Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - dan86

pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=19208258...b

See this on eBay whilst just having a browse and was thinking if it would be good as a everyday car. Like some people on here I have fallen out of love with modern cars as they are to laden with gadgets that cost a fortune when they go wrong. I always liked the Vauxhall carlton when I was younger and it reminds me of the one my dad had when I was a young boy.

Am I being sentimental or is it wise to buy such a car for running to work ect?

Are parts still easy to get?

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - RT

The engine will be the then modern 2.0 SOHC Vauxhall unit as fitted in Cavalier, Astra etc - gearbox was fairly unique even new, a Getrag I think, the rear suspension is live axle - interior trim and electrics are shared with Senator.

They're very strong in a roll-over accident - I wrote-off my 2.2 CD but walked away!

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - craig-pd130

The Carltons and Senators were very well-built cars: not too far behind the Mercedes and BMWs of the time, as I recall. They were the mainstay of Police fleets for years, which tells you a lot about their basic reliability and ability to withstand abuse.

I'm sure engine parts and running gear consumables (suspension bushes and units, brake pads & discs etc) will be readily available, you can check on sites like Eurocarparts.com to see what's out there.

The problems with cars that are nearly 30 years old are in the electrics (look for dashboard instruments that don't work etc) and things like silted-up heater matrixes, which can often need major interior surgery to get at and fix.

An older can will always need more of a hands-on approach to maintenance, but you may be lucky and get a good 'un. Just go into it with your eyes open.

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - SLO76
Blast from the past. I sold a few of these used in the 90's and loads of its wee brother Mk III Cavaliers with basically the same OHC 8v engine and not a moments grief did any of them cause me.

A bit clumsy to drive with long gear-lever, long travel clutch and you'll probably find some bits and pieces hard to obtain now especially body panels and sills. But they were built to last with simple non-interference engines and were easy to work on. Spongy suspension gave a decent ride quality but it'll probably seem a bit bouncy compared to modern stuff and fuel economy, although not bad for it's time won't get much beyond high 20's day to day, 35mpg is possible on a run if it's all running free and well.

These were great cars in their day and every day use is feasible however parts availability, dated driving dynamics, poor crash safety compared to a modern and higher fuel consumption will conspire to deter you after a while.

I remember I think it was What Car mag crash testing one along with a number of rivals in the late 80's or early 90's and it shocked everyone how badly it folded up on impact for a big car. It wasn't a high speed impact but the driver wouldn't have survived. Renault 25, Nissan Maxima and Fiat Croma were even worse.

If you want a slightly retro bus to run as an every day car I'd suggest the slightly more modern Mk III Cavalier which would be better to drive, more economical, safer and easier to get bits for. The 2.0 8v is the best engine, particularly the SRi 130 unit but even a 1600 pulls well and will do 40mpg. Late model 1.8 and 2.0 LS/GLS spec cars are great value and have everything you need minus all the modern guff you don't. Isuzu 1.7 TD was a fantastic thing too but rare as hens teeth in working order now.

Edited by SLO76 on 20/01/2017 at 08:36

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - RT

Diesel Cavalier mk3 were rare when new, never mind now - diesels were all torque and little power in those days.

Early mk3 Cavaliers had no cat, 2.0 SOHC the most efficient of them all - 40mpg was possible on long motorway runs at the legal limit, more if you drove like Miss Daisy.

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - SLO76
I'm assuming you're thinking about the slow sales of the ancient GM 1.7 non-turbo diesel RT. It was painfully slow with only 57bhp and sold just as slowly as a result but the later and vastly superior Isuzu engine fared much better and sold well to fleets and the taxi trade who loved its ability to hit half a million miles without much effort.

It was no ball of fire with 82bhp but as you say it had plenty of torque. We sold any that came our way quickly mostly to the taxi boys. It was a good combination in a family car and fast enough for comfortable overtaking.

Right enough regards cats on later cars but these were options as early as 1990 so some earlier cars did have them mostly 1.8 which came with spi instead of a carb so suffered no power loss and the 2.0 115bhp again which suffered no loss. Aftermarket cats aren't hugely expensive these days either so I wouldn't be too concerned if it had one anyway.
Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - RT
I'm assuming you're thinking about the slow sales of the ancient GM 1.7 non-turbo diesel RT. It was painfully slow with only 57bhp and sold just as slowly as a result but the later and vastly superior Isuzu engine fared much better and sold well to fleets and the taxi trade who loved its ability to hit half a million miles without much effort. It was no ball of fire with 82bhp but as you say it had plenty of torque. We sold any that came our way quickly mostly to the taxi boys. It was a good combination in a family car and fast enough for comfortable overtaking. Right enough regards cats on later cars but these were options as early as 1990 so some earlier cars did have them mostly 1.8 which came with spi instead of a carb so suffered no power loss and the 2.0 115bhp again which suffered no loss. Aftermarket cats aren't hugely expensive these days either so I wouldn't be too concerned if it had one anyway.

