If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, then the proof of the restomod project car is in the driving, which is how we’ve found ourselves in the enviable position of once again being asked to commence work on a custom Vauxhall Chevette, one with liberal dashings of HSR-style aggression and fast road functionality.

Our last Chevette build centred on another HSR tribute, albeit one intended to be a rally car from the get-go and built and spec’d accordingly. It thus evolved into a brutally powerful, immensely capable bit of kit, and it has subsequently become a regular class winner in the hugely competitive Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship, and while engendering a stream of positive comments, remarks and enquiries. It was, in short, a very well received car indeed, not to mention one we at Retropower derived a great deal of pleasure from planning and building.

Indeed so pleased were we with the first HSR that we jumped at the chance to build another, hence Project Vader, our attempt to build a Group 4 rally-inspired classic the Sith Lord himself would be proud to own and drive.

A study in all-black, all of the time, Project Vader has taken shape over the course of the last 18 months. Spec highlights include a braced shell with a fully triangulated weld-in roll cage, one of Paul Exon’s highly rated C20XE Redtops (since dyno tested and found to be producing a shrieking 265bhp at the flywheel), a Quaife Quaife six-speed sequential gearbox, and of course, one of the special, extra-wide bodykits fitted to DTV-run Chevette HSRs on tarmac events like the Manx and Circuit of Ireland.

Now complete and in the process of being returned to its patient owner, Project Vader has been a joy to build, so much so that everyone at Retropower is a tad conflicted at seeing it depart our premises for the final time. Still, it stands as a testament to just how massive a transformation is possible if you’ve the time, funds and inclination, and also how much potential the humble Vauxhall Chevette has.

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