Monday Motoring Classic: Vauxhall Omega

The luxurious barge has been the preserve of the premium brands for many years now, but it wasn't always the case. As Vauxhall showed.

Usually lurking at the bottom of manufacturer price lists, a high-spec, rear-drive saloon or estate that had every conceivable toy thrown at was available from almost any brand you can think of.

The Vauxhall Omega was the last offering from Vauxhall to follow this recipe and via a facelift it was sold in the UK for a decade.

It was always a pretty handsome beast too. Arguably not as distinctive as the Vauxhall Carlton that came before it, but it was pretty curvaceous for a three-box saloon and the estate was a tidy-looker too.

Inside you got a very period layout, with a big slab of dashboard swathed in switches and one of the largest speedometers you're ever likely to see.

The 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines were fine, but the petrol V6s were the pick of the motors, coming in 2.5, 2.6, 3.0-litre and 3.2-litres by the end, with up to 223PS by the end.

There was lots of room in both rows, it rode well and didn't handle too badly either, with rear-drive hooning available if that's your kind of thing. It's definitely our kind of thing.

Hardly a surprise that the Old Bill liked them then and for a long time you could only get one with a manual gearbox if you were a member of Her Majesty's Constabulary.

As far as ownership goes, they're far from flawless but there's not too much to worry about. The diesels have a tendency to be more problematic than the petrols, so consider that before taking the plunge.

If you're after a V6 (and that's what we'd choose) a service history is crucial, because timing belts and tensioners need changing every 40,000 miles, so you don't want a neglected example.

Electronics and air conditioners can be problematic, front suspension bushes wear out and cause tyre issues, and cambelt covers on V6s eventually give up and leak oil, so it's worth taking some time to check them out.

As for buying, we didn't have to look hard to find quite a few examples. Some were clearly ex-funeral vehicles, so we'd probably steer clear of these unless you have a particular sense of humour.

Remarkably the cheapest one we found ticked pretty much every box. One owner from new, full history, a modest 100,000 miles and a 2.6 V6 in high CDX spec - and an estate to boot. A bargain at £2500.

There were also a couple of 2.2-litre petrols and although its a sprightly motor (you can supercharge it if you're really keen) it's a big bus to pull.

We even found an MV6, the sportiest of the lot. 3.0-litre motor, fetching alloy wheels and a manual gearbox. It only had 55,000 miles too and a fresh MOT, but £6000 looked a bit spicy to us.

Regardless, for a largely-forgotten big saloon of the kind you just don't see anymore, the Vauxhall Omega is interesting and a nice reminder of how large cars used to be.

Ask HJ

Is the 1990 Ford Escort Bonus a classic car?

My late father had a 1990 Ford Escort Bonus in immaculate condition and I was wondering if this was now classed as a classic car. My mother is now looking to sell it and I was wondering what the best place to sell such a car and what sort of price range we would be looking at.
It'd certainly appeal to a certain type of buyer. We'd recommend selling it via auction and allowing the market to decide its value - that could be an online auction like eBay, Collecting Cars or a specialist physical auction like Anglia Car Auctions. Alternatively, you could try contacting a classic car specialist like KGF Classic Cars.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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