The cat version of the 115 bhp 2.0 was indeed the same power/torque - but the economy wasn't as good - the 1.8i was geared to be very "lively" so higher rpm than the 2.0 was needed to "make progress".

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - SLO76
There was a wee drop in economy on the 2.0 but I wouldn't have said the 1.8 was geared to be lively. I always found them a bit overgeared personally, with the aim of comfortable motorway running.

The sweeter 1.6 carb was lower geared and I found the acceleration at lower speed stronger than the 1800 (there was only 8bhp in it) but the offset was busier high speed cruising.

All in all they were all good news as far as I was concerned. Even the 1400 was able to sit happily enough all day at 80-90mph and could out sprint most rival 1600's. They were comfortable, spacious, economical, simple and rarely went wrong. A great cheap modern starter classic,
Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - dan86

I might place a bid on it what sort of price do people suggest it's worth going up to? It's not to far from me so if I get some time over the weekend I'll contact the seller and have a look at it if possible.

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - SLO76
Could be worth £1200 or £12. You'd need to see it in the metal and speaking of metal, have you seen the gear-lever? It's certainly not been an elderly owner recently...

Edited by SLO76 on 20/01/2017 at 15:41

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - Fishermans Bend

Looks funereal, even more so with that gear knob. Perhaps owned by a funeral director with a grim sense of humour.

BTW, mud flaps look original.

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - Mike H

I immediately get turned off any car when I see that it "drives perfect".....

The seller seems to have good feedback.

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - bolt

Looks funereal, even more so with that gear knob. Perhaps owned by a funeral director with a grim sense of humour.

BTW, mud flaps look original.

You can buy those gear knobs anywhere,the old ones were prone to getting dirty,not many could be bothered to clean them... looks can be deceiving but they used to suffer switch failure on the centre console,but if regular oil/filter changes can go on for double mileage that has done-if genuine?

I know several taxi drivers who owned these for years with hardly a problem just battery alternator

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - RafflesNH

I'm surprised no-one has mentioned the MOT history, or lack of one seemingly for the last 6 years until recently. Perhaps you could ask the owner about that too.

Previous MOTs are, however, quite encouraging with only a couple of minor advisories shown on the penultimate test 6 years ago.

www.check-mot.service.gov.uk

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - RaineMan

I have had two Carltons - both excellent cars The first was a company car that I ran for nearly four years. It had some issues in the first few months but I think it was used 'n' abused in its first three months (10k) miies before becoming a 'nearly new'. When I lost my subsequent company car I brought my own Carlton which I kept for nine years (taking it up to 170k) with total reliability. It was replaced by an Omega which was the most unreliable car I have ever owned. Most problems were electric but affected ll areas from locking to engine management. The newer Ecotech engine although theoretically have a higher top speed never felt as lively and was thirstier. When the engine expired I just weighed in in having had enough!

I did look at going back to a Carlton a few years ago but could not find a good enough one despite travelling quite a bit. One of the main problems was rust. It can be particularly severe in the rear arches (with next to no metal left behind the trim strips) and in the bulkhead.

Having run an older Vauxhall in recent years I found that some spares can be a problem as Vauxhall do not really support cars over ten years old. For instance I had to get silicon hoses (over £100 the pair) as none were available anywhere. I also had to source a replacement spring set for Germany as again I could not source them in the UK. This in my view makes older Vauxhalls impracticable as daily drivers.

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - dan86

I didn't get a chance to view the car so I'll leave it, now if a Lotus Carlton ever appears I'll definitely be interested in it

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - SLO76
Must have deep pockets then...
Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - RaineMan

I know someone who owns a Lotus Carlton but whose enjoyment is often hampered by the threat of theft! Also there a quite a few fakes about just like the Lotus Cortina.

If you want a fast Carlton look for a 3 litre model with the Senator engine. The later 24 valve version is a particularly strong performer. In fact after this thread I quite fancy one!

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - RT

AFAIK the Carlton never got the 24v engine - but the "egg-crate grill" Senator did.

Vauxhall Carlton - Run if the mill classic - SLO76
The 3.0 24v engine was used in the later Carlton GSi. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vauxhall_Carlton

Edited by SLO76 on 23/01/2017 at 21:13

 

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