1975 Vauxhall Chevette L 1.3 from UK and Ireland
Summary: went for 7 years with not a problem
Small unburstable automatic gearbox.
Slow and gutless, and small interior and boot.
Back thirty years ago, the British motor industry was in crisis. Factory after factory were closing, strikes happening every week, people had had enough of being taken to the cleaners by car company’s. They called the UK the Golden Isles as you could fob off the British public with any old rubbish and charge the earth for it.
In this atmosphere, Vauxhall, the British Empire only arm of GM, the American giant of inefficiency, was on its last legs. The Viva was dead in the water, a replacement was needed and fast. A simple hatch body was stuck on the Viva, It was called the Chevette. What the Metro was to be to BL a few years later, the Chevette was to Vauxhall - it's last hope.
Being patriotic, and wanting an automatic gearbox small car was not easy in the mid seventies, there was not much around. But we knew the owner of our local garage. He recommended the Chevette, so we purchased a brand new model in White with a red interior.
It had a 1256cc 56hp 4cyl engine straight from the Viva. This gave poor to adequate performance, an 80mph top speed and 0-60 time of 20 seconds, as well as 30ish mpg. In those day’s petrol was less than 90p a gallon, so consumption was not interesting. The car had failsafe handling and magazines at the time used to rave about it - no body roll to speak of.
It could fit 4 at a squeeze, but the boot was very small as it had the spare wheel in it. Later, the saloon Chevettes were introduced with a particularly big boot, but this was not one of them.
It produced reliable and cheap motoring without excitement for some 8 years. Nothing ever went wrong or needed doing to it. The only interesting thing that happened was when it was reversed into a ditch, and was pulled out by a Police Range Rover. Traded in, it was for a Ford Sierra in the early eighties. It is going to be very hard to find one now.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th July, 2006