Despite the common faults on these cars, they can still be fixed and you get so much car for the money and what a performer!
It is a secret sports car and is also becoming a rare beast as most are finding their way into the scrap yard now. It has proved quite a task to find one in good nick at the right price - most of the good ones either aren't for sale or are far too expensive as they are a collectors item now.
I was looking for one for about 6 months that had the following criteria:
1) A post face-lift model. (1992 on, with smoked tail lights, updated half leather seats, colour coded door handles to name a few of the diffences)
2) Was the right colour. (They were only available in four colours I think - white, red, grey and black. Vauxhall's famous flame red was a popular colour for the GSi, but fades terribly in the sun and white just looks wrong on anything that isn't a van!)
3) Not too many miles. (Although the larger Vauxhall engines do have a reputation for going on for ever)
4) Not been modified in any way. (I wanted a decent standard model so I can make my own, non-drastic modifications)
I managed to find the right one for me, and I am very happy, even though a few things have gone wrong with it, they are common problems and can be fixed without too much of a dent to my wallet.
A word of warning - you do not buy these cars for economy. Expect as little as 10-15mpg around town, but if you drive sensibly you can squeeze about 32mpg on the motorways.
The performance of these cars is quite literally breathtaking. It has made me almost have to change my pants when from a T-junction (even in the dry) the back end has stepped out and even spun the wheels in second gear! It boasts 204bhp standard and a top speed of almost 150mph!
These are not common cars on the road which makes them rather special. However, that does mean that parts (especially performance parts) are not readily available and are rather expensive. I was hoping to get a K&N 57i induction kit like I did on my previous 2.0i Carlton, but found that I can only get a panel filter, which doesn't make it look any better than it does already. I will probably be looking at universal fitments for most of the modifications, such as the air filter and silicon hoses. I will be having a custom made stainless exhaust fitted soon, which will replace the cats. (On a J plate (1992) the cats aren't a legal requirement.)
I seem to have developed a passion for these cars. I have always said that one day I will own a Lotus Carlton and also an HS/HSR Chevette. One day...