ESTATE OF MIND
Have you ever stopped to think about the greatest Vauxhalls never made? The manufacturer’s aborted Omega V8.com 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
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.