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  Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II & MkIII  

The MkII Cavalier was introduced in 1981 and remained in production until 1988. By 1982, Ford and Vauxhall had an effective two-horse race at the top of this sector of the British market, as sales of the Talbot Alpine had tailed off by 1981 and British Leyland was winding down production of the Austin Ambassador and Morris Ital in preparation for the launch of the all-new Austin Montego. Popular foreign competitors at the time included the Renault 18, which had arrived on the British market in December 1978. The MK2 Cavalier also debuted in the same year as the MK2 Volkswagen Passat.

Following the British public's reluctance to embrace the Ford Sierra's radical styling in 1982, the Cavalier overtook the Sierra in sales and outsold it in 1984 and again in 1985, although the Sierra had comfortably outsold it in 1983. The Sierra narrowly outsold it in 1986, and a facelift for the Sierra at the start of 1987 helped Ford build a wide lead at the top of the large family car sector as nearly 140,000 Sierras were sold that year, while Cavalier sales fell below 100,000. By the time the second generation Cavalier was discontinued to make way for the third generation model in October 1988, the Sierra was almost twice as popular.

The final generation Cavalier, the MkIII, went on sale on 14 October 1988, being Vauxhall's version of the Opel Vectra A, available as a saloon or hatchback. The Vectra name was not adopted at this model change as Vauxhall feared reviving memories of the much-maligned Vauxhall Victor, whereas the Cavalier was a generally well received product and had helped boost Vauxhall's sales and reputation.

In place of the Mark II Cavalier's angular exterior was a more rounded appearance, reflecting the change in styling tastes throughout Europe at this time. There was also a new economical 1.4 L petrol engine. The biggest changes to the range were the addition of 2.0 L sixteen valve engines. These were fitted to the GSi 2000 and later SRis. Also made available was a four-wheel drive system, fitted to a 2.0iL model and on a version of the GSi 2000.

Despite the lack of an estate body style, the Cavalier topped the large medium family car sales charts in Britain in 1990, narrowly outselling the Ford Sierra, while Rover was beginning to phase out its Montego in favour of the new Rover 400 Series and later the more upmarket 600 Series. Other strong contenders in this sector included the long-running CitroŽn BX and Peugeot's highly regarded 405. Having first outsold the Sierra in Britain in 1990, it was Britain's second best selling car behind the Ford Escort in 1992. It did not lose top spot in its sector until it was overtaken by the Sierra's successor, the Mondeo, in 1994.

I had four of these as company cars when I was driving 30,000 miles a year as a retail Area Manager. I also had a Ford Sierra, and prior to the Cavaliers a Cortina MkV. Back in those days the letters following the model name on the boot of your car exactly mirrored your seniority in the corporate pecking order, I was in the 2.0 GL bracket. I started with a Mk2 Cavalier 1.8 SRi, then a 2.0 GLi Mk2 facelift model after which I switched to the 2.0 GL Sierra facelift which I hated. I returned to Cavaliers with a Police model MkIII, the 2.0iL, this was an interesting car, it had SRi running gear and suspension with a basic interior. It meant I had an SRi in sheeps' clothing if you like and because it was cheaper then the SRi I was able to add the extras which I wanted to bring it up to my allowance, I chose automatic transmission, a sunroof and an uprated driver's seat with lots of adjustment. I finished off with a 1.7 Diesel MkIII Cavalier. The diesel Cavalier was a tractor, the Sierra was unreliable, unstable and uncomfortable, however the SRi, GLi and 2.0iL Cavaliers were amazing. They were fast, economical, 100% reliable, comfortable - although the cabin was a bit narrow, and good for 100,000 hard miles.

Mark II
Vanguards VA09800; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II; Polar White Vanguards VA09801; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II; Champagne Platinum Vanguards VA09802; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II; SRi 130, Nordic Blue Vanguards VA09803; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II; Orient Blue Metallic Vanguards VA09804; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II; Carmine Red
Vanguards VA09800; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II SRi; Polar White Vanguards VA09801; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II CD; Champagne Platinum Vanguards VA09802; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II SRi 130, Nordic Blue Vanguards VA09803; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II CD; Orient Blue Metallic Vanguards VA09804; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II SRi 130; Carmine Red
Vanguards VA09806; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II; SRi 130, Astro Silver Vanguards VA09807; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II; SRi 130, Chrome (LCC model) Not Issued Vanguards VA09809; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II SRi 130, Platinum Vanguards VX1004; Vauxhall Motors Centenary 4 Car Set; Velox PA, Viva HB, Cavalier, Astra MkV
Vanguards VA09806; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II SRi 130, Astro Silver Vanguards VA09807; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II SRi 130, Chrome (LCC model) Vanguards VA09808; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II Vanguards VA09809; Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II SRi 130, Platinum Vanguards VX1004; Vauxhall Motors Centenary 4 Car Set

Mark III
Vanguards VA13100; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII; SRi; Carmine Red Vanguards VA13101; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII; Gsi 1992, 2.0L Super-Touring, RAC British Touring Car Championship, John Cleland RN2 Vanguards VA13102; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII; SRi; Merseyside Police Vanguards VA13103A; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII GSi 2000 16v, Westminster Blue, RHD Still Looking
Vanguards VA13100; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII SRi; Carmine Red Vanguards VA13101; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII; Gsi 1992, 2.0L Super-Touring, RAC British Touring Car Championship, John Cleland RN2 Vanguards VA13102; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII SRi; Merseyside Police Vanguards VA13103A; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII GSi 2000 16v, Westminster Blue, RHD Vanguards VA13103B; Opel Vectra A; Baikalblau, LHD
Vanguards VA13104; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII; Ministry of Defence Police Vanguards VA13106A; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII Turbo; Diamond Black Still Looking    
Vanguards VA13104; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII 2.0 16v LS; Ministry of Defence Police Vanguards VA13106A; Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII Turbo; Diamond Black Vanguards VA13106B; Opel Vectra A Turbo; Diamant Schwarz    

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Last Edit: 06/01/2023   Page Added 14/12/2022