300-HP MK1 Vauxhall Astra Sleeper Is an 80s Family Car With a Race Car Pedigree


Classic cars are a dying breed, and unfortunately, not many of them can make it to the collectors’ list. Some of the most exciting cars of the 80s are rotting in junkyards in shadows of their former selves – not this MK1 Turbo Astra. Riccardo Senior from LivingLifefast checked out this epic build. 

Scott’s MK1 Astra Turbo is quite the looker. It’s a time capsule, looking as fresh as it came out of the factory 36-years ago. Unlike most restored older sports cars, Scott has kept his Astra as simple as possible. It’s amazing how cool a car can look by simply lowering it and keeping it clean.

The Astra was very popular in Europe in the 80s and 90s. It was Opel/Vauxhall’s landmark and an entry-vehicle into the front-wheel-drive segment dominated by VW Golf. The Astra had a 1.3-liter engine and came in a plush 1300 GL hatchback and 1300S estate variants, making 60 and 75 hp, respectively.

This MK1 Vauxhall Astra might look calm on the exterior but under the hood, it packs some serious heat. It comes with a 2.0-liter swapped Calibra turbo engine. It’s fully forged, IRP-ed, with bigger injectors, standard turbos, and a chipped ECU. It runs on a front-wheel-drive setup, weighs about 2,000 lbs (907 kg), and makes 300 hp, which is phenomenal for a car from 1984.

Scott has owned the car for 5 years and explains that it started as a project car. He’s done all the mods on the car by himself except the paintwork. So far, he’s spent £5,000, which is a bargain for a car that originally cost him £420.

The Vauxhall Astra is quite the corner ripper on the road. It is snappy and offers instant feedback. There’s nothing fancy in the interior, just basic seats and standard gauges. It’s a typical 80s family car.

Scott puts his foot on the gas and it wails with power thrusting forward fast. He is still looking to do more mods on the car, pushing it up to 500 hp.

It’s interesting how much power you can make from a conservative build on an 80s car.