Unexceptional Classics

Unexceptional Classifieds: Vauxhall Astra Mk2

by Antony Ingram
25 March 2022 2 min read
Unexceptional Classifieds: Vauxhall Astra Mk2
Photos: eBay

Price: £2995
Mileage: 76,000
Condition: Original, but off the road for a while
Advert: eBay

Spend as much time browsing the classifieds as we do and you begin to notice certain patterns. Some act as warnings: Lousy photographs are almost always hiding something, and minimum-effort listings strongly suggest minimum-effort maintenance on a car.

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Others are simply observations on which cars survive the test of time, based on how many surprisingly tidy ones seem to come up for sale at any given moment.

For all the tedious tropes about French cars for instance, Peugeot 205s and 309s seem to just keep chugging on, and sites like eBay usually have a good half-dozen for sale, often looking as straight and honest as cars ten years their junior.

Another marque that seems to deliver on a long-term basis, at least if the average used car site is anything to go by, is Vauxhall.

While cars like this 1985 Vauxhall Astra we’ve found aren’t exactly common, you’re almost guaranteed to find a handful during any search, and unlike some models, the majority seem to be the common-or-garden variants rather than the harder-driven but also better looked-after hot versions.

It’s not just the Astra – there are usually a good few Novas, Cavaliers, Carltons and the like around too. We’d call them survivors, but that’s probably doing them a disservice as it suggests they’ve got through to the 2020s by the skin of their teeth. Rather they seem to have simply endured, perhaps through sturdy mechanicals and well-judged standards of build.

This Astra is perfectly unexceptional, with its 1.2-litre eight-valve four, simple factory wheel trims and blue paintwork un-sparkled by metallic flakes. There’s not even a passenger-side door mirror, so the first owner really was ahead of their time on living the unexceptional lifestyle.

In the same vein, this car features such bargain-basement fare as a four-speed gearbox rather than the five ratios coming into vogue in this period, and a simple medium- and long-wave radio with no cassette slot to chew up your favourite Duran Duran album. There’s not even a clock, just a sorry-looking square of plastic between the central vents where it would live in fancier models.

But hey, it’s all made it this far, and while a tally of 76,000 miles isn’t high for a car that’s now 37 years old, this isn’t some garage-find special still coated in the original wax either. Its one previous owner clearly used it.

One word of warning: It isn’t currently MOT’d, and hasn’t had one for eight years. That’s the kind of information you’d hope for in a more comprehensive listing, and such minimal use over such a long period means we’d want to give it a good once-over before striking any kind of deal.

Still, if we’ve learned anything from days spent trawling the classifieds, it’s that if this one doesn’t quite suit you, you’ll probably find another old Astra quickly enough.

Read more

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