Rapid Trans­port

We take a close look at one of the most bonkers Vaux­halls in the UK, a Zafira VXR with room for a large fam­ily and enough power to make Porsche own­ers blush!

Performance Vauxhall - - ZAFIRA VXR - Words Jarkle Pho­tos Chris Wall­bank

The Zafira VXR per­haps rep­re­sents the high wa­ter mark of Vaux­hall’s early 2000’s lu­nacy, a point in time where this tra­di­tion­ally ul­tra­con­ser­va­tive, highly con­trolled (from the big­wigs over at GM HQ in Detroit) com­pany de­cided, ‘sod it, let’s VXR ev­ery model in our range!’ The GSi badged model that pre­ceded it cer­tainly made head­lines at launch and Vaux­hall ev­i­dently rel­ished be­ing able to claim they sold the world’s most pow­er­ful peo­ple car­rier, but it’s the less well known VXR model that came next that truly took things to an­other level. Tak­ing the run­ning gear from the As­tra VXR and fling­ing it at the bodyshell of the all-new Zafira really shouldn’t have worked, par­tic­u­larly as buy­ing one new was a se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment, but the re­sults were spec­tac­u­lar – 240bhp is im­pres­sive enough to­day, back in 2005 it must’ve seemed cer­ti­fi­able!

If there’s one thing we know and love about the UK’s Vaux­hall scene it’s the fact that ev­ery­one in­volved can’t leave well enough alone, and if it came with a Grif­fin badge on the front, chances are it’ll have been tweaked and tuned at some point. The Zafira VXR was no dif­fer­ent, and within months a num­ber of tuners were offering re-map pack­ages, helped along thanks to the car’s shared VXR pow­er­plant. The ex­am­ple we have here is the cul­mi­na­tion of all this; a 500bhp+ mon­ster of a peo­ple car­rier, a car that’s ev­ery bit as ca­pa­ble of blast­ing down the Au­to­bahn at three­fig­ure speeds as it is haul­ing a fam­ily to the sea­side. Owned and built by Ian Waterfield over the course of two in­ten­sive years it can stake a claim to be­ing among the most pow­er­ful Zafiras in the UK, be­ing de­nied the top-spot by the car of friend and fel­low Vaux­hall nut, Aaron McCann.

Rapid de­ci­sion

“I was look­ing at buy­ing an Audi Q7 at the time, some­thing I could use to trans­port the fam­ily in, ”Ian re­calls. “By the time I got back to the dealer it’d sold though, so I de­cided to have a look at the Vaux­hall. It wasn’t my first choice, but I quickly fell for it.”

A pre­vi­ous history of Vaux­hall own­er­ship had left Ian with an im­pres­sive stock of Z20LET and LEH parts, all of which were tempt­ingly gath­er­ing dust in his work­shop. It was sim­ply too much to re­sist, and within weeks the mod­i­fi­ca­tions started to flow – mere months af­ter sign­ing his name on the V5, Ian had a Stage 3 Zafira VXR good for 304bhp. It’s here that the is­sues be­gan to arise, firstly when the turbo seals de­cided they didn’t fancy seal­ing any­more, even­tu­ally ren­der­ing the OE K04 fit for the scrap heap. The next log­i­cal step up was a Gar­rett, Ian even­tu­ally se­lect­ing the ever pop­u­lar GTX3071R and pair­ing it with a Tial 44mm ex­ter­nal waste­gate and MOK (Michael O’Keefe) tubu­lar man­i­fold.

per­for­mance VAUX­HALL

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