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Guest Message by DevFuse


Lacking any Merit: MK2 Astra estate now for sale


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101 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Brodders


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 01:11 AM


As some of you know, I purchased PBK's Triumph 1300 a couple of weeks ago. The delivery of it faced many difficulties, mainly caused by my incompetence. I made arrangements for the car to be picked up on a certain day, only to text my details to a different number, resulting in myself and Ken each wasting a day as the chap never got the go ahead from me for the job. When the car was delivered, we were unable to get it into the garage, as I had stupidly decided to rent one at the top of a small hill. To top it all off, after the driver left, I spent ages looking for the keys, and texted Ken to see if he had them, only to realise they were in my pocket the whole time.

Thankfully it is now tucked up in my garage and at the weekend my tame welder (dad) had a look over it to see what was what. He found nothing unexpected and was rather impressed by the condition it was in, especially what he could see underneath. Unfortunately, we both came to the conclusion that we would need a bigger workshop to do the work (as opposed to my small garage) and he wouldn't want to do it until it is a bit warmer, which is perfectly understandable.

I agreed, but found myself wanting to find something interesting to do over the Christmas break. Naturally eBay calls at this time to provide guidance, support and temptation. The criteria for the possible purchase was that it had to be cheap to buy, cheap to insure and in a reasonable condition. A suitable vehicle was found, a visit was made and the following day an auction was won. Yesterday I went to make payment and become the proud owner of this.


To those who do not know, it is a 1987 Vauxhall Astra 1.3 Merit (named such for irony) Estate. Overall pretty pleased with it, it has no power steering, or central locking and only 4 gears, however it has a heated rear windscreen.

I really enjoyed the drive home. It has bags of character and is really fun to drive with a basic mechanical feel that I have missed out on with all of the other cars I have driven. There are a couple of bits and pieces that need to be fixed, the fan only works on the highest setting, the boot strut doesn't work, it idles a little bit high when warm and there are bits and pieces of rust around the car, but overall a solid car that will keep me occupied for a month or two.
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#2 OFFLINE   purplebargeken


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 01:13 AM

Cool on all counts. That looks bloody woeful. Congratulations.

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#3 OFFLINE   John F

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 01:16 AM

Wow, it's even in that miserable blue colour as well. Top darts!

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#4 OFFLINE   Bren


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 01:24 AM

From a time when GM products were unburstable.
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#5 OFFLINE   vulgalour


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 01:41 AM

Nice.  Is it wearing Mk2 Cavalier trims?  I understand the standard Mk2 Astra Merit full-size trims have a habit of flinging themselves off without warning.

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#6 OFFLINE   captain_70s


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 01:46 AM

Nice.  Is it wearing Mk2 Cavalier trims?  I understand the standard Mk2 Astra Merit full-size trims have a habit of flinging themselves off without warning.

In my experience that is true of all plastic wheel trims and also the Triumph's expensive stainless embelisher rings which are littered in ditches and hedgerows across the north east of Scotland...


Nice car that Disastra, reminds me of the sort of stuff that was motoring around Leeds when I was young.


#7 OFFLINE   adw1977


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 01:51 AM

Nice.  Is it wearing Mk2 Cavalier trims?  I understand the standard Mk2 Astra Merit full-size trims have a habit of flinging themselves off without warning.


Well spotted!  They are from a Mark 2 Cavalier L

Vauxhall Opel brochure June 1986 060-061 Cavalier L.jpg


It should have these:

Astra Merit.jpg



Anyway, nice purchase!

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#8 OFFLINE   Faker


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 03:27 AM

reliving my youth

#9 OFFLINE   Timewaster


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 06:30 AM

Astra "Merit"

See also: Peugeot 309 "Style" and Mitsubishi "Charisma"
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#10 OFFLINE   Cavcraft


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 06:53 AM

Lovely, even better in estate form. Please keep it well secured at all times though, they are apparently incredibly easy to TWOC and were once the most stolen car in Britain.
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#11 OFFLINE   Sudsprint


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 06:59 AM

Great car. My sister had a 1.3 auto from new. In silver with 13''GTE wheel trims it looked lovely.


That little engine was very sprightly even connected to a auto gearbox.


Rear arches go though...

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#12 OFFLINE   95 quid Peugeot

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 07:12 AM

Top buying young man.
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#13 OFFLINE   drum


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 07:28 AM

When I was in my boy racer phase (30 years ago) 1.3 mk2 astras were the fastest thing on the road. My 1.3 mk2 escort didn't have a look in.

I ended up with a blue 1.2 estate in 2 door form which might have been the slowest car on the road, but a great workhorse.IMG_0733.JPG
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#14 OFFLINE   Asimo



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Posted 21 December 2017 - 07:29 AM

These are much better than they look! More driver legroom than the contemporary Cavalier for a start and of course the basis for the fastest van ever.

