1993 Vauxhall Corsa LS 1.5TD.
Not really conventional me-transport, but with the Skoda off the road with a broken gear linkage, I needed transport, and I needed it fast. This fitted the bill.
Wasn't an expensive car, and is a little rough around the edges, but seems to be just fine where it counts. Engine sounds sweet, and the only thing that didn't work when I got it was the windscreen washers. This problem was tracked down to a pond-scum like substance growing in the washer bottle...one through clean later and that problem was solved.
Bodywork's solid, though work has recently been done on the sills (hence the grey primer!). Given the high mileage (135K), the paintwork is in surprisingly good condition, though in need of a good polish and wax. Once it stops raining for five minutes I'll try to get that done!
Inside everything's in good order, though a little grubby. Only things needing attention are one broken clip for the passenger's sun visor, and a couple of clips holding one of the trim panels in the back needing replaced - hardly major issues though!
Under the bonnet, things were a bit of a mystery to me for a while - I'd only had one diesel before, and have never had a car with a turbo before - think I've figured it all out now though. I do have to ask Vauxhall though...what possessed them to put the engine in backwards, so that the throttle linkage and most of the pipework is all stuffed down the back of the engine where you can't get at it?
Is actually a surprisingly nice thing to drive, though the turbo lag is amusing, and I'm still having to learn how not to end up with masses of wheelspin induced understeer halfway around roundabouts in the wet as a result! Think this particular car has enough torque to tow the Titanic. Despite being unexpectedly quick - it's also proven itself to be ridiculously economical...thus far coming in just below 70mpg...will be interesting to see how that goes after a good service! For this reason, the car has been nicknamed Mr. Eco.
For those of you interested in such techie type details, it's a transversely mounted 1488cc 4 cylinder inline indirectly injected turbo diesel engine, maximum power output being rated at 68bhp - don't have any details on the turbocharger itself yet though.
Update: 5th August 2007.
So, here we are, several months and five thousand miles on. The little Corsa continues to chug away quite happily. Since my last report, it's had a new set of tyres on the front (old fronts which were still serviceable fitted to the back), had a service (though is now due another oil/fuel/filter change), has had a new windscreen following a run in with a council gritter in the winter. The plus side of this was that as I had glass cover on my insurance, all I needed to pay was the £50 excess - and the replacement screen also stopped the leak into the passenger footwell. So I've got the carpets and everything dried out at long last - and the car no longer smells like a swamp. Cleaning the grime out of the seats will take rather a lot of work...so a short term solution was to stick some seat covers on. Some people would say this looks tacky...but to be honest I couldn't care less what they think. It's my car afterall.
Though I never completely managed to de-pinkify the paintwork, it looked a lot healthier after a good clean. Hopefully things will quiet down a bit here soon, and I'll get a chance to finish the cosmetic work needed outside! Given the amount of plastic that's visible, it's not surprising that this is one car which is very sensitive to having all the bumpers and such properly polished.
Somewhat to my surprise, the MOT which came up at the end of May sailed past without any work needing done. Three advice notes were issued, one for the handbrake only just passing the test, and two for the slightly tatty exhaust (which now has a stinking great hole in it, but still is making no noise...guess that back box doesn't do a lot then). I've never had a car go through without needing work before!
Fitment of my trusty old CD player went without a hitch (though getting the new ISO cage in was awkward in the extreme)
Tomorrow the car goes into the garage to get a much overdue timing belt change done. I'll be happy to have this done, as it's one of them things that's been nagging at the back of my mind ever since I got the car - I don't like not knowing when it's last been changed. Especially as the manual states every 4 years/40K miles...and as the car's got 140K on, and there's no mention in the service book of it having been changed...
A few niggles remain though. Not least the fact that the car's run decidedly cool ever since I got it, usually running just on 90 degrees, however it's been getting cooler and cooler. So I've either developed a car with a 100% thermally efficient engine...or my thermostat's knackered. Somehow, the latter seems infinitely more plausible! It'll be getting replaced next month.
Also on the to-do list for next month will be a new set of brake discs, pads and a new set of shoes for the drums on the back. Will be giving the handbrake's mechanism a once-over and regrease then too, as the cable's sticking slightly on release. If need be, the cable(s) will be replaced at that time.
Also on the list of things to do is fixing the formerly erratic, now totally dead external thermometer. This used to periodically throw fits and display totally improbable figures like -38°C and such, but has now packed in entirely. This annoys me. Reckon that the fault probably lies with the sensor (behind the front bumper, just in front of the radiator - mounted to the back of the vertical bar there), will see if Vauxhall will supply one for sensible money tomorrow. If that doesn't fix it, there must either be a wiring problem, or the HUD actually has a problem. Which would be annoying, as I'll have to take the facia apart again to remove it if that's the case. Just did that to replace the bulbs in the heater controls (if you've got a Corsa, and have wondered how to get in to these - there are two screws that hide behind the centre vents - these have to be removed to get the console out! Nicely hidden, GM...).
The cool running problem turned out basically not to be a problem. I checked the thermostat, and it appeared to be opening as per the book value, following emails received from a couple of other owners, I chalked this up as "something it just does" and have ignored it.
As it turned out, the brakes never got that overhaul, as a friend offered me a deal I couldn't really refuse on a 1986 Saab 900, and as a result the little Corsa was sold on to a friend. Sadly however, severe rust was found to have set in in several places underneath during the year, and as a result the car was scrapped in April 2008. A real shame, despite my expectations of mediocrity, this was one of the most fun little cars I've had, and will be missed.