RE: Vauxhall Cavalier 1.6L: Spotted

RE: Vauxhall Cavalier 1.6L: Spotted

Saturday 3rd February

Vauxhall Cavalier 1.6L: Spotted

Once the fleet sector's darling, the Cavalier is now extremely rare. Is it worth getting in while they're cheap?



"Why on Earth is there a Cavalier here?" you might ask. "All I have to do is go out into the car park. I can spot one there!" Well, go ahead. I have a cup of coffee here. I can wait. Did you find one? No? They're no longer there, are they?

So, what of the old Cavalier? Well, Vauxhall had made a killing with the previous generation car when the Sierra came out, which looked like an upturned bathtub with wheels. The brave new Ford was a little too much to take for the conservative tastes of the reps that had to drive them. The Mk2 Cavalier was much more in keeping with what they were used to, and it leapt ahead in the sales charts.


When this Mk3 Cavalier was being designed, aerodynamics was becoming cool, thanks in no small part to the Audi 100. The old Cavalier's 0.37 coefficient of drag was akin to dragging the anchor of the QE2 behind you every time you popped to the shops; so the new car would feature a much more streamlined look. After 1,500 hours of wind tunnel testing, the engineers managed to get the drag factor down to 0.29, much better than the Sierra managed a few years earlier.

The driving experience leaves something to be desired, but it was designed for stomping up and down motorways. It errs on the side of safety rather than try to outdo rivals, such as the Peugeot 405, with their fine ride/handling balance. The safety theme was carried through to the advertising for the car; I remember seeing adverts in the 90s of various facelifted Cavaliers smashing into various immovable objects accompanied to Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer - mind, I think that was in response to the Ford Mondeo that had a driver's airbag fitted as standard.


So why should you buy this one? When you look at the car, it's amazing to think that someone would have bought a repmobile and only cover 13,168 miles in it. This could therefore be the lowest mileage Cavalier in the UK since Vauxhall's own late-model V6 has done more miles than that. The car even comes on the original tyres that were fitted at the factory (although the advert warns that if you want to press the car into regular service, you'll need to fit fresh tread).

90s cars are a dying breed, unfortunately. They were just viewed as tools and not potential classics. In a weird way, there are fewer survivors of these than there are of much older and cruder cars. And while it may not be that exciting to drive, there are, after all, a lot of people out there who've owned Cavaliers - some of them may even be reading this now - who have stories to share about them.


SPECIFICATION - 1990 VAUXHALL CAVALIER 1.6L

Engine: 1,598cc, four-cylinder
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 84@5,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 94@2,600rpm
MPG: 34.1 mpg
CO2: Plenty
First registered: April 1990
Recorded mileage: 13,168 miles
Price new: £8,738
Yours for: £2,995

See the original advert here.

 

 

Author
Discussion

Howrare

Original Poster:

147 posts

138 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
In answer to the question. No. Hateful things

simonwedge

725 posts

112 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
I worked at Perrys in Doncaster selling these when they new. Even with that connection I'm afraid I can't muster much enthusiasm for them - although a GSi 2000 4x4 might be a touch more interesting.

Coincidentally, I now own a TVR Griffith and this uses various parts from these Cavaliers, including rear lights (SRi model tinted versions though) and steering column etc. As you might expect, a knock on effect of the scarcity of these cars is that these parts are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

SidewaysSi

4,435 posts

166 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
I started driving when I was 11 and it was the first car I ever drove - a 2.0 GLI saloon auto in Rembrandt Silver.

My dad used to work for Vauxhall so would pick up cheap used company cars - we had lots of Cavaliers, Astras and Novas growing up.

I always loved the look of the MK2 SRI 130 in white with the white wheels.

How things have changed.

Jimmy Recard

14,636 posts

111 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
I still see probably one or two a day. There are more Cavaliers around here than Sierras for sure.

The same for Vectras and Mondeos

AlexC1981

2,905 posts

149 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
SidewaysSi said:
I always loved the look of the MK2 SRI 130 in white with the white wheels.
I don't blame you, that's a nice looking car. It must have be down to wind tunnels making all those 90s cars look like blobs.


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Hub

3,885 posts

130 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
There might be some people who get excited or nostalgic about a Cavalier - but even they might struggle with the base model!

Alucidnation

8,683 posts

102 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
Back in 1992, I had a 1.7D as a company car with a massive 60bhp which was massively under powered for the size of car.

