Advert of the Week : The new fuel-injected Cavaliers

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Keith Adams

It’s hard not to love the message being pushed by GM’s genius marketing team in 1985. From its launch in 1981, the brilliant Vauxhall Cavalier MkII was stealing sales left, right and centre from Austin Rover and Ford, offering up a package that reps and middle managers really wanted.

This advert makes it clear, in very plain terms, that if you were lucky enough to be in the position to own a Cavalier, you’d end up having a car that literally could leapfrog the opposition. Would an advert today show rival cars so clearly in such a way? Would you hear the tyres squealed as it scorched away from rest?

Why is it that everything was better in the old days?

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

8 Comments

  1. Very clever, it’s clear from that advert just who vauxhall were trying to beat, all the focus on the ford and Austin, I guess that just shows how little people perceived the other cars in the line to be credible opposition.

  2. I remember this advert well and always wondered did that car actually do that jump or part of it.
    I’ve always liked the mk2 cavalier in all its trim levels they seemed more solid and screwed than its rivals even though I have a soft spot for the Sierra as well.

    Also who is the person doing the voice overs, he seemed to do all car adverts back in the day.

  3. I remember the Cavalier SRi well. When the MKII launched there was a Cav SR 1.6 with the same paintwork and Recaro seats. The 1.8 Bosch Jetronic version came soon after.

    My Employer had a Cav 1.6 Estate which was dammed fast for its 90bhp output so I imagine the 1.8 injected models would be even more spirited.

  4. Great advert, but it would never be allowed these days, with all that emphasis on performance!

    Or it would be shown, and then get banned afterwards which is what usually happens with “naughty” adverts!

  5. I remember travelling to Le Mans in 1991 in one of these. It was the cavalier Sri on a b reg-burgundy with a lower grey body. Went like stink and handled well. It was my mates car and there were 5 of us in the car. Only problem we had was we ended up in a ditch near rye on a sharp bend and the car had to be pulled out by a farmer and tractor. We were all ok but the driver was going too fast. It was all a laugh at the time but looking back we could of all been wiped out. Shows how robust that motor was because we all got back in and carried on with a few dents on the body. Happy days!!

  6. Like GM/Vauxhall or not, the Mk.2 Cavalier was a mid-size/rep sector game changer in the UK and probably the best ‘J Series’ car they produced in context.

  7. Notice it flying over a Talbot Alpine, a car which had many of the Cavalier’s attributes, fwd, a decent ride, huge boot and nice styling, but the engines weren’t in the same league for performance and refinement.
    I think by the mid eighties Vauxhall had really come good and were the second biggest selling manufacturer in Britain. The Nova, Cavalier, Carlton and Astra gave buyers what they wanted- reliable, economical and good to drive cars- and the old rust prone image had been forgotten.

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