I have a 2004, 1.6 litre, 101hp Vectra C. When I bought it, from a dealer, I had to make a trade-off between some nice options or a nicer engine. Suffice to say, that two zone climate control and other little tweaks seemed better than a bigger and more powerful engine. Well, not that powerful, it was the 1.8 litre 140hp. They had both of the cars available for pickup in less than a week, and I was still getting a good deal, since I was buying the Vectra at the price of the new Astra (it was new then), which was what I initially set out to buy.
Since then, I tried to make my car stand out and not look so much like... base model. It came with steel 15" rims, no chrome on the window-sills, not even some floor mats. Here's a quick recap of what I changed or added to the car. I got a Sony DVD touch-screen something-something player instead of the CD-only standard stereo. I upgraded the speakers to 5.1 surround from GroundZero. I went to a professional studio and had the seats reupholstered with two-tone natural leather. I added the Irmscher 4-tip exhaust system, the Irmscher side-spoilers, the Irmscher boot-spoiler, the Irmscher rear air diffuser, added the missing chrome on the windowsills and put the car on some 17" OZ rims with 225/45/17 tires.
On Monday, I will be adding some more things to the car. I have ordered the Irmscher front bumper (the facelift one), the Irmscher suspension kit (dampers + springs, I think), two xenon kits (one for high beam and one for low) and I am thinking about some new 19" alloys.
Overall, the money spent on these "extras" for the car would've easily covered the cost of a new one (sell this one, add the money and presto), but no. I've become attached to my Vectra. I know it's every facet, every little build imperfection, everything about it just suits me now perfectly. I couldn't give it up.
Nevertheless, I can add to it forever but the only thing missing is that extra punch a 3.2 or a 2.8 OPC engine brings to the table. I went to a tuning firm not long ago and, after inspecting the car, they came up with a solution to increase the power. A bolt-on turbo kit. They would buy the turbo, then custom build the exhaust connections, special radiator, pipes and connectors, remap the ECU, install a blow off valve, an intercooler, change the pistons and even go so far to change the clutch. The estimated power output? 315 hp. On my little front wheel drive 1.6 Vectra. To prove it, they showed me a front wheel drive Mitsubishi... something, that they had upped to 500 hp. It did 0 to 62 in 4 seconds. The front wheels were spinning all the way to 62. I told them that I loved my car, and its little quirky engine, and that I didn't want to put a serious strain to it, so they suggested that we do it in stages. They would adjust the turbo output in such a way that I was pleased with the car. First stage? 180 hp. Second stage? 220 hp. Third? 315 hp. Although 315 hp might sound like a lot, and make my little 1.6 Vectra a VXR/OPC killer in disguise, but the mechanics and engineers there warned me that in less than 60.000 km the gearbox would disintegrate, and so would most of the engine parts. And the cost for turbocharging the car? 7000 euros, not including clutch and labour.
I said "No thank you" and decided to give my 1.6 a normally aspirated life... until I read that the new VXR/OPC Corsa would have a 1.6 turbocharged engine that would develop somewhere between 160 and 190 hp, and that the same engine would be found on the new Astra as well. I know Opel. I know Vauxhall. They wouldn't redesign a whole engine just for this. This is the same 1.6 engine that has been in the Astra and Vectra for some time now. They just strapped a turbo on it. So why don't I just do the same thing? I had a talk with my local dealer, and the head-mechanic. It would be cheaper and do-able, since they can get the parts and they're confident that the engine will cope with the power increase. I am waiting for the new models to make their way to Romania so that the people involved can take a closer look.
Everyone until now has called me mad. They pleaded that I buy the car I always wanted to buy. They even went so far to calculate how much money I had lost re-investing in the car. But I have a feeling that there are a few people on this forum that would understand the kind of bond you can form with a certain car.
I will take some pictures of the car tomorrow and post them. I'm sure some are curious about the car, and I need some help in choosing the right 19" alloys: snowflakes, VXR/OPC or something different. We'll see. Hope it was worth the read.