My story of Astra onwership would not be complete without pics of my first Astra, my MK1 GTE turbo, I'll let the pictures do the talking!
or (Max Power Live - Brands Hatch) 1997:
Cromer Cliffs 1997:
October 2004, time to sell my Mitsubishi FTO, it had given me 3 ½ years of fun and looked the business, but the power never matched the looks.
Why did I buy an Astra Coupe turbo? The answer is simple and probably the same one as many other owners, it looks great, it’s quick and has tuning potential, plus being an ex Courtenay employee the choice was an easy one. What wasn’t so easy was finding one that was in good condition that was fitted with the extras I wanted. Leather was a must and I didn’t want silver as they are too common, like most used cars I stumbled on a 51 plate coupe, breeze blue with the ½ leather interior and an grill. The only problem was it was over 100 miles away in Scunthorpe, but I had to have a look, luckily the seller was willing to meet me ½ way in Sleaford, now I know you should not buy a car at a petrol station, but we shook hands and a week later she was mine.
What abut the FTO?, it was sold within 4 days of being advertised and is now in Fife, a young lady drove over 300 miles to buy it as she liked it so much in the pictures, a year later and she was still enjoying it.
Like most Coupe turbo owners I kidded myself that I’d not modify it, but no one else was fooled! The first things were small ones, heater rings, air filter & pipe, boost & volt gauges, some Lexmaul rear lights and my private plate, K3FUS, was moved across.
Then a SMIC was purchased for £200 second hand along with a CS2 remap, I told you being an ex Courtenay employee was going to be an advantage, I was very happy with the results, the car was much more responsive than before and mush better than my old Calibra Turbo.
The modifying bug was still there, I’d always liked the GSI front bumper and after missing out on an SRI Turbo one I took the plunge and ordered a new one. Following its 2nd paint job, the original colour match was awful. I also got the engine cover painted and fitted some angel eye headlamps, but we’ll come back to them later.
In August my ex-wife replaced her Street Ka with a TT coupe, this was the excuse I needed to throw some more money at the coupe, what with its 1st anniversary coming up. I booked the car in at Courtenay for the CS4 coupled with the first VXR turbo, water injection, a full Miltek system, sports cat and cat removal and to finish it off some Eibach springs. Now I was really smiling and the car’s performance was superb, but two things bugged me, firstly the standard wheels and secondly the SMIC.
In October I replaced the wheels and sold the old ones on, I kept 17” wheels as the roads in Norfolk are not kind to bigger ones.
Then I fitted the FMIC, 5 hours of hard work, cups of tea and a chat to Matt Smith. As the air pipes were off it was time to fit some black and blue silicone ones, the engine bays was blinging now.
Winter had arrived and anyone with angel eyes knows that you need HIDs to see any thing, not a problem I paid £170 for a kit, but they were nothing but problems. My patience with them was wearing very thin and eventually I took the HIDs out along with the angel eyes and fitted some silver headlamps. I know some people call them “poverty spec” headlamps, but I never liked the tinted ones on my car.
Like most Coupe owners my standard 4 CD player stopped playing some discs, I have a habit of being in the right place at the right time and this landed me a brand new Kenwood MP3 head unit for…………….£72! who needs a CD changer?
Then the unthinkable happened, I nearly sold the coupe………why? I wanted a VXR. The deal was going to cost me £9000, not a small amount of money. The more I thought about it, I had an order form completed on line for the VXR, the more I could not justify the extra money the VXR would cost compared to the difference in the two cars. Finally I made my mind up, yes the Coupe was going to stay for a couple of years more.
I always like the Irmscher rear bumper trims, but they always seemed to be expensive for what they were. to the rescue, finally I had bought some and fitted them and they transformed the look of the car.
Well that’s nearly the end of the story concerning what my car looks like, but remember the HIDs? Even though I had removed them it still bugged me so I bought a new kit from Genuine Autos for £118 and guess what……..they have worked a dream ever since, and yes they have passed an MOT in the standard headlamps.
Is this the end of the tale, err no, I finally got my hands on some VXR injectors and recently I had them fitted along with the low torque CS map, now the coupe’s a real killer on the road, but still has the manners of a lady.
So what for the future, I’m going to say that’s it, but some how I know that the clutch and fly wheel will need changing at some point and you know what they say….”well if you’re doing that then you might as well…………..”