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Vauxhall Carlton GSi 3000 (1986 - 1994)

Last updated 7 November 2013


Buying Guide


  • Solid, German-built saloons and estates capable of mileages of 300,000 or more with little trouble.
  • 15' 4" long, 5' 10" wide, weighed between 1,166kg (1.8GL saloon) and 1,471kg (3.0iCDX estate).
  • Big, comfortable, well-liked by many owners, particularly 'Strasbourg' box automatics.
  • Strong loyalty factor.
  • Good handling and ride.
  • Pre-August 1992 may be pre-cat (check for fuel filler restrictor).
  • Estate car has a huge capacity.
  • Line-up included 2.3 litre diesels with 74bhp and 100bhp. 201bhp 3.0GSi 24v is quick. 
  • 377bhp twin-turbo Lotus Carlton is seriously quick. Dubbed by Jasper Carrott "the family car for the Fittipaldis." Lanched in 1989 it went fro 0-60 in 5.3 seconds and on to 177mph before anyone started chipping it for more power.


  • Power steering a bit vague.
  • Can suffer from electrical glitches.
  • Diesels are lacklustre. 
  • Obstructive manual gearboxes.


  • Clocking, obviously, because these cars take the miles so well. Watch out for clocked ex-taxis.
  • Some engines require timing belt replacement every 35,000-40,000 miles. Others have chains. 
  • Vital to check special rear shock absorbers in estates as these are expensive.
  • Want to see evidence of regular maintenance, including biannual autobox ATF and filter change.
  • Beware of clonky or noisy manual boxes - they're expensive to rebuild.
  • Oil breathers of four-cylinder engines sometimes get blocked. Noisy valve gear often denotes missed oil changes.
  • If it has a tow hook or signs of one having been fitted, be extra careful.
  • ECU connector block prone to hairline cracks which allow moisture in and lead to intermittent faults which could hot spot a 'cat'.
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