the Chevette was the Likely Lads hot hatch before hot hatches were hot hatches.
Shovel-nosed, Pinto-esque, uniquely strange and oddly appealing, the Vauxhall Chevette was a Likely Lads car before Likely Lads were Likely Lads.
And what am I talking about when I use the term Likely Lads?
We’re talking about kids who infuse their cars with a certain energy, the distinct sort of creativity that is born of living in a suburb with tasty A-roads, enclosed street systems on low-rise estates where few coppers dare to tread.
It might have been a made-over Opal, but in the early-mid seventies the Chevette was a really strange looking shape – especially the coupé. That droop snoot was of course closely related to the rarer bird that was the Firenza – and it was perfect for housing the goodies that turned your car into something greater than that consumed by the mass of men.
In rally homologation mode, the HSR model Chevette (above) was rarer than hen’s teeth – and you could see the beginnings of the true hot hatch in the Chevette’s lines well enough.
The Chevette was phased out and finally disappeared in 1983 – to be replaced with the Nova. More of that in next week’s feature thread…
Cars like the Chevette, stripped down everyman classics, laid the groundwork for a culture of car modifying that was a powerful force in youth culture.
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