSMISSION: F20 gearbox, Quaife differential.

    SUSPENSION: Polybushed all round, Koni Competition adjustables, custom springs.

    BRAKES: Four-pot front calipers with 320mm discs, standard rear brakes.

    WHEELS & TYRES: 17-inch Team Dynamics alloy wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes.

    INTERIOR: Fully stripped, Corbeau bucket seat with six-point #FIA approved harness, FIA approved cut-off switch, fi re extinguisher, polycarbonate door panels, full Custom Cages competition roll cage.

    EXTERIOR: Eight-valve 4x4 shell, full GSI body kit, single wiper conversion, #1994 #BTCC Jeff Allam livery.

    “To keep the car as unique as possible, Steve wanted to go for the little known 1994 #Vauxhall-Cavalier-BTCC livery.”
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    Vauxhall Cavalier Mark III / Opel Vectra A Club

    This is the Vauxhall Cavalier Mark III / Opel Vectra “A” which Vauxhall hopes will hit Sierra sales hardest, the fleet-favourite 1.6L. But is it really up to the job?

    Price UK 1988 £8738
    Top speed 109mph
    0-60 12.1 secs
    MPG 34.1

    For Fine motorway cruiser, well-designed facia,...
    This is the Vauxhall Cavalier Mark III / Opel Vectra “A” which Vauxhall hopes will hit Sierra sales hardest, the fleet-favourite 1.6L. But is it really up to the job?

    Price UK 1988 £8738
    Top speed 109mph
    0-60 12.1 secs
    MPG 34.1

    For Fine motorway cruiser, well-designed facia, versatility
    Against Harsh engine, mediocre handling, heavy steering

    It won’t be long before the Cavalier’s fresh, rounded form becomes a common sight on Britain's roads. The question uppermost in the corporate mind of Vauxhall — and arch rival Ford — must be just how common? The 2-litre Cavalier SRi proved itself more capable than the equivalent Sierra in our recent test but it is the fleet favourite, the 1.6L — tested here in hatchback guise — which Vauxhall hopes will hit the ageing Ford hardest.

    At £8738, with either four or five-door body, it is judiciously priced within £20 of the Sierra 1.61.and Montego 1.6b. All three are undercut by the current star of the class, the British-built 405 (£8170 in GL trim), another expatriate, the 1988 Nissan Bluebird 1.6LS (£8698), and the 1988 Citroen BX 16RS (£8322). What neither the Montego nor the -105 can offer, though, is five door versatility.

    Unlike most cars offered in booted and hatchback forms, the styling of the Cavalier makes the two appear very similar at first glance. In fact, the hatchback version is 3ins shorter overall, though its wheelbase is the same at a fraction over 102in. Out of the 1500 hours of wind tunnel testing has emerged an excellent drag factor of only 0.29 and smooth, Audi-esque lines. Front and rear screens are bonded Hush to the body while the deep side glazing is semi-flush.

    It’s hard to judge where the styling influences lie; the car does not bear a strong resemblance to any other Vauxhall and is not as positively penned as the Audi 80. Links with the previous model have been cleanly severed.

    Under the skin there is little new, but lots of revised and refined componentry. Curiously, the Family 11 engine that powered the previous 1.6 Cavalier is not one of these items; it has been supplanted by a less powerful derivative of the physically smaller (and lighter) Family 1 unit. The reason cited is an improvement in economy on the urban cycle and better torque delivery. Bore and stroke arc 79 and 81.5mm respectively, giving a capacity of 1598cc; the compression ratio is a high 10:1 and fuel is fed by a twin-choke carburettor Peak outputs are 82bhp at 5400rpm (8bhp down) and 94lb ft of torque at 2600rpm (2lb ft down).

    Suspension is fundamentally the same with MacPherson struts and lower wishbones at the front and trailing arms linked by torsion beam axle at the rear. A cross-brace lends extra stiffness to the outriggers that mount the front wishbones, giving better lateral control, and also carries the rear engine mount.

    The wishbones now have one vertical and one horizontal bush to induce self-steer characteristics, as on the Carlton and Senator, and have a nose down attitude to counter dive. Castor angle is increased by 50 per cent to increase the rack and pinion steering’s feel and a new anti-roll bar reduces roll by 30 per cent.

    Handling is safe and predictable but uninspiring. Manual steering heavy and low geared. Grip good, roll pronounced.
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