Practical Classics’s Classic Car and Restoration Show with

Discovery 2018

NEC Birmingham 2018.
Welcome to the Cavalier and Chevette Club
Your friendly Vauxhall - Opel Club since 1994
© Cavalier and Chevette Club 2023 We acknowledgement to Vauxhall Motors Ltd
My Experience by Jeremy Lettington. This was my first time displaying a car with the Club, and I must say it was an entertaining weekend. I was displaying one of my Cavalier Mk3’s. I had been asked to do this as i was to mark the 30th Anniversary year and my car had undergone a fairly heavy restoration over a couple of years. Myself, Kevin Bricknall, Beth Watt and Phil Scaiffe were to meet at the Toby Carvery, Stonebridge Island at 9.30am on the Thursday, before going on to set up the stand for the weekend. I arrived just before 9 and found Phil already arrived, sitting patiently in his Mk2 Cav. We had only met once previously, a brief chat at the VBOA National Rally at Market Harborough last year. We had a natter about journeys (me being the local didn’t have much to say), traffic was light this day. Phil had come down after finishing work in the early hours and a quick pit stop at home. He arrived about 7.50am, so beat most of the traffic as well. We sat awaiting Kevin and Beth, who had planned brining Beth’s Cavalier Mk1 to the show. They arrived not long after 9.30am, but they were in Kevin’s Mk3 Cavalier SRi 16 valve. Unfortunately, Beth was unable to get her car ready in time so Kevin brought a late substitute. I was expecting us to go straight to the NEC to set up, but the others forced me to have a breakfast (lol). Just as well really as a I was going straight to work after the set-up. We left the pub at about twenty past 10, by now the traffic had begun to build up around the NEC. I think we got into the hall about 11.20 after clearing the security and other formalities. We quickly found our stand,, fortunately many hadn’t arrived giving us plenty of time to get set-up without having to continually move things around. Both Kevin’s car and mine were on a carpeted section, Kevin having “acquired” some from another show. Phil’s car was set-up behind the two Mk3’s, the rear end jacked up as he planned on doing a load of work underneath. I had raised the front n of mine as it had recently started making a noise which I still haven’t diagnosed yet, I suspect a metal shield rubbing on the brake disc but on examining during the show count not see anything obvious. I had to leave just after midday as I had to go straight to work and di not ant to be out too late. I left Kevin, Beth and Phil finishing off the set-up, and must compliment them on their work. On the Friday I arrived just after 10 due to having a late night. I found Kevin on the stand. Phil and Beth were lagging behind a little. I got my car ready to display, opening the bonnet as I planned doing some jobs under there over the weekend. This included fitting some new headlamps as the mounting points on the ones on the car had become brittle over the years and broke during the restoration. As well as this I planned changing some plastic mounting points for the wiper linkage, some switch gear within the car and the notoriously tricky heater control panel bulbs. My car is a 1994 Cavalier SRi 16 valve, the next model ear after Kevin’s. We were noting the differences between them over the weekend. Most were under the skin but the most notable was his does not have an air bag, as the non-adjustable column made the steering wheel sit lower. The jobs took longer to start due to the chatting and hunting some breakfast. The show itself started fairly slowly but we had a steady flow of people stopping and looking at out cars. There were a lot of positive comments from folk who recalled their day of having Mk2’s and Mk3’s as company cars, most saying they were the best rep-mobiles they had by far. During the afternoon I decided to make a start on some of my tasks, changing the headlamps. I had sourced some on ebay as I was keen to keep them a matching pair. They turned out to be Depot, a brand I had not personally encountered before, but had heard of. The price was right and as I could not source a pair of genuine new lamps would do the job. I dragged the job out sufficiently to see the day out. On Saturday I was keen to arrive early to beat the rush to the show. I arrived just before 9, a little to early as the security would not let me in until the allotted time had passed. I was first to arrive, getting the car ready again and getting some parts and tool out that I would be needing. I started by stripping off the steering column shrouds so I could change the indicator and wiper stalks. Both were working but the whit marking ha faded due to the age and use. After this I moved onto the headlamp control switch. This was a strange one as you had to remove the knob to access the locking tabs beneath in order to remove it. This was done by inserting pin through the underside of a knob and depressing a tab. This proved fruitless, however Simon Downs had now arrived on the stand and suggested removing the panel in which the switch is housed. The screws were already exposed by removing the column shrouds so it was a fairly easy task. Simon removed the switch for me as I was having a moment of car rage (lol). After this, I was in the process of putting things back together when Phil pointed out that I had not fitted the heater panel bulb yet. Phew! - caught before I got much back on There are a couple of ways of doing the job. I tried the cautious approach at first as the last thing I wanted to do was snap a control cable. I opted to remove the glove box and try and get in from the side. By now it was late in the day and after removing the glove box decided to call it a day on the jobs front. Phil in the meantime had started cleaning off the underside of his car so he could apply rust treatment. The plan was to give it time to cure then apply a coat of Hammrite before going onto stone chip. He managed the first two tasks, with some verbal encouragement from other Club member who had visited the stand.On Sunday I arrived first. I started by fitting some uprated LED side lamp bulbs. Inevitably, one bulb fell out of the holder meaning I had to remove the headlamp to retrieve it. By now I have become use to to dong this so it didn’t take too long. The reason it fell out was because one of the contacts wasn’t flush, this made it spring out of the holder once I fitted it to the car. This was remedied by using a small flat bladed screwdriver to push it down. I then moved back onto te panel bulb, wow, what a job! I don’t want to have to do this again in a hurry. I accessed the bulb holder initially via the glove box. After changing and testing the bulb there was no way my hand could reach blind round the back of the panel to refit it. I decided to use the alternative and more common method. This was to remove the heater panel securing the screws and pull the panel out, allowing access to to git the bulb holder back in. Again, far easier said than done. In the end Phil came to my rescue. I pulled the panel out leaving him enough room to refit said holder with a pair of thin pliers. I was more than glad when it was back together. I’d love to see the GM process for changing it, more curious as to how much a dealer would charge for the job. Whilst this had been going on Kevin and Beth had been busy talking to the visitors, managing to add some members to our fold as well. Kevin had a cleaver attachment for his phone allowing him to turn it into a projector. He and Beth had rigged up a white sheet in the car to act as a screen. This worked a treat. Overt eh weekend he had been showing various Vauxhall related video’s which had caught people’s eye, making them stop to view them. I had a wander through the trade stands on the Sunday, buying useful items that would cost a packet from retailers. I also brought some cleaning products on the advise of Simon Down’s. One was a plastics restorer, which was used on the black bumper parts as well as the door handles (these commonly fade on the Mk3). The other was a rubber restorer, which I applied to some of the pipes and hoses under the bonnet. I was pleasantly surprised at the results. I was dreading the over shiny wet look, but if applied correctly you can still get a semi-matt look. The end of the show car at 5pm with customary sounding of the horns. After this we dismantled the stand, getting all the items back into Kevin’s car. We said out farewells and got ready to spring into the cars once the hall doors were opened when the public had left. I managed to be home by 640pm, even allowing for a fuel stop. I have to add it was a great event and must thank those who were on the stand as well as the visitors for making the show an enjoyable event. Jeremy Lettington (792)