Performance Vauxhall - - TECH -

Take off those rose-tinted spec­ta­cles. Yes, you’re look­ing at an ST200, but that means two things. Firstly, the chances are the car has led a hard life, sur­viv­ing the years where these cars weren’t worth a lot of money and were treated as ‘just another Vectra’. Se­condly, we’re talk­ing about a Vectra B, a model which went out of pro­duc­tion six­teen years ago. It’s a Vauxhall known to en­joy rot­ting for fun, so have a good poke around. A rust-eaten Vectra B is go­ing to be a pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive project to take on un­less money is no ob­ject.

With this in mind, treat the in­spec­tion of an ST200 the same way you would any other Vectra B. Look for cor­ro­sion, signs of bodged re­pairs (es­pe­cially along door bot­toms where scabs of rust reg­u­larly ap­pear). Look at the door latches, around the wind­screen, on the boot lid (around the spoiler), the chas­sis legs, the boot floor and the cross­mem­ber. Be wary if poorly matched paint and un­even door gaps which might in­di­cate ac­ci­dent dam­age. Ei­ther that, or the ST200 you’re look­ing at was pieced to­gether on a Fri­day af­ter­noon at the fac­tory af­ter a long liq­uid lunch!

Like all the best sporty Vaux­halls, the ST200 colour pal­ette was lim­ited to just a few shades. The colour peo­ple tend to as­so­ciate the model with is white (twenty-eight ex­am­ples) fol­lowed by black (five ex­am­ples), red and sil­ver (two of each) and a light blue hue re­served for the es­tate. All ST200s fall un­der the Phase 1 GSi ban­ner, mean­ing they fea­ture two­piece head­lights and in­di­ca­tors, a colour-coded grille, an early GSi front bumper (com­plete with those iconic ‘gills’), a match­ing boot lid and rear light clus­ters.

Stein­metz side skirts and yel­low ‘Fly­ing Chips’ badges were also orig­i­nal equip­ment. Many GSis and Su­perTour­ing Vec­tras have been con­verted to Phase 2 spec­i­fi­ca­tion over the years, amount­ing to sin­gle- piece front lights, a chrome grille and later rear lights. Some also fea­ture non-orig­i­nal ex­te­rior dec­o­ra­tion, such as Irm­scher grilles and tinted light lenses. The purists among you will be pleased to hear these changes are eas­ily re­versible!

On the whole, ST200 own­ers are en­thu­si­asts who treat their cars in the man­ner de­serv­ing of a rare per­for­mance Grif­fin. The chances are, if you’ve been lucky enough to find a Vectra B ST200 for sale, it has been well cared for and any un­sym­pa­thetic up­dates re­moved.

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