Vauxhall Astra GSI 1.8 16v | Spotted

Feast your eyes on a hot Vaux time machine

By Matt Bird / Monday, 6 November 2023 / Loading comments

Let’s be grateful for the car carers. Those people who cherish and dote on their vehicles, even if they aren’t exactly bonafide classics worth enough to retire on. In recent years it’s become all too easy to part with old cars and switch them for newer, shinier ones; some iffy old-school build quality won’t have helped survival rates, either. While it has brought benefits for many, it’s hard not to bemoan the chronic lack of variety now on our roads in regular use. Even to an eagle-eyed enthusiast, everything can feel quite samey. 

Which is why this Mk3 Astra GSI is such a great find. They’re never, ever seen nowadays, and it’s hard not to raise a smile at red 16v badges, a twin exhaust and racily pinstriped upholstery – the old hot hatch hallmarks are present and correct. By rights, it really shouldn’t have survived all this long; even by the less-than-stellar standards of the early 1990s, this wasn’t a class leader. Moreover, this is a 1.8-litre GSI, introduced after the more powerful 2.0-litre red top – presumably because it was a more insurance-friendly way to get the handsome GSI look at a time when joy riding almost killed off the hot hatch entirely.

Despite all that might have ended the GSI – there will have been many years when it was down to Shed money, too – it’s still here 30 years after first registration. With just 70,000 miles, too. And, most importantly, it looks terrific. We’re used to saying cars have been lavished with love and affection over the years, but this old Vauxhall really seems a very special one indeed.

There’s inevitably a bit of wear (let’s hope the headliner is repairable), though it all seems commensurate with considered, careful use. The exterior in particular is superb, with wheels and paint in fantastic order. It’s hard to stop going through the pictures again and again, because here’s the first GSI for sale on PH in yonks – and a belter to boot. 

Even more encouragingly, the ad states it’s had a lot of parts recently renewed, which should mean less to do for the next owner. The work included a cambelt, water pump, springs, dampers, brake pads, discs and lines – a chunky spend, surely. That’s on top of a comprehensive service history, lots of receipts and the original GSI brochure. They just really don’t come up like this any longer. 

Like so many of the hot hatches, saloons and sports cars that were once quite common and are now never seen, the Astra must be one a few will regret selling on for a grand not long ago. Nobody could’ve imagined the days of a £15k GSI, yet here we are. Whether it’s worth that will probably depend on how fond your memory of the 1990s and old Vauxhall Astras is. But whoever you are and whatever you pay, please keep this GSI as good as it is now – we need survivors like this to be bringing a smile for years to come. 


Engine: 1,799cc, 16v four-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 125@5,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 123@4,800rpm
MPG: 30ish
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1993
Recorded mileage: 71,000
Price new: £15,600 (2.0)
Yours for: £15,995

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