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As regular visitors to Caught in the Classifieds will by now have gathered, we have a love of old motors. Now a 32-year-old Vauxhall saloon may not be everyone’s idea of a dream classic. I can almost sense the words ‘dull’ and ‘boring’ forming on your lips as you read this. Hold on, though: for us, the fact that this car is such a survivor is what makes it interesting to us. Time was, you couldn’t spend more than a few moments in the quickest lane of the M1 motorway without one of these appearing in your rear view mirror, driven by one of an army of sales reps who back then criss-crossed the country in the name of commerce.
Of its era it was among the country’s top-sellers. But when, aside from here, did you last see one on the road? Almost all went to the scrappers decades ago. This one escaped, though, surviving in the hands of just three owners and covering just 16,000 miles – fewer than 500 miles per year. It’s advertised for sale on Autoweb.co.uk courtesy of our friends at Knightcott Motors of Weston-super-mare.
Looking over this Cav, it’s quite something to appreciate just how basic cars were back then. This 1.6L is one engine size and also a trim level up from the bottom of the model tree. Even so, adjustment of door mirrors and lowering of windows is achieved using knobs and winders. There don’t appear to be any rear seat belts (not a requirement when this car was new) and instrumentation is limited to a speedo, fuel and water temp gauges.
In short, it has everything a car needs, no more and no less. That cabin is roomy, though and from what we remember of Vauxhall seats from that era, they’re pretty comfy. The car’s ‘waist’ is lower than you’d see on this car’s modern descendants, leaving a big glass area, while the slim windscreen pillars allow for a clearer view at junctions than do the great thick things you encounter in many a newer motor.
The boot is huge and pleasingly square-shaped, too, while all-round body rubbing strips and simple wheels help fend off supermarket trolley dings and against-kerb scrapes.
In short, we like this car a lot. We’d hope, too, that whoever snaps it up would want to use it daily. The next owner will likely as not be a Vauxhall enthusiast and so the temptation would be to lock this car away, to be seen only as classic car shows and adding only the most modest of miles to its tiny total. That, for us, would be a shame: use it daily, and enjoy.
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