It'll outlast all of us
Service history was described as "near full", but third owner (from whom I purchased the car) had in reality only had oil changes and the like done. As a result, within 2 weeks and 1000 miles, two exhaust valves burnt out. The reduction in performance and increase in noise turned the Bluey into a 2CV at a stroke.
Once repaired, nothing else went wrong, at all. The only minor gripe was that when the car was warming up in the morning it used to like to idle at 200rpm (carb fault?). I used to get round this by using my left foot to brake and depress the clutch, while leaving the right foot planted on the accelerator.
One spot of rust - at the base of the A-pillar.
Electric aerial reluctant to retract from time to time.
Car came with only three wheeltrims, and I couldn't get a replacement for love or money. Ended up bodging a Vauxhall Carlton one, fished out of the roadside one day, to fit.
A great, great car. Even now taxi drivers will wax lyrical about them.
No looker in five-door hatchback trim (I personally prefer the looks of the saloon, but even so that ain't great), it did have seductive factory black paint, and looked superb after a wash and polish.
Best economy I got was a trip from Newbury to Wigan and back (400 miles or so) out of one tankful. Probably 40mpg. Otherwise it was mid-30s using a combination of A/B-roads and motorways.
Comfortable seats, a high 5th gear and a footrest for the clutch foot made for restful cruising. Very light power steering could put you from lane 3 to the hard shoulder on the motorway if you sneezed, however.
Lots and lots of electrical toys, and as a testament to the boys and girls in Sunderland who put it together, they all still worked after nine years.
Very cheap insurance for a family-sized 1.8-litre (Group 6), ideal for me at the time as I was 21 with just one year's no-claims bonus.
Should never have sold it really, but I was bored, it was coming up to the magic 100,000, and I didn't really need all the space and practicality. Helped a mate buy a 90H 1.8GS auto a couple of years back which he still has, so I still enjoy driving and working on Bluebirds from time to time to this day.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th February, 2003