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Vauxhall Chevette 1256cc 1982 Y reg Hatchback
This must be the most reliable Chevette ever made - 8 years with no big problems, just kept starting up every day without fail.
I love this car to bits because it was the first car i ever drove and it had rear wheel drive and thats about it, but what fun it was to drive in the snow!!.
I finally drove the car to the scrap to get rid of it because finding parts was a nightmare when my indicators stop working.
I believe the was repaired and put back on the road.
If anyone knows where the car is, or if you know anyone with a red chevette registration number
JRO29Y please let me know
it would mean a lot to me
That was the advertising slogan when Vauxhall launched the Chevette back in the 70's. This was the first non imported hatchback to hit UK markets and it sold like hot cakes in its flexible hatch format. Before we go any further however let me just position this opinion. It is designed to be a reflection on this car in its time, ie the mid 70's, when it was a break from the tradition of the "three box" saloon car. In this way it provides some reference for motoring enthusiasts and historians to understand what the car meant at the time. It is also to highlight considerations for people who are buying these vehicles now either for budget motor sport, first cars for reckless teenagers, or the odd enthusiast who like to restore vehicles from particular era's. Based on Vauxhall Viva HC, 4 cylinder 1256cc mechanicals and in traditional rear wheel drive it behaved in exactly the same way as the Viva in terms of acceleration, speed and roadholding. MPG was always good on these cars and although I cant recall mpg figurs for the Chevette I often used to get high thirties on my 1159cc Viva (first car!) The one advantage of this is if you are buying one now, maybe to do some kind of motor sport, they are dead simple to work on and its suprisingly easy to uprate the power with a simple camshaft, carb, and exhaust upgrade. From a suspension perspective the independant front suspension and coil sprung rear make for a good ride and again can easliy be uprated for motor sport. What made the Chevette different however was the styling. As I have said this was really the first domestic hatchback and the advertising featured heavilly its flexibility for everyone from the housewife loading her shopping to the weekend sportsman stowing his gear in the easy access load area. One of the main things however which sold the Chevette was the revolutionary (then!) sloping, droop
snoot styled front, however this also provided excellent water traps behind the headlights which could easily turn to rust, and very often did. This front end styling treatment came straight from the GM design studios and the influential Wayne Cherry, who also designed the Droop Snoot Firenza, Cavalier, and Firebird. The car, however, was never destined to be around for a long time as the demand for front wheel drive super hatches was already anticipated and Vauxhall were busy designing the Astra. Therefore it was never really upgraded or invested in. It was a market taker and filler. We had one as firstly my sisters and then my wifes car and it was ok apart from the headlight rust and horrible seats. Mechanically it was well tried and bomb proof being based on an engine and running gear which in several size formats had been around since 1964. We sold ours on, with lots of miles on the clock and no service history, and it gave the new owner excellent service until it eventually expired under the wheels of an articulated lorry in Switzerland. Where the Chevette did make an impact however was on the Rally scene where the 2.3 litre engine was shoe horned in and a very nice body kit was fitted. Penti Arikella and the dealer team Vauxhall crew pretty much dominated international rallying for a couple of years. The special edition road legal Chevette HSR 2.3 is well worth buying as a future investment and its also a lot of fun to drive, however beware of home made body kit copies.
The Vauxhall Chevette is a car which is too outdated to stand comparison with a modern car, and too slow and without the charisma be a classic. Cars have moved on in the last 20 years in many ways. The day to day reliability has improved enormously with fuel injection and electronic engine management even if it does cost a fortune if it ever does go wrong. The passive safety (air bags, ABS, side impact bars, improved crumple zones etc), security (deadlocks, immobilisers). I owned a Chevette when it was 6 years old with about 50,000 miles. At that time, there was a fair amount of rust coming through behind the headlights. It was on its third engine and second gear box. I had the saloon which had a fairly big boot, but which wasn't particularly flexible. The rear seat in the hatchback folded, but it didn't fold flat and the load space was a lot more cramped than with the equivalent modern supermini. The 1256cc engine was never a ball of fire. The top speed was 90mph. With rear wheel drive, it was fun to drive in the snow or around a gravelly car park, but the handling was too soggy, with lots of understeer to be much fun on a country lane. With a four speed gearbox, cruising on motorways wasn't quiet. Good things about it are that its easy to repair, with lots of space to get at the engine and it was reasonably comfortable on long journeys, but I don't think I'll be buying another. Modern cars are much more practical.