1986 Vauxhall Senator 2.5i 2.5 petrol from UK and Ireland


Stylish old cruiser


Front passenger and rear driver's side electric windows do not work. Might be duff motors, switches, wiring in the doors or just dirty contacts. Will have to investigate.

Heater fan not working on any speed. Apparently this is a common problem, caused by the resistor pack burning out. Various clubs do a plug-in fix so I will try and obtain one.

Central locking doesn't work from driver's door - still works from passenger door though.

Clutch is shot. But £15 for a new clutch on eBay and a few quid to my local mechanic should sort that out.

Airlock somewhere in the cooling system - intermittent gurgling/sloshing noise from behind the dash.

General Comments:

This is one of the last of the old 'square-shape' Senators, registered in January of 1987. These were badged as Opels until late 1984 when they became Vauxhalls. Well-loved by the police when new, my car is a base-spec 2.5i (the 3 litre was more popular) with the rare 5-speed manual transmission.

Bought cheap (£102 with 3 months MOT) due to badly-slipping clutch (see above).

Car has had two owners - a company from 1987 to 1990 then an elderly lady until now. Mileage is 68,000 but no service history - could be 168,000 but general condition of car seems to indicate it hasn't gone round the clock yet.

Bodywork largely rust-free - these cars are known for rust around the front suspension towers, but this one only has minor surface scabs. Minor rust on rear wheelarches and under one rear light. Car has taken a hit in the front nearside wing behind the bumper - the bumper has also cracked.

Interior is mint. Firm, well-padded velvet seats very comfortable. Pedals quite heavily offset to the right - the clutch is where a front-wheel drive car would have the brake pedal. Car is tuned for a smooth ride, almost American in this regard. Nice, light power steering.

Engine has a lovely note and is quiet at speed. Should accelerate quite well once the clutch is fixed. Brakes appear over-servoed.

You don't see many about any more so it's nice to keep one on the road. Plenty of chrome to keep clean on a Sunday afternoon.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th February, 2006