Vauxhall Cavalier memories from Luton News readers on 40th anniversary of Mk2 launch

'It is sad that so many have now disappeared from the roads'

By Steve Sims
Thursday, 30th September 2021, 10:48 am

Readers have been eager to send in their photos and fond recollections of owning Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2s, on the 40th anniversary of the car's launch.

As we previously reported, three of the vehicles were going on display in The Mall Luton on September 23 to commemorate exactly four decades since the release of what has been described as "the most important car in the company’s history".

The Vauxhall Cavalier and Chevette Club’s chairman Kevin Bricknall said: “The Cavalier Mk2 was a major success for Vauxhall, it took the fight to Ford who launched the new Sierra in 1982 and stole a match on it as it was front wheel drive while the Sierra was rear wheel drive.

“The car was such a success that they ended up building left hand drive Opel Ascona C models at Luton for shipping to the continent.”

When production stopped in 1988 the car reappeared in the UK market in 1995 as the Daweoo Espero and lasted until 1997.

> Paul Schneider (see photo in gallery) told us: "This was me washing our much loved Aug 1, 1982 1.3 (4 speed manual), Suzie. She was the first car I ever cried about. I was born Nov 12,1978 and this car was sat gleaming facing me some night before we had her… being under 4yrs old I cried that we couldn’t take it home that night. Dad had just two choices, this Smoke Blue example or Peppermint Green (he chose blue as a metallic was so hard to match back then).

"The car was brought up the street on a low loader before Aug 1 as the dealer had run out of space. She sat across the road reversed inside a neighbours driveway opposite. I can remember being sat in her, making a face out of the dashboard- the ashtray opened down and the FM MW LW stereo had chrome ringed round controls for Vol (left) and tuning (right). The orange hazard button was the nose of this friendly imaginary face. Dad took us around the block on Aug 1 1982 as now legal to use a Y plate car. Shirley Bassey Goldfinger was on the radio, at which point dad suddenly remembered he hadn’t put his tax disc up! So we quickly turned round within a mile of the house.

"The pic was taken in Summer 1987. The rear hubcap is missing as dad was rotating the spare wheel as he resprayed the wheels silver (yeah, we lost the black Griffin on the centre hubcaps sadly). After 6 years and 60 odd thousand miles there was too much rot. I’m blessed with a crazy memory down to the interior smell of that car new. Dad used to say “she eats hills” and I remember so many things. We parted on Aug 1 1988 when dad traded her in for a car he regretted (a Citroen BX that cost pretty much what the 5 door LX 6 month old Cavaliers on an E plate - both with lacquer peel on their sprayed front grilles. On paper the Citroen was a no brainier.

"I vividly remember the night before and day - my final journey. I can see it now - that dash with the face, with the analogue clock. Dad had used a damp chamois to clean the dash and this left a water drip mark from the central knob to adjust the clock, down to 6 o’clock. Funny the things I remember. By the time that car went it had had new valve springs when quite new and a key for every lock - each front door, the boot, ignition and even fuel cap! Ironically by age 6 she was burning oil and so ironically our Smoke Blue Cavalier did indeed emit some blue smoke lol. I’d love nothing more than to drive a Mk2 Cavalier one day. Maybe one day."

> Tim Dawes (see photos in gallery) said: "I was working in the Marketing Department at Kimpton Road as an apprentice until September 1981. Ironically I left 2 weeks before the launch date but remember Kimpton Road being shut as there was a press shot of around 15 Cavalier models spread across the width of the road heading towards the factory from the West (town centre end)

"I went on to work for Hamilton Motors in Maida Vale, London and sold hundreds of new and used models up to September 1988 when the Mk3 was launched. This car certainly changed the company's fortunes with its impact in the fleet sector. I know many people remember them as their family car or company vehicle and mostly with fond memories of how well they drove and for their reliability & durability

"Considering the volumes that were sold, consistently in the top 10 Sales charts for nearly seven years, it is sad that so many have now disappeared from the roads. I've owned my current Cavalier for 24 years and still use it in the summer, a rare 1.8i Convertible model available from April 86 to September 88. The car was sold new in Bedfordshire by Watkins of Biggleswade in August 87. Sadly they ceased trading approximately 20 years ago. These models were converted by a company named Hammond & Thiede, based on the 2 dr which was only originally available as a Saloon car for the first year of production."

Click through our online gallery to see all of our readers' photos.

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