As for that failing boot strut, just having the one always seemed an economy too far. All those asymetric stresses on the door hurt my engineering sensibilities.
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#15 OFFLINE   taxi paul

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 07:54 AM

Great for boot sales. You need a pasting table and a load of rusty old spanners and other shite . Make a fortune*.
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#16 OFFLINE   Datsuncog


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:00 AM

Beautiful. Just beautiful. Top buying!

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#17 OFFLINE   BorniteIdentity


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:01 AM

My mate Martin Stanford's mum had one of these in the 80s and, consequently, a lot of under 9s away fixtures were completed in the back of one.  I was strangely fascinated with the concept of the 3dr estate.  Even as a young child, I realised it looked like a 'funeral car'.


Great buy

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#18 OFFLINE   pandamonium


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:02 AM

I flipping love that. 


Keep me posted if it needs moving on... 

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#19 OFFLINE   beko1987


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:18 AM

Fantastic! My grandad ran a g reg astra Mk2 hatch in red as his work car in the 90's,so Granny could have the Nova Luxue saloon!

Apart from mot time, when they swapped
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#20 OFFLINE   AlabamaShrimp


    Er what?

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:28 AM

Top buy! I had a silver J reg estate one. No idea the engine or time but it was excellent and drove a lot better than the Mk4 Escort I'd had before it.

#21 OFFLINE   tooSavvy


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:35 AM

Nice.  Is it wearing Mk2 Cavalier trims?  I understand the standard Mk2 Astra Merit full-size trims have a habit of flinging themselves off without warning.

Lemm Mingging Rimmz, eh?

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#22 OFFLINE   wuvvum


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:46 AM

Top bombing! Can't remember the last time I saw a pre facelift estate on the road.
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#23 OFFLINE   oldcars


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 08:53 AM

That is class, love the shape of these. Well bought.

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#24 OFFLINE   brownnova


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 09:42 AM

Superb! One of those cars which was ubiquitous in my youth which now seem to have all but disappeared.
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#25 OFFLINE   Rusty_Rocket


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 09:43 AM

You absolute winner.


I so nearly pounced on this on eBay, but decided 1 crap VX estate was enough!

These things are such a product of their time.  Dull paint colours, doudy grey bumpers etc, they just scream 80s to me and were everywhere for years it seems.  Then, overnight they disappeared :(


I went through three in the early 90s, all were 'end of life vehicles' but the engines were always so punchy and enthusiastic, they totally overwhelmed the woeful handling and steering.  But that was all part of the charm.  They are simple, rugged vehicles that are big inside and small on the outside.


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#26 OFFLINE   Talbot



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Posted 21 December 2017 - 10:13 AM

The driving position and general ergonomics of 80's Vaux stuff was just so good.  I miss these and Mk2 Cavaliers.. they were just the perfect fit for me.


Definite ROFFLEFODDER when you're done with it!

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#27 OFFLINE   DSdriver


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 10:25 AM

We had one in that colour, but it as a 1.4 saloon with petrol engine and it was an excellent drive, really willing to be pushed through the gears. We eventually sold it when the peugeot-of-last-resort came to live with us. The Astra took umbrage and blew its head gasket within a week of being sold so I gave the guy his money back and sold it for more to a breaker. A car to be loved :)

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#28 OFFLINE   The Reverend Bluejeans

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 10:35 AM

I took a 1988 Vauxhall Belmarsh Merit 1.3 in p/x against an E30 nearly 20 years ago, and apart from being ugly it was alright. It was willing, good on fuel and when I got it broadside and clipped the back wing against a bin lorry I had a severe case of idontgiveafuckitis. Only a small dent.


Ran it for a month and sold it via admag for £495.



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#29 OFFLINE   Dick Longbridge

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 11:05 AM

The driving position and general ergonomics of 80's Vaux stuff was just so good. I miss these and Mk2 Cavaliers.. they were just the perfect fit for me.

I owned an ‘86 1300L Astra in faded burgundy in my last year couple of years at uni. I’d ‘upgraded from a beige 18 year old Jetta to a 13 year old Astra, and I loved the thing. As Talbot mentioned, the ergonomics were spot on - Vauxhalls that era were bloody lovely to drive.
This is mine after reaching down to turn up the volume to The Cardigans ‘My favourite game’, and having to choose between a bus stop signpost or the back of a car turning right. It was ok though - we ‘pulled out’ the slam panel and front crossmember with a car jack, stuck on a secondhand bonnet and FL bumper/bonnet and roped it down for almost 12 months as the slam panel still didn’t quite line up.
Look after yours - great purchase!

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#30 OFFLINE   johngarty


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Posted 21 December 2017 - 11:29 AM

Great buy, very nostalgic. I shared a lift with a planner on a refinery contract from Wirral to Essex every weekend. He had a green one of these and floored it on early morning motorways all the way, average 90/100 mph. I was always a similar shade of green but the car never missed a beat in 12 months. 

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