Vauxhall in a Decade-a-Day


Vauxhall Astra GTE MK.1

Vauxhall’s 9th Decade-a-Day entry is reserved for its first official hot-hatch, the Astra Mk1 GTE, which spawned an almost continuous line of fast Astras, ending with the last-generation, 280hp VXR.

The Astra GTE Mk. 1 marked Vauxhall’s first foray in to the relatively new ‘hot hatch’ segment, which had been dominated by the Golf GTi since the late Seventies.

Based on the 1980 Astra Mk. 1, its fuel injected, naturally aspirated 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine produced 115bhp, giving it a power-to-weight ratio of 115bhp per tonne, and a top speed of 115mph. Acceleration from 0-60mph was a highly competitive 8.5 seconds.

But the GTE wasn’t all about power. The standard Astra on which it was based was already acclaimed in the dynamics department, but with revised springing and damping, wider and lower profile tyres and a close-ratio gearbox on later cars, the GTE was raised the bar yet further.

As Car & CarConversions reported: “Remarkably high cornering loads are attained without any deliberate ‘unsettling’ of the chassis. As with less powerful Astras, it is virtually impossible to spin the car and it always turns-in on command, irrespective of entry speed.”

Technical Data:

Body: 2-door hatch

Engine: 4 cylinders, in-line

Engine Capacity: 1796cc

Top Speed: 115mph

0-60mph: 9.5 seconds

Fuel Consumption: 29-47mpg