Jump to content

1981 Cavalier Sports Hatch


Recommended Posts

Thought i'd put together a thread detailing the things that have been done to her, with a few photos, seeing as i've owned the old girl for a couple of years now.

The evening I picked her up in July 2007


First addition, a passenger door mirror


The car was also stalling when hot and going onto choke all the time. I bought a manual choke kit for her to convert her, but, due to a friend of a friend of a friend offering a price I couldn't really refuse, I decided to instead put a brand new twin choke Nikki Carb on her, complete with a manual choke in  August 2007. The car then had to be returned after only a couple of weeks because the wrong jets were installed, resulting in very poor running and some pretty horrific MPG figures...

The next job on the list was a leaking master cylinder. Sourced a good second hand unit from here and, one freezing cold November night after work, replaced it, bled the anchors, tested it, all ok. Then I cleaned up and repainted the areas where the fluid had run down out of the unit.


She flew through the MOT in December 08 and was in regular use every day. There were a couple of extremely cold mornings where she would let me down due to fuel starvation, this due to the warm air pipe from the manifold to the air cleaner being removed when the carb was replaced, thus causing moisture in and around the carb jets to ice up as the freezing cold air was rushing around them. I am thinking of making a solution for this by running a smaller diameter pipe from the manifold to the newer, much smaller air cleaner, but, with what I have in mind for her, this isn't a priority right now.

In August last year I decided to begin stripping back all of the old underseal to totally re-cover all the inner arches and the chassis in Waxoyl underbody sealant. On stripping back I found a small hole on the N/S/R sill and the beginning of some serious corrosion on the inner wing splash panel, behind the drivers pedals.


About a week after finding this, I was made redundant. I started a new job in November but near enough every week I have been working away. The MOT on her expired just before Christmas and I laid her up out of the way at a friend's house around the corner. I made sure she was run whenever I come home but all major work was put off because of time restraints.

Anyway, since the end of June I have been able to snatch a few days here and there and so I stripped the footwell back to good metal, likewise the sill and made some templates using old cornflke packets and then cut the steel. Now all welded up and undersealed.



Last week I continued to underseal any remaining areas and I removed all of the interior and waxoyled the entire floor pan, A-pillars, rear arches, sills and also inside the rear quarter panels inside the boot. She smells a bit at the minute, but it's all worth it!! The weekend just gone I gave her a wash, a T-cut, a wax and all the trimmings and fitted a nice Manta B 3 spoke steering wheel and the missing wheel centre cap i'd been after (cheers gents, you know who you are!). Here are a few pictures of her from today:




Next up is to sort a misfire I just can't seem to trace and then, hopefully, a fresh ticket next week!!  :thumbup

My word, didn't realise how much i'd rambled...  :o   :unsure:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 7 months later...

Evening gents,

Compared to some of the truly epic undertakings on here, this pales into insignificance! However, I thought i'd share it with you anyway.

I decided the other day to strip, grind out the corrosion and respray the black panel between the tail lights on the old girl as the tin worm had sprung up here in a matter of weeks. The day started with the sun beating down, a cloudless sky and not a breath of wind. As soon as the paint came out it turned to the total opposite of this...

Shown below is a small area of it, it was slightly worse on the other side. The whole boot lip was starting to flare up as well.


So, strip down and grinder out


Ground down and treated


Masked, primed and painted




While I was rebuilding I couldn't help but think that she looks better without the Vauxhall letters between the lights...


And all done. Not happy at all with the finish but it only looks rubbish close up. I'll rub down again and refinish it properly but at least the tin worn is treated...


October last year I also managed to locate a pair of clear front indicator lenses and combined with the silver indicator bulbs I think they transform the front of the car.




I also fitted a set of Halfords Brilliance seies Halogen bulbs. They're a bit steep but the difference they make is phenomenal, i'd recommend them to anyone running the square lights.


There are lots of other jobs to do in the near future, base of both A pillars, O/S/R sill, a pair of wings, front valance and I still want a V8... :rolleyes:

Thanks for looking!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good to see a Cavalier getting a bit of TLC :D I agree with the Halfords bulbs, makes the headlights actually light the road not just glow :P

The front indicators took me a few mins to decide if they looked right or not but I think they look good, different so stand out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

People, just a minor update from the last few weeks of minor fettling.

I'd ordered some B post louvres that were taken from a GT/E to eradicate the 'Sports Hatch' Moniker from said area.

So, now you see it...



...and now you don't.



I'd also obtained a set of Manta GT/E rear light lenses. These vary slightly from the Cav ones in that the light surrounds nd dividers are black instead of red (or painted silver in my case). I was going to tint the rear indicators red to match the stop and tail lights (see previous page for photoshop renderings) but after saying I was definately going to do it and now seeing them fitted into the black rear panel, i'm rather keen to keep them as is. What do you think?



Another problem rearing it's ugly head during May was an overheating issue. Driving around town would be fine, if a little hotter than usual. Venture towards a duel carrigeway or Motorway though and the needle would head for the red sector like a stabbed rat.

I removed the thermostat and done a quick test on it with a pan of wated and it did seem slow to open. I also pulled the rad and decided that it had also seen better days...


So, new thermostat and secondhand Manta GT/E rad obtained and work began.

Rad removed;


Side-by-side, the GT/E radiator was a little bit more substantial;


And, all plumbed in, ready for testing.


After 10 minutes on the road, this was the result;


So, a quick question asked on here and it turns out it's the voltage regulator behind the gauges! (Thanks for all your help guys :thumbup) Ah well, the Thermostat and certainly the Radiator were due to pack in sooner rather than later so it was worthwhile carrying out.

At the beginning of June, a slight blow in the exhaust appeared just before the back box. Funds were appallingly low so I bought an exhaust bandage to effect some temporary patching of the area. As soon as I grabbed the back box, it came off in my hand;


So, still no money but undeterred, we were working away in Sheffield the next day where I obtained some mild steel pipe, substantially thicker than exhaust pipe but the same diameter and nicked an Arc welder for the weekend. Managed to produce this;



Cut out and welded the old back box bracket to it and gave it a coat of high temperature laquer. With no back box she also sounds a bit fruitier as well!

I'm also on the look out for a garage for the winter, I don't use her that much then and i'm looking for a daily driver. This can't be good for it;


I'm sticking her into a bodyshop to have the lower B post corrosion sorted out properly and shortly she'll be getting de-badged across the bootlid. Also going to remove the AA badge but fit a magnetic backing to it so I can return it to the car if and when I want to.


Thanks for looking!

Edited by XL391
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...