How to get one in your garage:
An expert’s view - Jon Seal, Jon Seal sportscars
“I’ve got two: one for the track and one for the road. Although prices have risen, they’re still good value compared with an Elise of the same era. The hardest thing is finding a good one. There weren’t many to begin with and today there are even fewer. I reckon there are probably just 50 remaining that you could truly describe as collectable. As for the VXR220, there’s only about that number left in total, and we’ve got three of them in stock.”
ENGINE - A rattly timing chain on the 2.2 engine needs urgent replacement. Dip the oil several times to get an average reading. Viewed from the rear, check there are no oil leaks from the right-hand spark plug due to over-tightening cracking the cylinder head.
The 2.0-litre turbo has a cambelt that should be changed every four years or 60,000 miles. Perished hoses, loose jubilee clips and a seized recirculation valvecancauselowboostpressure.
COOLING SYSTEM - Check the radiator for a leaky bleed nipple, cracked fins and perished plastic end caps.
WHEELS, BRAKES AND SUSPENSION - Sloppy handling is probably worn bushes. Check for leaky damper seals. Ensure the alloy spring mounts haven’t crumbled to bits. Inspect the condition of the brake hose to the servo, and the rear hub securing bolts.
RECALLS - There have been four, concerning front brake caliper bolts, driver’s airbag and the possibility of rear wheels fracturing. (Unaffected wheels are stamped ‘HT’.)
BODY - Peer through the front grille to check the crashbox. Lift the boot carpet and look for signs of crash repair. Check the lights are sound because a single front light costs as much as £1000. Inspect the door tops, bootlid and front and rear clams for cracked paint caused by moisture ingress. Check the front clam isn’t cracked at the base of the windscreen.
INTERIOR - Ensure the boot release works. If it’s raining, expect a few water leaks.
Also worth knowing:
Although Vauxhall stopped producing front and rear clams long ago, you can get them from various suppliers, including lotushardtops.com. A front clam costs £1000 and a rear £1794.
How much to spend:
£7,500-£10,995 - Early private-sale 2.2s with up to 130k miles but in reasonable condition and with lots of history for around £7500, rising to £8995 for 2002-reg cars with around 70k miles.
£11,000-£12,750 - Dealer-sale 05-reg 2.0 Turbos with up to 80k miles for around £11,500 and some tidy, low-mileage (around 30k), 02-reg 2.2s nudging £12,500.
£12,800-£14,995 - Nice Turbos at a range of ages and mileages; some bargains among them.
£15,000- £19,995 - Cherished low-mileage Turbos with good provenance, many around £17k.
£24,000-£26,000 - Low-mileage VXRs with solid histories.
One we found:
VAUXHALL VX220 TURBO, 2005/05, 76K, £11,950
This Turbo has been resprayed black at some point but we’ll forgive it since it’s being sold by a respected specialist, so we’re confident it’s sound as a bell. It’s a standard car with “good service history”, a smart red and black interior and no mechanical issues.
Vauxhall Corsa VXR review
Vauxhall VX220 review
Vauxhall Astra GTC VXR review