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1990 Vauxhall Astra GTE – Classified of the Week

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By Chris Pollitt

There’s nothing better than a good, old school hot hatch. Actually, scratch that. There is something better. A good, old school hot hatch with a digital dash. Because traditional odometers with needles and dials are for the weak. What we want is a mass of LCD goodness. Yes, what we want, what we need is a Vauxhall Astra GTE. The only car in history to be overshadowed by its own instrument cluster. It was amazing, like having your very own K.I.T.T, or that funky Subaru Jackie Chan sat in the back of in The Cannonball Run. The fact that the GTE dash was, at best, vague, is beside the point. It was a needless gimmick, and they’re the best gimmicks. 

Of course, we should probably talk about the car, too. In this case, it’s a 1990 Astra GTE 2.0 eight-valve. And don’t scoff at that. Men in Vauxhall jackets will tell you, whether you want to hear it or not, that the sixteen-valve GTE is the only one to have. Ignore them and their online forum name badge. The GTE with eight valves was a delight, and delivered more than enough power for the little Astra. Plus, relatively speaking, the eight-valve was and still is an uncomplicated beast, meaning it’s easy to work on and cheap to maintain. Perfect, then.

Vauxhall, Vauxhall Astra, Vauxhall Astra GTE, Astra GTE, GTE, hot hatch

With 122bhp and 173Nm in a car that weighed just 981kg, it was a proper riot to drive. A bit prone to understeer, granted, but that’s symptomatic of cars of this era. Your car could only be a true hot hatch if it would understeer into a tree without provocation. That said, healthy brakes and a decent set of tyres will go a long way to cancelling that out. And happily, the car we’ve chosen here seems to have lived a life free of trees or any abuse in general, which is a rare thing for a car of this ilk. Sadly, a great many of them were either crashed or modified into oblivion in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s. Those that escaped that fate still had rust to contend with, and Vauxhalls loved to rust.

Vauxhall, Vauxhall Astra, Vauxhall Astra GTE, Astra GTE, GTE, hot hatch

Being white, this particular GTE would show rust with ease, but look, there are no blemished or yellowing paint to worry about. It looks to be as straight as a die, and in original condition, even down to the stereo. This is a proper survivor car. The Recaro seats look to be immaculate, the dash is free of cracks, it’s just completely unabused. A real rarity, then.

Vauxhall, Vauxhall Astra, Vauxhall Astra GTE, Astra GTE, GTE, hot hatch

Admittedly, at £5,500 some may scoff. But hold that thought. This is an unrestored, original car with a hair over 55k on the clock. It’s only had two owners. It comes with stacks of history and it’s presented in exceptional overall condition. If you were of age, back in the ‘90s, a GTE was the stuff of dreams. This is the perfect car to capture what you so lusted for back then. And cars like this are rare, so keep it in fine fettle and that value is only going to go up, trust us.

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