Vauxhall Chevette 2300HS
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
One of the notable things about the ordinary everyday Vauxhall Chevettes was their outstanding handling
and roadholding, which, despite the low powered 1256 cc engine the cars were equipped with, made them reasonably fun to drive. When Vauxhall homologated a version of the Chevette for rally competition the larger engined car was awaited with great eagerness.
Strangely enough, however, the addition of the 2.3-litre engine, up rated suspension
, wider wheels etc has transformed the car in an unexpected way. It was quick, no question of it; top speed was nearly 116 mph. 60 mph could be achieved in a mere 8.5 seconds and the wide Dunlop tyres
had it glued to the road, but somehow the driver did not get the same feedback from the road - it was almost as though the tyres
were too big for the car.
Road testers of the time had the point brought home forcibly when in the wet or in icy conditions when water could all too easily get between tyres
and road. The main difference between the ordinary Chevette and the 2300 HS was obviously the much bigger and more powerful engine. With a displacement of 2279 cc it was based on the cast-iron block of the Magnum engine, but the head was different, being a 16 valve double overhead cam accounting for the impressive power output of 135 bhp at 5500 rpm and 134lb ft of torque at 4500rpm.
The gearbox was a very precise and easy to use Getrag five-speed unit, with first being the odd man out to the left opposite reverse and the top four gears in the standard position of a four-speed box. In addition to the engine and transmission
, the suspension
had been up rated to deal with the extra power and weight and featured double wishbones, anti-roll bar
, coil springs, and Bilstein dampers at the front, and the live rear axle was well tied down by twin radius arms, torque tube and Pan hard rod and, like the front, an anti-roll bar
, coil springs and Bilstein dampers were used. This system proved more than adequate to deal with the power and speed of the 2300 HS.
From the outside the obvious differences were the spoilers front and rear, the fat 6 in tyres, and the colour scheme (but there was only the one colour option, silver-with red trimmings). Other changes included an excellent (for the time) radio, tinted glass, extra instrumentation, and larger front seats that emphasised how cramped the accommodation in the rear was - never a strong point of the Chevette - but few would actually buy the 2300 HS as a family sedan.
Apart from such items as the FM radio, little attempt was made at refinement; Vauxhall obviously expected there to be no shortage of customers for the limited number of 2300HS Chevettes, and they were right. High performance and the lovely loud purposeful noise from the engine won many over who were presumably prepared to overlook such things as the car's really disconcerting and embarrassing tendency to foul its plugs in anything resembling a traffic jam, and the resulting loud noises when a fast take off was expected, which for two or three seconds seemed to indicate to the outside world that the engine was about to blow up! One of the penalties for such high performance was the fuel consumption, and that of the 2300HS was squarely in the sports car bracket at around 18 mpg.
Vauxhall Chevette 2300HS Quick Specifications
Front mounted, in-line, water cooled, four cylinder. 97.54mm (3. 84 in) bore x 76.2mm (3. 0 in) stroke == 2279 cc (139.2 cu in). Maximum power (DIN) 135bhp at 5500 rpm; maximum torque (DIN) 1341b ft at 4500rpm; cast-iron cylinder block and aluminium head. Compression ratio 8.2:1.5 main bearings. 4 valves
per cylinder operated by two belt driven overhead camshafts. Two Stromberg 175 CD carburettors!
Single dry plate clutch and manual five-speed gearbox. Ratios 1st 3.37, 2nd 2.16, 3rd 1.58, 4th 1.24, 15th 1.00, rev 4.0. Hypoid bevel final drive, ratio 3.44:1.
Front-independent by wishbones and anti-roll bar
, coil sprIngs and telescopic Bilstein dampers, rear-live axle, radius arms, torque tube, Pan hard rod anti-roll bar
, coil springs and Bilstein telescopic dampers.
Rack and pinion. 7'Turns from lock to lock 3.5.
9.6in diameter discs front 9.0in diameter drums rear. Dual hydraulic circuit servo assisted.
6in x 13in. Cast alloy. Tyres 205/60 LHR x 13. Dunlop SP steel braced radials.
3 door, 4 seats. Integral.
Dimensions and weight:
Wheelbase 94.3 in; track-front 51.2in rear- 51.2in; length 155.3in; width 62.3in; height 5f in; ground clearance 4.7 in; weight 21841b; turning circle (between wetts) 31.2ft; fuel tank capacity 8 gal.
Maximum speed 115 mph; acceleration 0-60 mph 8.5.seconds, acceleration 30-50mph in fourth gear 7.0 seconds; fuel consumption approximptely 19mpg.