Performance Vauxhall - - CONTENTS -

Have you ever stopped to think about the great­est Vaux­halls never made? The man­u­fac­turer’s aborted Omega project had the po­ten­tial to knock stuff­ing out of the lux­ury Ger­man car mar­ket, but what about the game-chang­ers you’ve imag­ined dur­ing con­ver­sa­tions with your mates over a pint in the pub? Y’know, cars Vauxhall’s de­sign de­part­ment didn’t think of. Per­haps you’ve fan­ta­sised about a C20LET-pow­ered Mk3 Astra GSi with four-wheel drive ca­pa­bil­i­ties? How about a Ti­gra mak­ing use of a 3.2-litre V6? What about a su­per­charged Signum?

In­spired by these dis­cus­sions, the chances are many of you re­turned to your garages and work­shops and had a bash at bring­ing your ideas to life. This is cer­tainly true of se­rial Carl­ton and VXR8 owner, David Brown, who ad­mits he’s never been able to un­der­stand why a Lo­tus Carl­ton tourer wasn’t pro­duced in pe­riod. All the power, all the prac­ti­cal­ity, all the po­ten­tial to re­alise the ul­ti­mate won­der wagon. What’s not to love?!

With the help of Ant Lom­mano at Vauxhall and Opel tun­ing firm, A&M Con­ver­sions, David set about cre­at­ing what he sees as a miss­ing piece of Vauxhall’s per­for­mance port­fo­lio. This is no half-ar­sed styling ex­er­cise – ev­ery Lo­tus Carl­ton part has been car­ried over to the lairy load lug­ger, from the leg­endary sa­loon’s twin­tur­bocharged 3.6-litre in­line-six to its AP Racing brakes.

If you’re af­ter a chunk of un­usual per­for­mance metal Vauxhall did get around to pro­duc­ing, then you could do a lot worse than try­ing to source a Vectra B ST200. Recog­nised as be­ing one of the rarest mod­els our favourite car maker has re­leased to date, this Speed­line-shod V6 icon was even dan­gled in front of world su­per­bike cham­pion, Carl Fog­a­rty, in the hope of lur­ing him into track ac­tion on four wheels. Lit­tered with awe­some equip­ment, in­clud­ing a lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial, an MSDfet­tled en­gine and model-spe­cific Re­caros, the 2.5-litre hot hatch boasted im­pres­sive spec­i­fi­ca­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, an eye-wa­ter­ingly high price tag and con­fused mar­ket­ing en­sured Vauxhall’s tar­get of fifty units was never reached.

With so few ST200s built, your big­gest prob­lem is go­ing to be find­ing an ex­am­ple avail­able for pur­chase. If you are lucky enough to iden­tify one ready to fill that space on your drive­way, then be sure to read the buy­ing guide in this packed edi­tion of

Per­for­mance Vauxhall.

Mean­while, in the realm of read­ily avail­able Griffins, other cars fea­tured in this is­sue in­clude Cal­lan Ack­er­man’s Ar­den Blue Astra VXR, Daniel Mur­ray’s Astra SRi Turbo and Dave Green’s duo of 2.2-litre Corsa Cs. You may recog­nise each of these wild Vaux­halls from this year’s PVS, where Kieran Johns’ SAAB-pow­ered Corsa B Sport won the event’s Show and Shine award. Read all about them across the fol­low­ing pages, and be sure to check out our Vectra VXR’s amaz­ing wrap re­veal on page 70.

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