1988 VAUXHALL ASTRA GTE MKII 8V
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.
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.