1988 VAUXHALL AS­TRA GTE MKII 8V

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Classic Cars For Sale - Gil­lian Car­moodie

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

Power de­liv­ery from the en­gine is im­me­di­ate, work­ing through the rev range smoothly and cleanly, and with a great ac­com­pa­ny­ing ex­haust note. The clutch is light yet firm, and gear changes re­quire very lit­tle ef­fort. The steer­ing and han­dling are di­rect, with the Joy­road HP RX3 tyres of­fer­ing plenty of grip from their thick tread. The brakes have enough strength to halt the ve­hi­cle quickly, en­gag­ing straight and true. The sus­pen­sion turns pot­holes into back-break­ing craters, but that’s how these cars left the fac­tory. The sporty set-up makes tight, hard cor­ner­ing some­thing of a lark. This GTE be­haves like some­thing much younger than its 29 years.

BODY­WORK CHECK

It was dry-stored for the last 14 years be­fore be­ing fully recom­mis­sioned, so the body pan­els are straight with equal panel gaps over the frame. The wings, doors and shell are en­tirely orig­i­nal, wear­ing fresh red paint show­ing no signs of blem­ishes, runs or scratches. The only nig­gle is a soli­tary white scuff above the driver’s door han­dle. Win­dow rub­bers are un­per­ished and there are no cracks or stone chips in the wind­screen. All ex­te­rior de­tail­ing and trim are like new, with a solid ex­haust and crust­free un­der­side. Whee­larches and win­dow sur­rounds are clear of bub­bling and the bot­tom of the doors show no ox­i­di­s­a­tion spots or cor­ro­sion is­sues. The boot floor is free of rot, too.

HOW’S THE IN­TE­RIOR?

All the fit­tings work per­fectly, in­clud­ing the ana­logue clock, Philips ra­dio/cas­sette player and the (once) fu­tur­is­tic LCD dig­i­tal read­outs for oil pres­sure, bat­tery volt­age, wa­ter tem­per­a­ture, fuel gauge, speedome­ter and rev counter. The grey car­pets are in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion. The door­cards are com­plete, but some brown mark­ings are creep­ing in. Cloth seats fea­ture red and grey stripes and have es­caped stain­ing. The head­lin­ing is un­dam­aged, but a few age re­lated marks are start­ing to make them­selves ap­par­ent. The only real prob­lem with the in­te­rior is the pas­sen­ger-side sun-vi­sor, which has a life of its own, thanks to a bro­ken clip.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

The en­gine ap­pears to be in fine fet­tle, start­ing on the first turn of the key and emit­ting no wor­ry­ing smells or ex­haust smoke. Flu­ids are up to the max­i­mum mark, with no oil or coolant leaks. Inner wings are in ex­cep­tion­ally good con­di­tion, while pipe cov­ers are un­bro­ken and wiring un-frayed. All brake lines are strong, while sus­pen­sion tur­rets and coil springs are in good shape.

THE CCW VIEW

With strong me­chan­i­cals, a clean body and time­warp in­te­rior, we reckon that this is one of the finest ex­am­ples on the mar­ket.

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