Vauxhall Cavalier (1981 – 1988) Review

Vauxhall Cavalier (1981 – 1988) At A Glance


+Eager engines and all have great performance, roomy, useful hatchback, a real nostalgia trip for 1980s fans

-Rust and crust, and only the absolute best worth any money

The front-wheel drive Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2 was a hugely important car for its maker - picking up huge fleet sales just as Ford stumbled with the Sierra. When launched in 1981, the Cavalier proved to be the right car at the right time, and sold not only because Ford dropped the ball, but also because it was a superb car that offered variations for everyone. At launch, you could buy your Cavalier in two- or four-door saloon form and as a five-door hatchback, offered with a 1.3- and 1.6-litre Family II engines.

But the range was developed constantly, so 1.8- and 2.0-litre versions were added to the range, as well as a Holden-developed five-door estate that proved even more susceptible to corrosion than the other models in the range. Hugely popular in the 1980s, but with a low survival rate today, the Cavalier Mk2 typifies the term endangered species. Picking up a cult following now with '80s fans, but unless perfect, these cars are still worth very little money.

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend a replacement wing mounted aerial supplier?

"I have a 1986 Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2 convertible 1.8i petrol which has an offside front wing mounted, powered retracting aerial i.e. radio on/off makes aerial go up/down. It has stopped working and an auto electrician has confirmed it's just the aerial part that's faulty and needs replacing. So far i've been unable to source a suitable replacement but am awaiting a reply from Autovaux parts to see if they can help. Are you able to suggest a suitable replacement aerial and supplier please? I've already tried usual suspects such as Halfords, plus Vauxhall Green Parts who took remaining parts stock off Vauxhall when the Cavalier ceased production, and the forum."
Finding an original part may be a challenge given that only certain models of Cavalier would have been fitted with this option and how long the car has been out of production, and unfortunately we are not aware of a parts supplier who will be able to assist. You are looking in all the right places though, as owner's clubs and forums are a good way of finding someone who may have the part you need. Alternatively there are a number of aftermarket electric aerials available, so although this would not be an original part it should at least provide the functionality that keeps it working as it originally did.
Answered by David Ross

My car won't start - how can I work out what's wrong?

"I can’t get my Vauxhall Cavalier to start. I can’t seem to get any fuel through, but I had to move it tonight and while it was being towed I put it into gear to see if it would bump start - the engine turns over but it still won’t start."
Air, spark and fuel - the three most important things an engine needs to fire. If you're confident your air filter's not blocked and you've got a spark, then you need to investigate fuelling. Start with the basics - has it got fuel? The gauge might say you've got half-a-tank but the sender could be broken. Are the spark plugs wet? If not, then you're not getting fuel. You'll need to work backward to check for blocked lines, fuel filter or a failed pump. If you're not sure how to do this, either have a look in the Haynes manual or take it to a decent garage (see our Good Garage Pages for some suggestions).
Answered by Keith Moody
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