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Homepage. This page: Two examples of the Mk1 Vauxhall Cavalier of the 1970s.
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Vauxhall Cavalier Mk1.

Unlike many of the cars featured in the image archive section, I well remember Mk1 Cavaliers being everywhere when I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. The Cavalier was Vauxhall's rival to the likes of the Ford Cortina and the Morris Marina, and made its debut in 1975. It shared much of its design with GM's Opel Ascona, the front end in particular sharing the family look of the Opel Manta, and the smaller Vauxhall Chevette, with its sloping headlamps and radiator intake beneath the front bumper.
The following photos turned up with a collection of film star autographs that I bought some years ago. They had been collected by the lady who is shown with the Cavalier in some of the snaps. Presumably her and her husband were keen on Vauxhall Cavaliers as they owned at least a pair of them, in Mk1 form. Photos 1-4 show an R-registration (1976) example, finished in green metallic. Being a lowly "L" version (higher-spec variants were the LS, GL, and GLS), presumably the metallic paint was an extra-cost option. The registration itself is quite distinctive - RLR 1R - and lives on applied to a modern Nissan. I doubt that the Vauxhall was so fortunate. Signs that this was a basic-spec Cavalier include the fitment of a door mirror to the driver's side only, and a lack of head rests. It does though have a radio aerial fitted, so in-car tunes were at least available. This page describes the radio options that were available to Vauxhall car buyers in the mid-1970s.
Here, the proud pipe-smoking owner is stood with his green machine. Note the pebble-dash garage in the background, the Vauxhall's home during their ownership I expect.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Vauxhall Cavalier Mk1 in green
Now the lady of the house takes her turn to pose for a photo alongside the Vauxhall. Note the jaunty angle of the wheels.
Another view of the Mk1 Cavalier L
The final photo of RLR 1R is a rear-three-quarter view of the car. While unlikely to set too many hearts a-racing, the Mk1 was a neatly-styled offering from the GM stable, and sold well against rivals from Europe and further afield. Being a fairly early example of the Mk1, it has the script "Cavalier" badge on its bootlid.
Rear view
The evidence here suggests that the couple were happy with their green car, for it appears to have been replaced by a later, V-registration, 1.6 litre example (LLR 789V). Intriguingly, this 1980 example is still registered with DVLA although hasn't been taxed since 1996. Is it still out there somewhere? Or was it scrapped and DVLA (or DVLC as it was known then) not notified? This white example has a red interior. Things were looking up as, unlike on the green car, it does have a passenger door mirror, although head rests remain absent. A close look at both cars reveals few detail differences at the front, the badge though on the 1976 car is red with a silver surround, while that on the later example is red only, coincidentally matching the interior and the pinstriping down either side. Written along the bottom edge of the front numberplate is the supplying dealer's name, which looks to be Bristol Street Motors.
LLR 789V is parked in almost the same position as RLR 1R when it was photographed. By now though the garage and the 1930s home in the background had both been given a re-paint.
1980 Cavalier Mk1 front view
My final Cavalier photo in this set shows the white Mk1 parked outside a then-modern bungalow. Were the Vauxhall's owners just visiting friends perhaps, or had they chosen to dispel with the constant upkeep of a 1930s semi and instead downsize to a much more modern bungalow? The Cavalier's bootlid shows the later style of bootlid badge that was standard fitment towards the end of Mk1 production.
Rear view of the 1980 white Mk1
Return to Page 21 in the motoring image archive, or visit the main index of vintage & classic photographs here, where there are thousands of original vintage and classic car images to view, including many featuring Vauxhalls of all ages.

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