However, it used to do about eleventy billion MPG and we even got all the way to the south of France in it on one tank of fuel.

hehe

BigGriff540

245 posts

74 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
Give me the Mk1 or Mk2 any day but the Mk3 was a horrible thing!

Next...

Davie

2,294 posts

147 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
I've had numerous SRi's, a GSi and owned a 4x4 Turbo for about 18 years.

They're not that interesting to drive, pretty lifeless to be honest but they were always the sort of cars that could take a serious amount of abuse and they were very very cheap to buy, fix and run so they did appeal.

I also had a complete standard, very tired 1.6L with faded grey bumpers, 15" rusty steel wheels and a towbar however a mate had fitted an SRi130 engine and gearbox, a damn fast SRi130 engine at that plus decent suspension, big brakes and R888 tyres and whilst not the fastest thing in a straight line, it could get itself along pretty bloody fast much to the surprise of many things.

Great car, rust killed it as it did many of them... as an self confessed fan, would I have another...

No

g7jhp

5,563 posts

170 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
Why £2,995 to buy and then you have to tax and insure it.

No chance of getting your money back.

Not cool, not iconic.

Dry January seems to continuing witg February content!

TooMany2cvs

26,644 posts

58 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
Grand's worth of car, two grand's worth of white-sheet photography.

s m

16,602 posts

135 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
I'd want a V6, GSi or SRi 16v or Turbo I think but a decent one would be more than this one nowadays

I've driven these as pool cars and they're good motorway manglers

Daninoxon

7 posts

40 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
We had two when I was younger - 1989 F plate 1.6l and a 1992 J plate 1.6gl which had the rear head rests which was a big thing back in the day. As others have said not the most exciting to drive but they put up with a lot of stick (especially from 18 year old me), only ever seemed to need exhausts & alternators. My mate got a red H reg sri and on the day he got it brought it into town to show us, whilst we were in the pub it got nicked - we came out of the pub to see it fly past and get air going straight over the roundabout, think it got a burnt out and my mate could not afford to insure anything tasty again (he did have the fittest girlfriend at the time so our simpathy was short lived!). My mk 2 gli had 14 owners on the V5 when I got it, big dent where you rest your right elbow and well over 180k but just kept going. I saw a new insignia on the road only last week and at time remember thinking what are Vauxhall up to producing that automotive dross.

BeirutTaxi

6,357 posts

146 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
Would rather have a new, current shape Astra.

SidewaysSi

4,435 posts

166 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
BeirutTaxi said:
Would rather have a new, current shape Astra.
And I would rather have a Caterham R500. With sequential box. And aeroscreen.

SidewaysSi

4,435 posts

166 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
AlexC1981 said:
SidewaysSi said:
I always loved the look of the MK2 SRI 130 in white with the white wheels.
I don't blame you, that's a nice looking car. It must have be down to wind tunnels making all those 90s cars look like blobs.

That's the one! I remember as a kid walking around the Shawn Kilburn dealership in Luton wanting the SRI.

Dad ended up with a 1.8 GLSi saloon in Orient Blue. It was a rocketship for me!

sideways man

520 posts

69 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
Performance always seemed variable in these. In my days as a mechanic we looked after two 1.8 SR's. Both repmobiles, same age and condition. One went like a scalded cat, the other didn't like to rev at all. No idea why......

Agent XXX

1,066 posts

38 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
To give you an example of JUST how horrible these things were, my late grandfather was a loyal Vauxhall fan (he was superb in every other respect) and when time came to change his old one (V plate prefix) he tried one of these.......................and went for a Rover 213s instead as it was 'better' eek

SidewaysSi

4,435 posts

166 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
Agent XXX said:
To give you an example of JUST how horrible these things were, my late grandfather was a loyal Vauxhall fan (he was superb in every other respect) and when time came to change his old one (V plate prefix) he tried one of these.......................and went for a Rover 213s instead as it was 'better' eek
Sounds like he was not someone to trust. He should have tried a BMW instead - he would definitely have gone for that.

TooMany2cvs

26,644 posts

58 months

Saturday 3rd February
quotequote all
Agent XXX said:
To give you an example of JUST how horrible these things were, my late grandfather was a loyal Vauxhall fan (he was superb in every other respect) and when time came to change his old one (V plate prefix) he tried one of these.......................and went for a Rover 213s instead as it was 'better' eek
I assume you mean V suffix (Aug 79-Jul 80, so a RWD Mk1 Cav/Ascona B) - V prefix (Sept 99-Feb 00) was well into Vectra B era.