BUY & TUNE: CORSA B GSi

Twenty-five years ago, the Corsa B GSi was re­leased to great ac­claim. Here’s what to look for if you’re tempted to buy one to call your own...

Performance Vauxhall - - CONTENTS - WORDS Dan Furr and Dougie Rank­ine PHO­TOS Ade Bran­nan

Our guide to sourc­ing and mod­i­fy­ing a mod­ern clas­sic.

Launched in 1993, the Corsa GSi fol­lowed the Nova GTE (and later GSi mod­els), a car which suc­cess­fully forged a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing com­pe­tent, quick and af­ford­able. The new ar­rival had a lot to live up to.

Whereas the Nova fea­tured sharp, ag­gres­sive lines, the Corsa was softer, rounder and sig­nif­i­cantly more re­fined. It was, how­ever, less well equipped, which goes some way to­wards ex­plain­ing the lower pur­chase price; the Corsa GSi cost £10,970, a full £710 less than its pre­de­ces­sor. Cru­cially, the Corsa was sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper than sim­i­lar of­fer­ings from ri­val man­u­fac­tur­ers, in­clud­ing Re­nault, whose Clio 1.8 16V emp­tied wal­lets for close to £1,800 more than Vauxhall was ask­ing for.

A What Car? road test from 1993 rated the Grif­fin-badged su­per­mini as ‘four out of five’, cit­ing midrange punch, good turn-in, re­spectable grip and an en­gag­ing driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as de­liv­er­ing more fun than any other Corsa on sale at the time. The car hap­pily oc­cu­pied its place in Vauxhall’s per­for­mance range, sit­ting be­low the Mk3 As­tra GSi and Mk3 Cava­lier SRi. Even so, de­spite its pleas­ing price point, the baby GSi sold in low num­bers. Con­se­quently, lo­cat­ing a sur­viv­ing ex­am­ple for sale to­day is hard work. Fac­tor in the ef­fects of the dreaded tin worm, plus the like­li­hood of find­ing a Red Top in place of the GSi’s 1.6-litre lump, and you can see why an un­mo­lested Corsa B GSi in good cos­metic con­di­tion is a car in high de­mand and one likely to fetch a pretty penny.

In this guide, we take a look at what you need to be aware of if seek­ing out a Corsa B GSi to­day. Choose care­fully, and you’ll bag your­self a nippy Vauxhall that’s enor­mous fun, burst­ing with per­for­mance po­ten­tial and likely to prove a shrewd in­vest­ment.

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