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1990 Astra GL Diary

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  • 1990 Astra GL Diary

    My original Show Us Yours thread is old and lost its pictures so I thought I’d start again since it looks like it’s about to undergo a partial restoration.
    This could be a long post!

    Bought in April ’96 as my first car, I think I paid £3500 for it as a standard 1990 1.6GL. They were everywhere then and I know 11 people with mk2’s at the time so I knew a bit about them already.

    Enjoyed the car as it was, I wasn’t that into cars then, got interested in Vauxhalls and wanted a 2.0 16v, couldn’t afford to insure a GTE so was looking for a Cavalier or Calibra 16v. After looking at a lot I found them to either be in poor condition or silly money (in 1997/8) then I found out about Courtenay Sport who were close to me, spoke to them and done a bit of investigation work and found out that I could have the LET put into my car for less than a decent Cavalier or Calibra 16v and it would be cheaper to insure it too!

    Early 1998 I joined the waiting list for a LET, had the arches tidied up for the first time! Fitted gte rear lights, GTE bonnet, Sri rear bumper, and as I couldn’t find a late Sri/SXi or CD bumper, fitted a carflair front over bumper cover. Who remembers them? Also Cavalier mk3 alloys fitted, still on the car.

    March 1998 uprated brakes, 16v rear beam and Bilstien dampers with lowered springs fitted. It handled so much better and I remember keeping up with a standard GTE through the corners but losing it on the straight bits.

    June 1998 was LET time, Courtenay had the car a month and it left them with the standard LET and F20 box fitted. It wasn’t cheap. The car had done around 80k at this point and the Let had about 30k on it. As the engine bay was empty I had it tidied up and resprayed.

    I enjoyed it for the next few years, found a CD front bumper, lost the door locks, sprayed the front grill, door handles and a few other bits. Fitted Cavalier GSi front seats.

    2000 I found a complete CD in a scrap yard, on top of an SXi estate, stripped the entire interior for my car, although mine had a black dash and plastics the seats and carpets weren’t up to the CD quality so they all went into mine. Found the interior to be in good order although I didn’t lift the sound deadening in the front footwells….

    2001 crashed it! Pulled out in front of a car trying to look around parked cars. New front bumper, wing and indicator later it then had the porous head problem. Two head repairs fixed it, the first fix failed after a few hundred miles.

    2002 replacement sills, all the body work done on the car has been done by the same person, he’s retired now so trying to find someone new who I trust and has an interest in the car.

    From this point it became a second car and had summer use, garaged through the winters.

    2003 replacement chip Courtenay chip CS2 which upped the power to 230bhp, also Quafe LSD fitted with a lightweight flywheel.

    2006 found a complete Champion interior, comfiest seats I’ve had in it, always meant to get the door cards trimmed to match, one day.

    2006 I had a custom intercooler made for it, this was then rolling roaded to set it up and it made 250bhp. Removed the lowered springs and fitted standard GTE 16v springs with the bilstiens, I couldn't take the crashy ride any longer, it looked better lowered but now drove a lot better.

    From 2006 mortgages, wedding, babies got in the way of the car, it has always been on the road and used though the summers but not much more done to it except I got rid of all the GTE bits. Brand new lights, original bonnet went back on, Arches tidied up again! SXi grill replaced the painted original.

    2008 Carcoon bought for winter storage. Bonnet swapped back to the original item.
    Ill add more when I remember it.

    2015 the cars now done 156k and after a bit of bad running it’s now better than ever, finally got round to curing the leaky sump with an 8v gasket, then…..

  • #2
    Re: 1990 Astra GL Diary

    Squeaking sound from the boot area lead me to find this.

    Subsequent stripping of the interior found this.

    I have spoken to my garage who should be doing the work on the car. This was before I found the footwells, still waiting for them to get back to me. The only other area I’ve not checked is behind the sound proofing in the engine bay….

    I couldn’t imagine not owning this car now.


