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Vauxhall Chevette, a kind of Opel Kadett

Vauxhall Chevette
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Vauxhall, a sort of Opel

In 1980, General Motors had decided that the once illustrious brand would only be delivered to the inhabitants of Portugal, Greece and England. And that was of course because at that time Vauxhall and Opel delivered the same cars under the boldly waving GM banner. And outside of England the Vauxhalls were seen as second-choice Opels.

And that detracts from the history of the brand. And says a lot about the reputation of the British automobile industry at the beginning of the 80 years.


In 1857, Alexander Wilson started manufacturing marine engines

He called his company Vauxhall Iron Works. That 'Vauxhall' has a very historical background. He left the company in 1892 and the new owners also decided to produce cars. Despite the good sales, in 1925 the management agreed to the acquisition proposal of the American automobile group General Motors (GM).

From the 1963s on, Vauxhall started to work more intensively with another GM subsidiary: Opel. In 1975 the Vauxhall Viva, an Opel Kadett clone, was introduced. The Vauxhall Firenza followed in XNUMX, which in turn looked a lot like the Opel Manta. To avoid confusion, Vauxhalls were only sold in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries.

And the Vauxhall Chevette?

That was just a cut Kadett. In tests from its time, the Chevette comes off well. And that good test results would be related to the strong desire to please importers because they would then work better with their advertisements? Oh well ... That won't be?

But just as well, the Chevette was part of GM's plan to make 'world cars'. Cars that could be sold under different names in almost identical versions in different countries. The Chrysler, Sunbeam, Talbot, Dodge and Plymouth thought had happened from the same train of thought. Just think of the 'Horizons' that went into oblivion hidden behind various brand emblems.

T cars

At GM the plan already started in 1970 when they came up with a platform at GM that could conquer the world with the same suspension and drive. And that the T-car would have the engine at the front and the drive at the rear? That seemed obvious to everyone. Despite the global approach, the entire project was actually developed at Opel. In 1972 the car was presented in Brazil as a Chevrolet Chevette.

Standardization in the British way

The men at Vauxhall tackled the approach of a global standard concept in a British way: they sawed off an 25 cm from the back and molded a hatchback to the butt. Evil tongues called that an attempt to bring the newcomer back to the dimensions of the first generation Vivaatjes, so much appreciated by the British.

Apparently there were plans to make the car even shorter. But they would ensure that the occupants would become part of a substantial part of the crumple zones. The platform has also been modified to accommodate the 1300 cc Vauxhall engine and gearbox. The Chevette was given its own face by the adjustments. Because of the short butt, the nose seemed longer and therefore the Chevette 'looked' like the much more potent Firenza. That was done cleverly. Opel lovingly adopted the idea for the Kadett.

In 1980, the Chevette started to get a bit dated. The Polo and the Fiesta had meanwhile appeared and the new Opels had become front-wheel drivers.

Vauxhall Chevettes are endearing, wonderfully dated and slightly stubborn classics. Good specimens are not expensive. Except when it concerns the (double) muscular sports versions.

Vauxhall Chevette

Vauxhall Chevette

8 Comments

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  1. Hello editorial,
    It strikes me that the comments are no longer displayed for a few days.
    It does state how many comments there are.
    This for your information 🙂

    I read Auto Motor Klassiek love it since 92.

    Greetings!

    • I still have an airbag from a Vauxhall GT6.
      comes from my company car, which has been “badge engineer”.
      is still for sale (for little)
      greetings, anthony.

  2. Once had a real English two-seater, a Bedford Chevanne.
    Vauxhall engine was rotten, Opel 1.2S engine and bucket boarded, everyone said it was possible, but no one had tried it. Ridden along for quite some time, until the rust struck.

  3. In the 80s once again an Ascona 1600 with bucket spooned into a 1300 Chevette.
    English 1300 rear axle, shortened drive axle and redundant first gear….

    Those were that days ………

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