COMING TO AUCTION
WEDNESDAY 25th NOVEMBER 2015
EASTERS COURT, LEOMINSTER, HR6 0DE
1978 VAUXHALL CHEVETTE LH
|Estimate||£2,200 - £2,500|
|Description||Vauxhall Chevette LH|
|Engine size||1,256 cc|
|Documents||V5C; MOT October 2016|
GM's product planners weren’t slow to spot the popularity of the new breed of ‘hatchback’ models, the practicality and convenience demonstrated by the brilliant Fiat 127 and Renault 5 showing the way and winning many friends across all European markets.
They quickly got to work on their new ‘T’ programme, using the excellent Opel Kadett as a basis for a small sub-Viva hatchback that could be sold across all markets. The resulting Chevette was eventually badged as an Opel, Holden, Pontiac, Chevrolet and Vauxhall, its front-end styling mimicking the distinctive ‘droop-snoot’ Firenza.
The home-grown Vauxhall version was launched in 1975, production of the early cars taking place in Luton before being moved to the Government-supported factory at Ellesmere Port. The basic Chevette sold for £1,593 and became the best-selling hatchback in the UK for three years on the trot, stealing a march on the Ford Fiesta which didn’t hit the market until a year later, and the Metro which was a full five years behind. Such was its success that saloon, estate and ‘Chevanne’ versions quickly followed, the model taking over from the Viva completely in 1979.
Eventually squeezed out by the smaller Spanish-built Nova and slightly larger Astra models, 415,000 had been sold in the UK before production ended in 1984, although fewer than 900 are still registered here today, according to DVLA figures, of which only 283 are the LH model as offered here today.
This rare and original Chevette LH was purchased by the vendor to add to his extensive collection in 2013 from a gentleman in Hull who had acquired it from its original owner the year previously. Although there is no paperwork to substantiate its low mileage, he was able to confirm that the 15,568 miles displayed is correct and looking at the car, there is nothing to suggest that this is not the case. It remains in such nice original condition that it conjures up phrases like ‘time warp’ and ‘Tardis’ – although it’s probably just a 37-year-old Vauxhall that has averaged 400 miles a year.
Sadly, the only paperwork present is the current V5C and its latest MOT which expires at the end of October 2016. This confirms that it has only covered 300 miles in the last three years. Vauxhall buffs, collectors of low mileage cars or those who just wish to re-live the school run in short trousers, this may well be your only chance to own such an unsullied example so don’t let it slip away.