In 1976, at the instigation of new chairman Bob Price, Vauxhall decided to increase their profile in international rallying. They developed a rally version of the Chevette in conjunction with Blydenstein Racing, who ran Dealer Team Vauxhall, the nearest equivalent to a ‘works’ (manufacturer run) competition team that GM policy would allow.
In order to compete in international rallying, the car had to be homologated; for Group 4, the class the HS was to compete in, this meant building 400 production vehicles for public sale. Vauxhall created a far more powerful Chevette variant by fitting the 2.3 litre Slant Four engine, using a sixteen valve cylinder head which Vauxhall was developing.
The HS became a great success as a rally car, clocking up notable wins for drivers such as Pentti Airikkala with the car on offer today and Tony Pond. It was a challenge to the most successful rally car of the time, the Ford Escort, winning the British Open Rally Championship for Drivers in 1979 and for manufacturers in 1981.
The Works machine AVE 345V being offered for sale is the one in which Pentti Airikkala won the 1979 Sedan Open Championship. En route to the Championship he secured an outright win on the Ulster rally, a 4th on the Costa Brava and 7th on RAC. The car is presented in its final HSR form which was made during the 1981 season. It has a 2.3 ltr Slant four engine which has been dry sumped is a 16 valve engine. The gearbox is of course a ZF dog leg S5/18-3 dog box, it has a four link rear axle, AP brakes, works ratio limited slip dif and rose jointed suspension.
The interior is still period correct and features the floor mounted fuse and relay panel only found on the works machines. The car has a new MOT and is accompanied by FIA / MSA Papers and the Historic Technical Passport.
This car offers the chance to get guaranteed entries all over the World in any of the Historic Rallies as well as a chance to own a rare piece of Rallying History.