Wednesday June 26, 2019
‘Filling up can take a while’, remarks Jason Himpson of his 1980-model Cavalier 1600L, for this, is a classic that attracts attention at virtually every filling station or supermarket car park.
One reason, of course, is because it is a prime example of this key Vauxhall of the 1970s – but also because two-door versions of medium-sized and large saloons is a form of automotive life that seemed to disappear in the 1980s. Jason points out ‘ I believe that two-door saloons were available throughout the production run of the Mk. 1 Cavalier from 1975 to 1981’.
By 1979 there was even a limited edition “Silver Special” Cavalier two-door with metallic paint, a push-button radio and even a ‘passenger door mirror’ but, as with its Ford Cortina Mk. IV rival, the four-door version made greater economic sense.
As Jason notes, the owner could enjoy greater versatility for comparatively little additional outlay. In 1976 a four-door 1600L cost just £76 more than the two-door; a reasonable sum even by the standards of the day.
Today, any first-generation Cavaliers is now an unusual sight, let alone in two-door guise, while another reason why the Himpson Vauxhall turns heads is the fact that she is an “L”. This was the entry-level model – although Luton did consider offering a “Cavalier E” sans a heated rear window and chrome trim – and forty years ago, many a driver aspired to take the wheel of a GL company car.
You can just imagine an ambitious type watching this advertisement for the GLS as he/she charted their route to corporate success - while their ultimate goal was the Sportshatch.
Jason’s Cavalier is ‘ probably a 79 built car, but it was registered in March 1980. It's largely original too - I've done some work to it such as new front wings, but most of it is untouched, and the interior hasn't had anything done to it’.
The result is a Vauxhall that is more effective time warp than many an episode of Doctor Who, and that is how Jason likes his 1600L – ‘to keep it as it should be rather than make it into something that it isn't’.
Today, LVF 570 V is a fascinating reminder of a time when The Jam’s Going Underground was topping the chart. And when a motorist was grateful to be issued the keys to a saloon with “Bright Plaid” cloth upholstery, two-speed wipers, electric windscreen washers and a “2 spoke sports steering wheel” as standard equipment.
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