CORSA BUYING GUIDE
Owning, tuning & modifying the 16v
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