If you think 300bhp hot hatchbacks are a handful, try putting even more power into a small, cheap runabout heading for its 20th birthday.
Sleeper cars don’t come with much more understated nineties charm than this. You’re looking at a mk3 Vauxhall Astra, resplendent on its steelies and lowered springs but packing a pretty mighty Saab turbo engine conversion.
We’ve no idea which nutcase thought this one up, but the result is 322bhp and 388lb ft, says the seller, albeit using the previous turbo. A brand new one has apparently been installed, along with a load of other goodies including an aftermarket exhaust and something called “v6 calpers”. Might have to Google that one.
While Saab was under GM ownership, parts were presumably shared across brands to the extent that this hefty 2.0-litre turbo unit could slot into the otherwise rubbish Astra. Turbocharged Saabs were infamous for huge torque steer, so picture what this thing must be like…
The customary dump valve is present and correct, and four new tyres were fitted 500 miles ago, it says in the auction. Get on the gas with any regularity and they might not last too much longer than that.
As a cash buy it’s always going to be a risk, and frankly, driving it home might be an even bigger gamble. But to the brave soul who takes it on, we salute you. Sort of.
Now check out this staggering BMW Z4 with an 8.3-litre Dodge Viper engine. Possibly even more of a handful than the Astra.