Performance Vauxhall - - FRONT PAGE - WORDS & PHO­TOS Christopher Otto

Jens is some­thing of a Corsa A afi­cionado. Prior to this lit­tle stun­ner his pre­vi­ous Opel was a Corsa A (or Nova if you must) sa­loon, which was well known in the Ger­man car tun­ing scene. But in 2007 the sa­loon made way for this hatch, and it’s al­ready had sev­eral very dif­fer­ent iden­ti­ties be­tween then and now, as Jens strives to cre­ate some­thing out­stand­ing and dif­fer­ent each year. One of its pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tions in­volved a su­per­charged C20XE which was even­tu­ally swapped for a more con­ven­tional turbo set-up.

While all that was great, and the Corsa was al­ways im­pec­ca­bly turned out at the var­i­ous Show and Shine con­tests through­out the coun­try, he soon re­al­ized that fo­cus­ing on big power builds prob­a­bly wasn’t the wis­est of ideas. Af­ter all what good is 300bhp if the car’s pri­mary pur­pose is to look good? So along with his mates from LMS Cus­toms Jens set about tak­ing the Corsa back to ba­sics in a quest to cre­ate a sim­ple, yet per­fect show stop­per. It would be as much about what wasn’t fit­ted to the car, and it would fo­cus on re­mov­ing any­thing un­nec­es­sary. By do­ing this it would en­hance the rare orig­i­nal com­po­nents Jens had squir­reled away over the pre­ced­ing years.


But be­fore any of this could take place, there was a more fun­da­men­tal is­sue at stake – namely the bodyshell. While in great con­di­tion, time had taken its toll, and to make the ul­ti­mate show car there was only one thing Jens

could do – and that was to com­pletely strip the car down, and start again, quite lit­er­ally, from scratch. Thank­fully Jens just hap­pens to be a car re­storer by trade, which is handy.

As the car was in gen­er­ally good or­der with min­i­mal rust Jens could fo­cus his at­ten­tion on the en­gine bay – it was al­ways go­ing to be the flag­ship fea­ture of the car. Many an hour was spent smooth­ing, fill­ing and clean­ing un­til there was no hole, no seam, and no edge vis­i­ble un­less it was ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary.

And like a per­fect frame around a work of art, Jens dropped in the Corsa’s new en­gine – a mint, and very old­school 13SB com­plete with its most strik­ing fea­ture, the twin 45mm Del­lorto carbs. But to get th­ese fu­elling be­he­moths to fit re­quired Jens to delve into his parts stash and un­earth an ul­tra rare IRESA man­i­fold (Hands up, we’d never heard of one ei­ther!), with all the as­so­ci­ated hoses from Earls, im­ported from the States. Equally rare is the camshaft, in this case one from Sch­le­icher, a com­pany more fa­mil­iar to VW tuners. To com­ple­ment the cams Jens obeyed the old school tun­ing prac­tices by car­ry­ing out plenty of head work fol­lowed by a skim to in­crease the com­pres­sion ra­tio.


To add to the clean look an al­loy rad with in­te­grated header tank lives in the en­gine bay, paired up with chrome pipes. It’s a looker, of that there is no doubt, but it also per­forms sur­pris­ingly well for a carb fed 1.3, and de­liv­ers around 120bhp.

Mov­ing on to the ex­te­rior

“Air vents? Head­unit slot? Yup, both have

been ‘re­moved”

you’ll con­tinue to find the same at­ten­tion to de­tail. The con­tem­po­rary porce­lain blue colour sets off the bronze glass a treat, and the re­moval of the pas­sen­ger mir­ror, and wipers takes ‘clean­ing’ to the next level. Prac­ti­cal it may not be but damn it looks good! Much in the same way we covet Euro tail­lights to re­move the ‘ugly’ re­vers­ing light, Jens had fit­ted a UK light to give the same ef­fect.


Now we couldn’t really men­tion the ex­te­rior with­out men­tion­ing the wheels – they’re a real love ‘em or loathe ‘em mod – and are Jen’s favourite as­pect of the whole build, not least be­cause he made them! While they may look like pukka BBS fan­blades Jens couldn’t find any no mat­ter how many favours he called in, so there was only one so­lu­tion – DIY! With hours spent milling com­po­nents, and the grand to­tal of 124 in­di­vid­ual fins (hand cut on a ta­ble saw and each painstak­ingly de­burred with a file) the cov­ers were com­plete and bolted to a set of 6.5x16in steel­ies. So even if you’re not keen, you’ve got to re­spect the work in­volved.

Fol­low­ing on from the min­i­mal­ist ex­te­rior the in­te­rior fol­lows a sim­i­lar path. We bet you’ll ‘dou­ble take’ when you check out the pics. Air vents? Head­unit slot? Yup, both have been ‘re­moved’! To epit­o­mize Jen’s level of OCD the rear screen came with­out the demist­ing el­e­ment (which is ex­actly how he wanted it), but the fact that there was still a switch on the heater con­trol panel drove him slowly in­sane, so he spent months track­ing down the cor­rect switch with­out the demist op­tion. It took an equally long time to track down rear side pan­els that didn’t come with ash­trays in them. How many peo­ple will spot this at a show? Prob­a­bly very few, but those in the know will un­doubt­edly give a nod of ap­proval to his ded­i­ca­tion. And that word, ded­i­ca­tion also pops up when the seats are men­tioned. Jens was des­per­ate for a set out of a Corsa GT, but so rare were they that he ended up buy­ing a com­plete car so he could relieve it of its che­quered chairs!

Un­usu­ally, in many ways the best things about this Corsa are the fea­tures it doesn’t have. And for that we salute Jens and his in­cred­i­ble cre­ation.

13SB en­gine fea­tures mas­sive Del­lorto carbs and some ul­tra rare com­po­nents

Pared right back to ba­sics, with a twist

Love ‘em or loathe ‘em tur­bo­fans were hand-made by Jens

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