hile it’s true to say that the last Cavalier Turbo rolled off the production line well over twenty years ago, love for the model has never been stronger. The bad news for those keen to get their hands on a slice of turbocharged, six-speed, four-wheel drive fun is that few examples of the C20LET-powered Mk3 survive to the present day, and an ever-increasing appreciation for the car has seen the cost of buying one skyrocket in recent years. That is, of course, working on the assumption that you’ll be able to convince a Cavalier Turbo owner to part with his or her pride and joy in the first place!
“I must admit, I was tempted to sell my own Turbo when value and demand for the model shot up a while back, but a voice inside my head kept telling me that I was making a mistake,” admits 34-year-old Mk3 man, Adam Hodgson. “In actual fact, I had a buyer ready and waiting with a decent sum of cash in his hand, but I ended up knocking him back following my decision to keep the car for the long term,” he says.
Adam is no stranger to Cavaliers; the lad from Sunderland has owned plenty of Mk3s, and he can even lay claim to being the proud pilot of a rare GSi2000 4x4 at some point in the distant past, but it was a chance encounter with a Spectral Blue Turbo at the annual VBOA National Rally at Billing Aquadrome in 2005 that convinced him that he had to buy himself an example of what is widely recognised as the ultimate Mk3 Cavalier. “I’d set a not-insignificant amount of cash aside in order to furnish my house with a new kitchen, but recognising the status of the Cavalier Turbo as an endangered species, I figured that I could put the money to better use by buying the Smoke Grey 4x4 that I’d seen advertised for sale following my trip to Billing!” he tells us. True to his word, Adam’s was the next name to appear on the cool Cav’s logbook, and he was over the moon to be in possession of a Turbo that he believed to be in a standard state of tune save for a set of 80mm lowering springs. An invitation to a rolling road day at Wallis Performance in Aberdeen, however, resulted in surprise when a session on the tuning firm’s rollers saw the new arrival produce over 242bhp. That’s almost 40bhp more than factory power!
Other than its lowered ride height, there was nothing to suggest that the car had been toyed with in any way. Even the restrictive standard C20LET intercooler was present and correct, and an absence of anything resembling a boost gauge in the car’s cockpit gave Adam no reason to suspect tinkering had taken place. Keen to find out what the source of his Cavalier’s extra power was, he cracked open its Motronic ECU. The answer lay within: a genuine EDS Phase 1 chipset. Realising that he’d bought a tiptop Turbo, Adam pulled together
Vectra GSi phase two rims have the ability to enhance the appearance of any Vauxhall