The Cavalier Sportshatch was a wholly designed Luton car, the whole concept of a “Sports Hatch” was something that had been simmering within the Vauxhall Styling Department since the late 1960s and there had been some half- hearted attempts to produce one with the Firenza and later the Magnum based Sportshatch. A mid-sized Sportshatch model mock-up was first built in 1973 based around the planned HD architecture and called Concept 1.The next Sportshatch project started in 1975 and was based around the front half of the Cavalier Coupe and was called Concept 2, it was this car that was the basis for the final production version. Both Concept 1 & 2 were used in the publicity for the launch of the Cavalier Sportshatch when it was announced to the press in September 1978.The Sportshatch specific parts and pressings required to make the car were supplied by Vauxhall to Opel in Germany for use on the Manta 3 door hatch as well as to Antwerp for the Cavalier build. A similar arrangement existed for the specific parts for the Opel Kadett City which were also supplied by Vauxhall. The Sportshatch was launched with the 1600 and the new 2000 engines which had replaced the previous 1900cc unit. The 1600 was available in GL and GLS trim while the 2000 was only available with the 2litre engine.It scored heavily over the Ford Capri, with a better image, more room and nicer handing. The car was dropped in 1981 when new Front Wheel drive Cavalier introduced. With thanks to www.vauxpedia.net
The Concept 2 Sportshatch in the early stages of mock up in the Design studio at Luton, the front end dimensions and doors were from the U- Car Coupe.
An early design sketch for a Targa Top Sportshatch.
Concept 1 and Concept 2
A press photograph for the Sportshatch launch with Concept 1 & 2 in the background showing the clear lineage from Concept 1 through to the final production car.
Concept 2 painted in gold, the doors and front wing are clearly from the production Cavalier Coupe.
An earlier picture of Concept 2 painted in yellow.
The two Sportshatch Concept cars side by side viewed from the rear, Concept 2 is on the left Concept 1 on the right. Interestingly Concept 2 is in yet another colour with Vauxhall lettering between the rear light units.
An early road going prototype Cavalier Mk1 Sporthatch from 1977, the car is fitted with the 1.9 Litre engine and also headlamp wash wipe.
Production specification Cavalier Mk1 Sportshatch’s.
1977 1.6 GL Cavalier Sportshatch.
1978 Cavalier Mk1 Sportshatch.
The prototype Magard Cavalier Mk1 Sportshatch from 1979.