1983 Vauxhall Chevette Reviews

1983 Vauxhall Chevette L 1.3 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1983
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired81170 miles
Most recent distance85273 miles
Previous carVauxhall Astra

Summary:

A unique little car, not fast, but still fun

Faults:

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.

General Comments:

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

1983 Vauxhall Chevette L 1.3 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1983
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10
Distance when acquired25200 miles
Most recent distance46000 miles
Previous carFord Fiesta

Summary:

A brilliant, quick and reliable car

Faults:

The tick over speed needed adjusting slightly in the winter.

When I first got the car the exhaust was rusty and needed to be replaced.

My Hairdresser put a small dent in the wing.

I snapped an anti-roll bar link bar while cornering a bit hard.

General Comments:

The car is quick for its age. I've had it up to 105mph (on a private road of course).

Most Chevettes suffer from rust. However I must say my Chevette is in a rust-free condition.

This car sticks to the road like glue. I took a 90 degree corner just the other day at 50mph and the tires just gripped perfectly. That did, however snap the anti-roll bar link bar, but at £5 to replace... Who cares?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th March, 2004

20th Mar 2004, 07:15

I agree with your concerns about hairdressers. I never let mine go near my car.

9th May 2006, 16:45

I am a hairdresser with a beautiful 1979 automatic chevette in racing brown. ONE small dent; could have been been your ear. Any way jokes aside, I have realy looked after mine except for the neighbours children jumping all over it and causing a couple of dents.

1983 Vauxhall Chevette L 1.3 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1983
First year of ownership1995
Most recent year of ownership1997
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired65000 miles
Most recent distance80000 miles

Summary:

The best car ever

Faults:

Role bar attachment pins broke. Cheap to fix using scrap yard parts.

Carb diaphram broke. Very cheap to fix.

Needed welding for MOT.

Thermostat needed replacing.

No other problems. The car cost nothing to run.

General Comments:

This was my first car and so my judgement is slightly clouded, but I loved this car. It had loads of room and a large boot. It was cheap to run and fun to drive. Unfortunately is was soluble in water and I had to scrap it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th April, 2003

Average review marks: 7.7 / 10, based on 3 reviews