1989 Bedford Astramax 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


I've had my money's worth about 20 times over


Front wheel bearings at 105,000 miles, and now grumbling again.

Clutch at 120,000 miles.

Alternator at 155,000 miles.

Top end rebuilt at 190,000 miles with a new camshaft and followers, decoke, and to replace weeping head gasket.

Brake system rebuild at 200,000 miles.

General Comments:

Fabulous van. Used for a small landscape gardening business and it's amazing what you can squeeze into it. Bought as an ex demonstrator with 250 miles on the clock in June 1989.

The tiny 1300cc engine is very powerful for its size and unladen it will still top the ton if required. It popped its head gasket at 190k and with the camshaft clattering badly, I took a weekend and rebuilt it with new cam and followers. The engine once again runs beautifully. Returns around 35 mpg in daily (laden) use. Gearbox has never given a day's trouble, and the clutch can be replaced without removing it. This makes it a £150 job even professionally.

Creaky interior now with knackered seats and overall tatty feel, but mechanically it's been a peach. I change the oil and filter once a year, the spark plugs and air filter every two years, and the cambelt every three. It just works. Body has a bit of rust, but it's only cosmetic.

A solid, reliable little van that still does everything I need it to do, and has never failed an MOT. Until this changes, I'll hang on to it. It owes me absolutely nothing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th June, 2005

28th Oct 2005, 04:56

To switch over your 1.6 diesel engine should be relatively easy.

I would probably aim for a 1.7TD Isuzu engine from a MK II Astra-van is this would drop straight under the bonnet.

6th Jul 2008, 16:15

Boooyaaaahhh! astramax!!!

27th Apr 2011, 18:24

A 1.7 diesel "Gutless" Astramax... you're VERY unlucky!

Both mine go like stink and pull like trains!!

Astramax collector.

15th Oct 2011, 13:56

Everyone has at some point in their driving career been overtaken by an Astramax at 110+, complete with two burly builders and a roof full of ladders. Fastest vans ever made! :-)

A mantle now passed to the Mercedes Sprinter.

9th Apr 2012, 14:01

Totally agree, my 89 Max was given to me for scrap, but lives on and flies around at all speeds, returning 45+ MPG to boot :-)

3rd Jan 2023, 15:01

Father had one of these vans back in the day, great for work and weekend drives. Simple, reliable vehicles.