Vauxhall cars of the 1970s

Vauxhall Victor 2300SL, 1972-3
Vauxhall Victor 2300SL, 1972-3

Vauxhall's range from the 1970s in order of size comprised:

The models carried over from the 1960s, Viva, Victor and Cresta, were replaced by a new range of cars starting with the Chevette and Cavalier in 1975.

Viva and derivatives


Vauxhall launched the Viva in 1963 as the HA. It was a small, but not mini-sized, car. Its main competitors were the Morris Minor, Austin A40 and Ford Anglia. It was a new departure for Vauxhall which had concentrated on large and medium-sized cars.

In 1970 Vauxhall was on the second edition of the Viva, the HB. The new car, introduced in 1966, was larger than the HA. It featured American 'Coke bottle' styling.

In 1970 Vauxhall restyled the Viva again for its final incarnation. The Viva HC was Vauxhall's car of the 1970s. It was made from 1970 to 1979.

Bedford Beagle

Although it was sold by Vauxhall's commercial division, Bedford, the Beagle was an estate car not a van. It was essentially a Viva HA estate. The Viva evolved, but the Beagle remained based on the Viva HA until Vauxhall dropped it in 1973.

Sporty derivatives

The Firenza was a coupé derived from the Viva HC. It was available with engines from 1300cc to 2300cc.

The Magnum was a luxury version of the Viva saloon and offered with more powerful 1800cc and 2300cc engines.

Victor and derivatives


Vauxhall launched the original Victor, the F-series, in 1957. It was a medium-sized family saloon.

By the early 1970s it had become a proper executive car. Vauxhall ended production of the Victor in 1976, but the range carried on as the VX for a further two years.

In 1970 Vauxhall was on the third series of the Victor, the FD. But they rebadged it the 'Victor Super' in 1969.

A new version of the Victor came along in 1972, the FE. The Victor had become a large car in its class. The basic model had an 1800cc engine and engines went up to 2300cc. The Ford Cortina started at 1300cc and went up to 2000cc.

In 1976 the Victor range was replaced by the VX.

The Victor had moved from the medium-sized family saloon in to the executive class. Its replacement, the Carlton, was pitched further upmarket than the Cavalier. The Carlton, launched in 1978, had a family resemblance to the Cavalier, but had a 2000cc engine as standard.

VX 4/90

The VX 4/90 was a sporty version of the Victor first introduced in 1961. It developed with the Victor through FB to FE.


The Ventora took the sporty concept to its logical conclusion. In 1968 Vauxhall engineers took the 3300cc 6 cylinder engine from their large saloon, the Cresta, and put it in the medium-sized car, the Victor. The new car, the Ventora, was a very capable sporty saloon. Motor described its performance as effortless.

Large cars

The Cresta was Vauxhall's large saloon in production since 1954. The PC Cresta was introduced in 1965. It was discontinued in 1972.

The Viscount was a luxury version of the Cresta. It was also dropped in 1972.

The Carlton was a replacement for the VX (see above). It was styled to match Vauxhall's new generation Cavalier models.

The Royale topped Vauxhall's range in 1978. It had a 2800cc engine. There was also a coupé version with the same engine size. The Royale was equipped for luxury motoring with automatic transmission, electric windows, radio/cassette and tinted glass all fitted as standard. In 1980 there was the option of s 3 litre fuel injected engine.

Chevette and Cavalier

Vauxhall Cavalier Sports Hatch 1979-80
Vauxhall Cavalier Sports Hatch 1979-80
Licensed under CC (public domain)

The Chevette and Cavalier were Vauxhall's next generation cars. They were both launched in 1975. They had similar sloping fronts with no radiator grills and rectangular headlamps.

The style was carried forward into the larger cars, the Carlton and Royale, which replaced Vauxhall's aging Victor range in 1978.

Chevette 1975-84

Vauxhall launched the Chevette in May 1975. It was Vauxhall's entrant into the lucrative super-mini market.

The original model was a hatchback. It was well equipped with a 1256cc engine, dual circuit servo-assisted disk brakes on the front wheels, reversing lamps and a heated rear window as standard.

Saloon and estate cars were added to the range in 1976

Cavalier Mk1 1975-81

Following on from the Chevette in May 1975, Vauxhall launched the Cavalier in October 1975. It had a similar sloping front and rectangular headlamps.

The Cavalier plugged the gap in Vauxhall's range between the Viva and the Victor/VX. It competed directly with the Ford Cortina and Morris Marina.

The original range was:

Vauxhall added further models to the range in the 1970s including a 1300L Saloon (1977) and Sports Hatch in 1978.

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★