I have been looking for six months for a project to work on.
As it would only be used in the summer, Mrs Mav suggested I get a convertible. So I though why not. Being a Vauxhall fan I knew it had to be a Vauxhall, so this meant Astra was the only practical option. An old shape Saab 9-3 was considered, but my budget would only get me an X or Y plate Aero with 60+k miles. So I ruled it out.
Besides I have always been an Astra fan. A Turbo was top of my list but finding a decent untouched Turbo convertible was becoming hard to find. There are a few out there but the untouched ones were not in great shape.
So I started looking at the 2.2 16v. I know it's not as quick as the Turbo, but it does have alot of 'overall' potential, being a lighter engine, the handling could be made to be quite good.
After a lot of thinking I decided I had to find one of the two limited Edition models Vauxhall launched 7 years ago. A Linea Rossa or an Edition 100.
Just a week ago, I found an 03 plate Edition 100 Turbo Convertible, 2 owners and 32000 miles. But after calling to say I would drive the 100 miles to look at it, I was told by the VX dealer that it had just been sold. Pretty gutted but obviously not meant to be.
After another search, I found this :-
Astra Linea Rossa 2.2 Convertible
One owner from new
As it was only 50 miles away I decided to go and have a look, but got everything in place so that I could bring it home if it was any good.
I arrived at the small independant dealer and inspected the car. First thing I noticed was that is was filthy, the red leather was grubby, the interior was all in excellent shape, but just dirty.
The bodywork was straight with the exception of a couple of small marks and a couple of car park dints in one of the quarter panels. But as the paint was not marked, these should be easily sorted.
I then went through the paperwork, ALL the original invoices for the car and everything that had been spent on it. Even the original purchse order form was included.
I rang the supplying VX dealer to check the service history and it all checked out fine. I then saw written on one invoice the original owners phone number. So I rang him and he confirmed that the car was as described, never been in a accident and was bought by him when he retired and was only used as a 3rd car.
So after a successfull test drive, I took the plunge and did the deal. The tyres were original and completely shot and this years service needed to be done. So this was taken into account and got £400 off the price of the car.
So I took the day off work and got to work on the clean up. Front seats out, centre console stripped out, properly cleaned and everything put back together. Leather treated and came up really well, it looks much better than it's 7 1/2 years suggest.
The the bodywork was snow foamed, clayed, glazed, sealed and waxed. Only about 3 marks remain, but I am tempted to leave them alone as all the paint is original and I don't want to start having panels painted.
Under the car had 7 years of muck and grime which needed to be cleaned out. The engine bay had a quick clean which to be fair was not too dirty.
I then fitted the following :-
New VX Flat Blade Wipers
New VX Moulded Mudflaps
Here is the end result.
The car was then booked in to Marshall's for the following :-
Brake Fluid Change
Full software check and update
The only thing Marshall's found was the tyres are knackered (More on that later) and the exhaust back box was pretty rotten, but everything else was perfect. The car has the later 2.2 engine and no pre-cat was fitted, so another bonus.
The 2.2 Engine
I have to say the 2.2 is a nice unit, it has a nice spread of torque across the rev range. After being used to turbo diesels for the past few years, it does feel a little flat low down, but once past 3500rpm, it really does move for a N/A engine.
The airbox has been de-restricted which should help in conjunction with the K&N filter.
The day I bought the car home, I knew the tyres were shot, so I ordered a new set of Yokohama Parada Spec 2 tyres in the original 215 40 ZR17" size.
I didn't like the orignal wheels are they were only the 7" wide rim and looked a bit lost in the arches. So I ordered a brand new set of GSi 7.5 x 17" rims and Marshall's built them up for me. So yesterday I collected the wheels and tyres and set about replacing them.
Here is the end result so far :-
The following modifications are planned in order of the list.
New Linea Rossa Floor Mats (Yep they are still available!)
308mm Turbo front Brakes (I already have these ready to go on)
K&N Panel Filter (On it's way in the post)
GSi Front Bumper
Irmscher Rear Spoiler
Milltek Exhaust System
Superchip Re-Map (Just iron out the flat spots and make it crisper)
Bilstein B8 Dampers
Whiteline Rear Anti Roll bar
Supercharger?? Nice idea, but very expensive!
I feel that these modifications will not detract from the original Linea Rossa model and with the exception of the rear spoiler, are totally reversable. All the parts will be kept to put back if required.
I'll update the post as the project goes on. But with only 2-3000 miles expected per year, I think I have a car now that in 4 years will still only have about 35000 miles on it and be 11 years old.
I got a call from the dealer that had the edition 100 Turbo, and he said the original deal had fallen through and asked If I was still interested. I told him to send me pictures out curiosity. I am glad I didn't buy it. The bumpers were scuffed, ALL the BBS wheels were kerbed and the tan leather had worn through on the drivers seat bolster. So glad I didn't buy it.
Comments as always welcome.