1983 Vauxhall Chevette L 1.3 from UK and Ireland
A unique little car, not fast, but still fun
Condenser packed up at 83k, £3.00 fix.
Currently in the middle of a full brake overhaul, full system plus lines are being replaced. Cost over £300 so far!
Rust in rear chassis legs mean welding required for next MoT.
Headlights corroded, rebuilt using good spares.
Horn feeble, so replaced with twin horns from Senator GSi. Scare the locals.
I love driving this car. After driving a 'modern' car, this feels so basic. It is literally four wheels and an engine.
It's certainly not the fastest thing I've driven with a whole 55BHP at the wheels, but rear wheel drive and frosty weather make for lots of fun on roundabouts!
Mechanically, its as tough as old boots, lovely simple construction and very easy to fix when it goes wrong. Doesn't burn any oil, easy to service and parts are cheap. 1256cc of throbbing power could be uprated by fitting a Weber 28/32 carb, so I'm on the hunt for one now.
Gearbox is very precise and direct with a nice mechanical feeling, you can really tell when the gears engage! However synchro on 2nd is a bit tired, a common fault with these cars, and when its cold 1st and 2nd don't seem to be in the box at all - again a common fault. Really would need a rebuild to be right.
Bodywise, I have seen lots of very rusty cars, but mine has been Ziebarted from new so very little rust at all. Just the usual suspects like rear arches are starting to go and bottoms of door skins.
The interior is great with old style sprung seats, bit different to the Astra. Very comfortable on longer runs, you actually sit in the seats rather than on them - a problem I find with many modern cars. Basic dashboard, simple instruments, but everything still works even after 21 years.
Overall a hugely fun and very cheap car to buy and fix, although the brake overhaul has cost me more than it cost to buy the car. Very rewarding and relaxing to drive, but could benefit from a 5th gear. I'm gonna keep this one, looking for an HS next!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 23rd April, 2004