The Mk1 Vauxhall Cavalier was launched in November 1975 and designed to compete with Ford's very successful and long-established Cortina. The four-door Cavalier was a typical, middle-sized, family car almost identical in size and specification to the Ford.
Initially the Cavalier was built alongside the near identical (save for the lack of the sloping front) Opel Ascona at Antwerp in Belgium but from August 1977 the Vauxhalls began rolling off the line at Luton, creating many new and much needed jobs. Cavalier and Ascona had the very solid and reliable “cam-in-head” cast-iron 1.6 and 1.9 litre engines from the Opel GT with the 1.9 version enlarged to two-litres two or three in, and a smaller 1.3 unit from Chevette being added a couple of years in.
The rear-wheel drive Mk1 Cavalier was replaced in 1981 by the all-new, so-called, “World” or “J” car Mk2 with front-wheel drive and a new range of alloy-headed engines first seen in Astra.