    • #3
      Re: 1990 Astra GL Diary

      if you struggle to get it sorted griffin, contact Cracknells Garage in Thurston, Bury St Edmunds. The restoration work they do is second to none. Work on E types etc.


      • #4
        Re: 1990 Astra GL Diary

        A good potted summary there plus after so many years and a reasonable mileage it's only showing reasonable wear.

        I imagine you'll get it repaired again and it'll still end up costing you way less than the depreciation you would have experienced buying say a new/few year old Astra every 3-5years.

        Good luck to a nice car.


        • #5
          Re: 1990 Astra GL Diary

          i'm sure that's just a skimming the years and a tiny fraction of the effort that went into it, good story good luck with the chassis restoration and kudos for not bailing on it


          • #6
            Re: 1990 Astra GL Diary

            Thanks for the comments. I'm sure a lot more effort has gone into it than I can remember now.

            Had my bodyshop guy over last night with his 'tapping hammer' not much worse than in the pictures above, it has rotted through the bulkhead along the seam below the steering rack. Next job is to remove the bulkhead sound proofing. Not sure if I should attempt to get it off in one piece or just rip it out and bin it. I don't think i'll be putting it back in.

            What seems strange is that the floor mat and the whole area was dry, it's also solid under the car in this area, I'm thinking it must have been like this for years.

            It has crossed my mind to call it a day but it will live again. I'd rather shut it in the garage as it is then get rid as I know I'd regret it.
            Last edited by The Griffin; 14-05-2015, 01:28 PM.


            • #7
              Re: 1990 Astra GL Diary

              Save it! More 5 doors needed. Annoying about the bulkhead; that's about the only area my poor old 1.3 hasn't rotted, due to it's low 'L' spec it doesn't have the insulation there. My floor was a bit worse than yours due to the seam sealer drying out and shrinking on the scuttle drains. Please check yours!
              Shock was similar in the boot although not quite as bed. Strange area to go I thought. Driver's side?
              I like the way the electric window wires are kinda taped in place. I'm glad it looks like I've routed mine in the factory positions.

              Will keep a keen eye on this thread.


              • #8
                Re: 1990 Astra GL Diary

                Keep at it chap have seen worse look at my restore thread I too thought about calling it a day I took a deep breath and got stuck in


                • #9
                  Re: 1990 Astra GL Diary

                  Regards the sound deadening, if you can get it off in one good piece you may be able to sell it, either way i'd definitely get rid if I was you. They tend to hold moisture against the bulkhead and helps the issues your now having. Good luck with getting it sorted bud.


                  • #10
                    Re: 1990 Astra GL Diary

                    It went to the body shop on Friday evening so work should be underway. I've told him theirs no rush and he knows what the car means to me and that I want a good tidy job doing even though it's all hidden. I hope to get some updates soon.


                    • #11
                      Work is progressing slowly

                      It should be ready for the winter!

                      As always it was a bit worse when the cutting out started, the seam under the bulkhead sound deadening was rotten almost the entire length, also a bit of rot in the top of the chassis rail where the bulkhead joins it.
                      Last edited by The Griffin; 12-09-2015, 04:58 PM.


                      • #12
                        Ah, how satisfying! Top job by those guys there.


                        • #13
                          Nice write up and I'm loving the 4 door Turbo, keep at it. Why people insist on tuning 3 doors all the time is beyond me as a 4 door is much more practical
                          My GTE diary and the mk3 Arctic 3.0 V6 diary.


                          • #14
                            wow, youve had this for just shy of 20 years.
                            many mods, many miles, and keeping it going.
                            good man
                            looks great.

                            i dont think ive seen that rear bumper before, is it aftermarket ?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by astra216 View Post
                              i dont think ive seen that rear bumper before, is it aftermarket ?
                              I believe it's an early SRi, pre '89 facelift version.
                              My GTE diary and the mk3 Arctic 3.0 V6 diary.