1980 Vauxhall Chevette HSX – Classified of the Week

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By Chris Pollitt

Back in the day, dealers loved making their own special edition vehicles. It was, let’s not beat around the bush here, nothing more than a marketing ploy to sell cars. More often than not, a dealer special equated to nothing more than a set of stickers, some brightly coloured mats and maybe some alloy wheels and a set of mud-flaps. Generally speaking, they were usually a bit rubbish, and not all that special. Usually. Every now and then, a dealer would do something a bit different that had genuine merit. A case in point would be Mamos. Describing itself as “a different type of Vauxhall dealer” Mamos wasn’t afraid to be brave. Hence cars like this, the Vauxhall Chevette HSX.

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Mamos took a HS and made it a bit more exciting. The idea was penned by David Harley, and was based on the ‘Black Magic’ car by Wayne Cherry, and featured black paintwork rather than the traditional silver. The HSX package also gave buyers the option to specify the graphics, making each car unique. It came on special alloy wheels with a new front steel-reinforced chin spoiler, a rear spoiler, wood interior trim, seven dials and ‘door to floor’ carpeting. Very swish. The oily bits were all HS, meaning a 2.3 twin-cam slant-four engine with 135bhp and five-speed ‘box delivering grunt to the rear wheels.

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Only ten of these cars were built, and it would appear that all but one have vanished. Make no mistake, the car you’re looking at here is very special indeed. Though we should caveat that by saying that while it is indeed an HSX, it’s not in the specification it would have been originally. Instead, it now has a new, rust-free body, there are wide Group 4 arches fitted to each corner, and the car sits on a set of super wide 8×13 Minilite wheels wearing sticky Toyo 888 rubber. Under the bonnet, the 2.3 has gone, and has instead been replaced with a far more powerful C20XE Vauxhall engine. Fed by twin-Weber carbs, we can only imagine how angry it must sound. The transmission is a 240 Getrag five-speed. It’s a HSX alright, but one that’s been to the gym after supping on some protein shakes.

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In excellent condition throughout, this Chevette is a very, very appealing proposition. The modern running gear should ensure it’s a far more lively vehicle than an HS, the wide body and wheels make it look even more aggressive, while the bright tartan and wood interior serves to make you smile every time you jump in. They just don’t make cars that are this… fun, any more. It’s a terrier of a car, a tail-happy, snarling, shouty little thing that will put a smile on your face every time you turn the key.

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It’s a limited edition, but unlike the efforts of other dealers, this is far from being… limited. There’s more at play than some stickers, here.

 

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