Vauxhall Cavalier Mk1 (1975 – 1981) Review

Vauxhall Cavalier Mk1 (1975 – 1981) At A Glance


+Good ride/handling balance, 2.0-litre version fast and reasonably frugal, roomy for four, good visibility

-Awful driving position, so-so steering and gearchange

The Cavalier proved to be a major turning point for Vauxhall, in fact it was the car that probably saved the company – the Opel Ascona-derived two- and four-door saloon proved the perfect car for the Luton company to offer up as a rival to the all-conquering Ford Cortina.

Like the Chevette, the Cavalier was well-engineered, handled well and was brilliant at covering miles on the motorway, but the larger car also had the benefit of being able to cruise comfortably and stresselessly in the outside lane - something that would mark out Cavaliers two decades to come.

It was offered with an engine range spanning 1.3- to 2.0-litres, with the entry level models sharing their power unit with the Chevette. Not a ball of fire, but capable enough. Luton built cars were more prone to corrosion than their Belgian counterparts, but all were leagues ahead of earlier Vauxhalls.

Ask Honest John

Can I change the V5C of my 40 year old car to historic status now or do I have to wait until April next year?

"My Mk1 Vauxhall Cavalier was registered in September 1978 so is now 40 years old and the tax expires 31 December. Can I change the V5C to Historic now and avoid paying tax to keep it on the road or do I have to wait until 1 April next year before I can submit the V5C change?"
From April 2019, all pre-1979 vehicles will be tax exempt so you will have to wait, I'm afraid. You should be able to tax it, cancel the tax and reclaim the money - but be aware that you will only be reimbursed for complete months. There's also a 5% surcharge if you pay by Direct Debit - although at least you'll only be paying for what you use (again, the complete month rule applies).
Answered by Keith Moody

What do I need to do to make sure my classic car is tax exempt?

"My 1978 Vauxhall Cavalier Mk1 is eligible for tax exemption from April 2019. How do I obtain a Build Date Certificate to prove to the DVLA when it was built? Also, what steps do I need to take to obtain the tax exemption?"
Once your classic is eligible to be reclassified as a Historic Vehicle, go to Section 7 of your V5C and complete the Tax Class section, altering it to ‘historic’. Then sign and date the bottom of that page and take your V5C along to a VED-issuing Post Office, complete with a completed V10 car tax application form. The Post Office will issue your car tax-free of charge (as a Historic Vehicle) and will send your V5C to the DVLA. You’ll then receive a replacement V5C in the post. You can find out more here:
Answered by Keith Moody
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