Top ten Vauxhall tips
Holden VXR8 Bathurst S
- Vauxhall’s most famous engine, the 2-litre 16V 20XE Red Top was produced from 1988 to 1994 and was originally fitted to the Astra, Calibra, and Cavalier. Since then, it has subsequently been fitted to just about every other model.
- The Nova Sport is one of Vauxhall’s better known special editions, a homologation special for rallying. It came with a 1.3-litre engine, twin carburettors, Ashley exhaust, and optional Irmscher cam. These days, they are a highly sought after collector’s item.
- The most powerful Vauxhall to ever enter production was the fearsome VXR8 Bathurst S; this featured a supercharged 6.2-litre V8, producing 560bhp and 528 lb/ft of torque.
- In the UK, the turbocharged C20LET engine was only available in the Calibra and Cavalier Turbo, however in South Africa; the Mk3 Astra was sold as the 200tS, with limited slip diff and no catalytic converter. As far as we know, only one ever made it to the UK.
- Vauxhall and the UK Police force have had a long standing relationship. The Vectra C has proven to be a popular car, and you can pick up a 2.8-litre V6 Turbo ex-traffic car with 280bhp for around £3500 – VXR power for a fraction of the cost.
- If you want a sporty car derived van, then there’s no rival to the Astra-van Sportive. With a 150bhp 1.9 CDTi engine that can be mapped to 200bhp, it’ll rival many hot hatches.
- Lotus worked on the 1.6ltr 16V engine in the 1993 Corsa GSi and were so successful with it that it made around 140bhp in testing, prompting Vauxhall to fit a notoriously restrictive inlet to get it down to 109bhp for insurance purposes.
- At launch, the Calibra Turbo 4×4 could outpace the mighty Escort Cosworth to 100mph and had a greater top speed (152mph to the Cosworth’s 143mph).
- Probably the most iconic Vauxhall of all, the Lotus Carlton, caused huge controversy when launched in 1990 due to a top speed in excess of 175mph. The Association of Chief Police Officers called it ‘An outrageous invitation to speed.’
- In the early ’70s Vauxhall planned to sell a Ventora with a Chevy V8, creating a genuine British muscle car. Unfortunately the 1973 oil crisis killed the project.
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