Own­ing, tun­ing & mod­i­fy­ing the 16v

Performance Vauxhall - - FRONT PAGE - WORDS Dave Reid, Dougie

Launched in 1992, the Corsa GSi had a rep­u­ta­tion to up­hold. The Nova GTE (and later in GSi guise) had built up a loyal fol­low­ing for be­ing a com­pe­tent, quick and af­ford­able part of Vaux­hall’s per­for­mance range. The Corsa was softer, rounder and more re­fined than its pre­de­ces­sor al­though bizarrely it was less well equipped. It did cost less than the Nova though – £10,970, as op­posed to £11,680 for the out­go­ing model. This meant it was around £1800 less to buy than the top N/A hot hatch of the time, the Re­nault Clio 1.8 16V, which had 137bhp but a higher in­sur­ance group. The car was well re­ceived, with a What Car? road test from 1993 rat­ing the car four stars out of five and stat­ing “Give it a clear road and the GSi really shines... good midrange punch, nice steer­ing turn in, a fair amount of feel and re­spectable grip at pub­lic road pace make the GSi far more fun than the lesser Cor­sas.”

It had all the re­quire­ments of a ’90s per­for­mance Vaux­hall and sat in the range be­low the 2.0 16V As­tra GSi and Cav­a­lier SRi nicely. Hav­ing sold in rel­a­tively low num­bers and with time be­ing hard on the baby GSi, good stan­dard ex­am­ples are get­ting in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to find th­ese days, with most fall­ing into a state of dis­re­pair or they have been fit­ted with the oblig­a­tory 2.0 16V and turbo power plants from their larger sib­lings.

In stan­dard (or even near-stan­dard) form, a Corsa GSi is a rare find th­ese days, but they are out there and in this guide we take you through what to watch out for when buy­ing one, with as­sis­tance and ad­vice from Bel­mont Vaux­hall Se­nior Tech­ni­cian, Ge­orge (Dod) Hud­son.

Choose care­fully and you can bag your­self a car that’s enor­mous fun, looks great, is burst­ing with po­ten­tial, and likely only to in­crease in value in years to come.

It would ap­pear very lit­tle goes wrong gear­box-wise on stan­dard cars, per­haps the con­ser­va­tive power out­put of the en­gine is re­spon­si­ble for this but as with most GM boxes, they are strong but with the miles can be­come notchy and crunch into gear from cold. A high bit­ing point would sug­gest the fric­tion ma­te­rial on the clutch plate has seen bet­ter days. Gear­box fluid changes are an over­looked ser­vice ad­di­tion, but fresh oil can trans­form the gear­box. Gear­box link­ages are gen­er­ally ro­bust but can be­come sloppy with age lead­ing to ex­ces­sive play in the gear­stick, how­ever re­build kits are avail­able at lit­tle cost and worth the ef­fort. CV gaiters should be checked for ev­i­dence of split­ting or leak­ing. A fresh gaitor could be hid­ing worn CV joints so check th­ese by driv­ing slowly on lock, lis­ten­ing for any click­ing or baulk­ing.

Even if the CV gaitors look fresh give

them a check – they could be hid­ing worn

CV joints.

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