It’s only very recently that the modern-classic collector market has picked up on just what hot property the Vauxhall Vectra B is. The second-generation Vectra (which, of course, was technically the first-gen Vectra in the UK, as the Vectra A was our Mk3 Cavalier) was launched in 1995 as a saloon or hatchback, with an estate version following the year after. The General Motors influence was clear, with the Vectra B being based on the GM2900 platform.
A variety of engine and spec options were offered, and these cars had surprisingly keen handling, peppy performance from their revvy and willing motors, and impressive levels of equipment. Air-con, traction control and a trip computer were standard fare at the upper end of the model range, which made for a marked step up over the outgoing Cavalier in terms of prestige.
The model we have here, the GSI, is a particularly desirable machine: packing the refined yet muscular 2.5-litre V6 engine, it serves up an engaging and effortless 198bhp, combined with a thoroughly impressive level of trim. Recaro seats, handsome wheels, attractively redesigned bumpers, it all adds up to an impressive package. And of course, the most significant element here is this: when did you last see another one? These cars used to be everywhere, but in 2020 they’ve all but winked out of existence – and finding one in this sort of condition is very rare indeed.
The current owner is a collector of high-quality modern classics, and was keen to buy absolutely the best example of a Vectra B GSI that was available. This one has now been in family ownership for four years, having been purchased from the specialist dealer Appreciating Classics – a company with a seemingly supernatural ability to find impeccable examples of obscure cars.
In the time he’s owned it, the owner has used it sparingly, keen not to put too many miles on it while still using it as it should be used – and, naturally, ensuring that the maintenance is carried out with loving care. As the paperwork attests, the car hasn’t wanted for anything and has had more money lavished upon keeping it in tip-top condition.
Now, however, the time has come to free up a slot in the collection for a new acquisition, so it’s time for this unique example of an increasingly rare car to find itself a new loving home.
Being a serial collector with a meticulous approach, it’s no surprise that this Vectra comes complete with a comprehensive history file. The full set of original books is present, including the owner’s manual, service book, audio manual and assorted other publications.
The service book is full of dealer stamps, corroborating the impressively low mileage and demonstrating that the car has always been serviced according to interval rather than simply distance. In addition to the complete service history, there are also numerous receipts and invoices for work carried out on the car, most notably the tasks recently undertaken to prepare it for sale; over £3,000 has just been spent to get the in enviable condition. This was all done by Copse Automotive, and is clearly documented in the file.
It’s incredibly rare to find a Vectra B interior as clean and original as this – usually they’ve been knocked about thanks to the vagaries of family life, minicab duties or fleet slogging, but this one looks just like it did when it rolled off the production line. This is thanks to the previous owners taking care with the car, and also that it’s just received a full inside-and-out professional detailing at a cost of £720.
The standard-equipment Recaro seats are wonderfully supportive, all of the correct trim is in place, and all the buttons, lights and gauges work as they should. The car had been fitted with aftermarket blue dash lights, and the current owner has recently had the instrument cluster disassembled and the bulbs replaced with standard-spec items, all of which cost £324.
The boot struts have been replaced with new items as the originals were a little weak; inside the boot we find the carpet in good order, and everything’s dry and proper beneath with a full-size matching spare wheel in place.
The deep-blue paint has a beautifully deep lustre to it, testament to the car having spent most of its life in the garage rather than out in the sun, and all of the correct GSI trim is in place – the front bumper, side-skirts and rear spoiler.
All of the light lenses, badges and trim pieces are in excellent condition, and the body appears free from dents, dings, scratches, scrapes or corrosion. This isn’t a Vectra that’s been bumped around as a workhorse, it’s always been cherished and it shows.
The window glass is all flawless, the seals are good, and everything opens and closes with a pleasing smoothness. The exterior has recently been fully professionally detailed, including removing each wheel to individually ceramic-coat them. The car is remarkably clean underneath too, the underside being extremely straight, solid and original.
This earlier iteration of the GSI features the full-fat 2.5-litre V6 engine which serves up 198bhp, as opposed to the later 2.6-litre GSIs which were strangled back to 178bhp. As you’d expect from the comprehensive service history, this is an engine which has always been looked after, and it truly purrs like a kitten today – no rattles on start-up, no belt noise, no squeaks, it runs just as you would want it to; whisper-quiet at idle, with a deep-lunged and sonorous rumble at high revs.
A large amount of money has recently been spent to ensure that this 2.5 is in the best shape as it can be; as well as a full service (Plugs, Mobil 1 oil and filter, air filter, pollen filter, fuel filter), it has a new OE clutch, new coil packs, and an upgraded lightweight flywheel from renowned Vauxhall tuners Courtenay Sport – this is a popular and proven upgrade in the Vectra community, allowing the V6 to rev a lot more freely.
On the road, the owner reports that the car drives like new – ‘powerful, refined, and full of character’ is the way he describes it. It’s clear why this model was so popular in the early-2000s, and why it’s becoming so sought-after today.
This car represents a unique opportunity. It’s by far the cleanest Vectra B we’ve seen since these things were available new in the showroom, and the owner’s fastidious attention to detail has ensured that everything is just as it should be. He makes no bones about the fact that this is a machine with niche appeal – but plenty of classic cars exist within curious niches, as do an increasing number of modern classics, and to a certain faction of the car enthusiast community the Vectra B GSI will represent the realisation of a dream: whether it’s something your dad drove when you were younger, or something you fantasised about levelling up to when you were issued a Vectra 1.8 as a fleet car in the nineties, or you grew up watching the Super Tourers in the BTCC and saw the GSI as a road-going manifestation of that, this car could be the one to make that dream come true.
The Vectra is in fine mechanical fettle, and wants for nothing as a jump-in-and-drive proposition. An excellent addition to the toy-box for any serious modern classic collector, this is a rare Vauxhall wants for little, but can give you everything.
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