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A Grand Monday: Vauxhall Astra MkII

Published 03 November 2014

When the second-generation Astra went on sale in 1984, it marked a complete change of direction for Vauxhall. Where the MkI Astra had been a sharp, angular looking hatchback, this latest version was curvaceous and more aerodynamic in profile, making it stand out from crucial rivals like the MkIII Escort and MkII Golf.

Happily for Vauxhall, the newcomer proved to be a hit with the car-buying public, as well as with the European Car of the Year judges, who gave top honours to the MkII Astra (and its Opel sister, the Kadett) for 1985.

Most Astras of this generation have long since been scrapped, but this survivor - a 1991 Vauxhall Astra 1.6 Merit - looks tempting thanks to its realistic asking price of £750. It might not be the most exciting version, being a fairly lowly three-door Merit and featuring automatic transmission. But don’t let that latter feature put you off, for under the bonnet sits Vauxhall’s 1598cc engine in 82bhp guise – which gave this particular Astra a reasonable turn of speed for the time.

This is potentially one of the last MkII Astras, being registered in late 1991, and looks to have been well cared for. It has spent most of its life in the hands of one family, and has always been garaged. It comes with an MoT until June next year, and also benefits from relatively recent Brembo discs and pads, new rear brakes shoes and a K&N air filter.

The vendor describes the car as ‘always maintained to a high standard’ and reckons it’s wanted for nothing over the years. The engine bay is particularly clean and the interior looks very impressive, coming complete with its original stereo, handbooks and so on.

This could make a good buy for anybody looking for an everyday car with retro appeal and the ease-of-driving that automatic transmission brings. After all, the MkII Astra is one of those models from the ’80s that’s still available for relatively little money, yet which offers plenty of usability. 

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