Father and son, turbo Astra GTE restoration

Cars Classic Vauxhall

Our MK2 turbo Astra GTE journey started in Essex almost 5 years ago. My father bought it as a project for us both to get our teeth in to. The plan was to rebuild it together.

The day we picked her up. Things were to change dramatically for this Vauxhall Astra GTE.

No time was wasted. The second we got it back to Edinburgh, it was fully stripped down to a bare shell. It was time for the fun to begin!

Extensive work began on our Astra GTE. We had to sort the floor out, front cross member and a new roof skin amongst other things.

Looking pretty bare as you can see!

It now seemed the perfect time to get anything and everything we could sand blasted and powder coated. This included such as the axel, front legs, wish bones etc.. If we was going to do this, we was going to do it properly!

As things came back from the coaters, we polybushed the lot. New bolts, nuts, ball joints, track rod ends etc. No stone was left unturned. All genuine vauxhall parts shipped in from Germany.

Sitting ready for next stage.

There was a lengthy wait for some parts but atleast we knew this was effectively a new Astra GTE once we was done. For a car that is now 31 years old, that’s saying something!

Ofcoarse a full respray was also needed a long with new wings. It would have been rude not to!

Hiccups along the way?

Since owning the car it’s not been without its issues though. However, silver linings and all that! For instance, the original engine dying made way for the forged C20LET that it now has. The heart of an old Calibra Turbo.

The cause of the heart ache was a broken crank pulley.

The crank pulley breaking and the piston slapping the valves seemed a nightmare at the time. However it’s worked out for the best in the end. The current 300bhp it’s running probably wouldnt be possible if that hadn’t of happened.

It made way for the forged C20LET it is now currently running. Courtesy of a Turbo Vauxhall Calibra donor car.

As good as new!

The men behind the Turbo Astra GTE

I’ve always been in to cars, but then that was always going to happen. I’ve grown up with my parents always having decent motors. The fact my dad is a car enthusiast too obviously helped aswell.

One car that stands out the most in my memories though is my dads old mk4 Astra GSI in Arden blue. It was one of the first in the Edinburgh area. I loved that car and I think that’s where my love of motors began.

Everyone has a favourite type of car and for me the Astra GTE ticks that box. Vauxhall’s from the 80s, 90s and some 00s are my pick of the bunch. So much so that we already have another Mk2 Astra GTE Champion edition sat waiting for our next restoration!

The turbo Astra GTE was my dads idea in all fairness though. He has had several in the past and wanted another one for us to do up. Quality father and son time! To turbo one was something he always wanted to do and now was his chance.

For me I really wanted a nova though so I currently also have one that we are converting in to a SRi. Turns out mum had a GSi back in the day! We’ve got plenty of busy days and nights a head of us!

The future for the Astra GTE turbo?

Well once this pandemic has finally settled, be sure to keep an eye out for us at shows! We do try to get it out as much as possible, however Winters can be harsh so that’s when she stays indoors, tucked away.

Hopefully by then we should have gone bigger turbo, intercooler and inlet manifold. We will be trying to push past that 300bhp mark! We just need to keep it on the right side of usuable still!


  • 280-300bhp
  • Fully formed C20LET
  • Hybrid turbo
  • Cams with adjustable pulleys
  • EDS stage 2 chip
  • 6 speed F28
  • Limited slip differential
  • Equal length drive shafts
  • 3 inch custom made exhaust
  • Bilstein B6 shocks
  • Eibach springs
  • Speedline alloys
  • Complete top to bottom restoration and refurbishment. No bolt left unchanged.

Information and pictures provided by Jamie McConnell. Written and edited by Richard Goodall at The Car Scene

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