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History of the Vauxhall Chevette

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May 1975 The Chevette was introduced with 3 door hatchback body styling in Basic and L models. Powered by an improved version of the 1256cc OHV Viva engine and using a similar 4 speed gearbox. All models fitted with independent front suspension, rack and pinion steering and servo assisted, dual circuit brakes. Standard equipment at launch included 2 speed fan, radial tyres, reversing lamps, heated rear window, and reclining front seats.
November 1975 GL model introduced with higher level of trim and sports type road wheels fitted with 175 x 70 SR tyres. The new GL model's higher level of trim included a new centre console and doors with carpeting and storage pockets. It also had bumper overriders.
January 1976 Limited edition E model introduced with full specification, but black rubber surrounds to glass areas, revised brightwork, and vynide (plastic) seats.
April 1976 Hatchback models continued, but base model now becomes L with cloth upholstery, L becomes GL and GL becomes GLS with velour upholstery.
June 1976 2 door and 4 door Saloon versions introduced in E and L models. GLS in 4 door only. Mechanical specification similar to Hatchback versions. E model without reclining front seats, L model with cloth upholstery and reclining front seats. GLS model with velour upholstery, clock, cigar lighter and bonnet light.
September 1976 Estate car L model introduced with similar specification to Saloon model.

Bedford Chevanne Van produced. Similar to the Estate, but without back rear windows.
November 1976 The Chevette HS was announced to take on the international world of rallying. The utilisation of a twin-cam 16-valve version of the 2279cc Slant Four engine made this a blisteringly fast little car. The many rallying successes which followed the car's introduction are a testament to it's performance.

Apart from the 16-valve engine, other notable features of the HS are its full front airdam, black and tartan interior trim and additional instrumentation. Specialist versions of the HS such as the HS-X, complete with walnut trimmed interior, and the Panther Westwinds built single-cam turbo were both produced in very limited numbers.
January 1977 Hatchback E model introduced with similar specification to saloon model.
January 1978 HS 3 door hatchback introduced with 2279cc engine, 5 speed close-ratio gearbox, uprated brakes and suspension, and full rally equipment.
October 1978 GL 4 door saloon model introduced with similar specification to Hatchback.

Hatchback GL model fitted with sports type alloy wheels, additional bright trim around the windows, and a matt-black rear panel.

GLS saloon discontinued.
September 1979 All models revised with flush fitting headlamps, restyled seats, front door pockets, additional facia vents, new badging, rear fog lamp, and, on GL models only, protective side mouldings.

Automatic transmission available as an optional extra on L and GL models.
April 1980 Estate model E introduced with mechanical specification similar to L model. Lower level of interior trim aimed mainly at the fleet market. Limited edition 'Special' 2 and and 4 door versions available, based on the L versions.

The Chevette HSR was introduced, intended as an evolution of the original HS. It retained the original HS FIA recognition number 649.

As in the case of the HS, many specialist parts were homologated for the rally HSR. Highly modified competition cars could produce in excess of 240 bhp from their long stroke 2.6 litre engines and these proved to be among the most competitive all-round rally cars.
June 1980 Limited edition 'Sun Hatch' 2 door saloon introduced. It had a tilting glass sunroff, tinted glass and radio as standard.
October 1980 ES Hatchback 3 door and ES Saloon 2 door introduced with similar mechanical specification to E models, but lower standard of equipment and trim. The new ES models had vinyl trim, fitted carpet and 2 speed wipers.

E model improved with plaid cloth upholstery.

L model gained a radio, quartz clock etc.

GL model given front head restraints, radio and a load compartment cover for Hatchback.
May 1981 Limited edition 'Black Pearl' introduced based on ES model. Black paintwork with silver 'Strobe' stripes.
January 1982 Limited edition 'Silhouette' introduced based on ES hatchback. Black paintwork with 'Strobe' stripes.
September 1982 Chevette range reduced to L and GL Saloons and Hatchbacks and L estate.

All models fitted with laminated windowscreen and L models fitted with push button radio instead of manually tuned.
August 1983 2 door and GL versions now discontinued.
1984 A sad day - all Chevette models are discontinued. A total of 415,608 Chevettes were produced apparently.

This is all the information we've found so far. If you know anything extra, or you've spotted a mistake please let us know!, and we'll update this page.

15 Jan 2005:

Lots of info added/updated thanks to an informative email from Chris Bird.

Extra data taken from: Parker's Car Price Guide (July 1987), Motorists Guide (August 1987), Vauxhall - the Postwar Years (Trevor Alder).

21 Nov 1999:

Added info about Chevette HS from the Droop Snoot HS page.
Added info about Chevette HSR from the Droop Snoot HSR page.


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