In the summer of 1986, Vauxhall acquired the cult British sports car company, Lotus, and the motoring world wondered what on earth the maker of the Viva and Cavalier family saloons was going to do with the high performance car maker. They had to wait three years to find out.Take a normal family saloon car and stick a 3.6 litre Lotus Engine in it and what do you get?The Vauxhall Lotus Carlton which in 1990 became the fastest saloon car in the world capable of speeds up to 176 mph.Vauxhall Motors had been owned by US automobile giant General Motors (GM) since 1925 and since 1962 when GM acquired German manufacturer Opel, both companies had regularly shared the same designs, engines, components and cars under different badges for their respective markets.The early Carlton’s were modest relations of what was to come.The first Vauxhall Carlton or Omega as it later became known in Europe and the US, was the British version of the Opel Rekord from Germany.The Mark 1 Carlton was a typical 1.8 or 2.0 litre petrol four door large family car aimed at the middle market to compete with the Ford Cortina and Granada. A spacious and comfortable real wheel drive motor with reasonable performance, it was also available as an estate car.Yet despite many interior design upgrades and a diesel version, sales were not spectacular.The Mark 1 Carlton was mostly built in Germany and assembled at the Vauxhall Luton plant from 1978 until 1986 when it was replaced by the Mark 2, which was to become the basis of the Vauxhall Lotus supercar.The new Carlton was a totally different beast to its predecessor. Designed to take on both Ford and BMW for the British executive saloon market, at the end of its launch year of 1986, the Carlton / Omega range earned itself the industry accolade of European Car of the Year.The Mark 2 Carlton was powered by a straight-6 engine with a 2.6 and 3.0 litre choice. In 1986 the engine had 12-valves, but later models offered a much more powerful 24-valve version in the Carlton GSi which became the basis of the Lotus production car.Although it was unveiled at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show, it wasn’t until 1990 that the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton entered production. Apart from an obvious rear spoiler, low profile body kit and a couple of air intakes under the bonnet, there was little to tell the car apart from the family model. However it was what was under the bonnet that made this the worlds fastest four door production car ever!The 3615 cc V6 Lotus engine was built with a four valve cylinder aluminium head with twin overhead camshafts. Fitted with twin Garrett T25 water-cooled turbochargers the car developed 377 bhp at 5200 rpm, with an incredible 419lb per foot of torque.The drive was taken via a six speed gearbox taken from the GM Chevrolet corvette to a strengthened rear wheel differential. This enabled the Lotus Carlton to reach an amazing speed of 176 mph when tested at the high speed Nardo track in Southern Italy.GM planned producing 1100 cars initially over three years, however due to the recession that hit at that time and the high price tag of £48000, sales were slower than expected and only 950 cars were eventually built when Lotus made the last Carlton in 1992.The Lotus Carlton will probably go down in history as the world’s fastest saloon car that nobody knew about! The fact that the car was so fast caused so much controversy that the corporate advertising of the day did not mention this fact, only that it could accelerate from 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds! Had they sold the car on its amazing capabilities, the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton may have had a much different story.
Classic car enthusiasts are aware of the increased costs in buying, running and maintaining a collectors standard of automobile, so it is no surprise that if you need a windshield replacement, or new headlights, this will cost a lot more than if you needed one of these items replacing on a bog standard BMW or run of the mill Renault. It is therefore essential that you take out special classic car insurance to cover your vehicle for any damages.It is possible to get a cheaper windshield replacement done, but you must consider whether this will be worth it in the long run. If you are ever planning to resell the car, you will need to have the highest quality of windshield put in, which will be as similar as possible to the original, if it is not an official replacement piece or an exact windshield which has been removed from your exact model of vehicle. Having a low quality, unofficial windshield put in will drastically reduce the resale value of the vehicle. If you have just bought the classic car as a personal restoration project, or for your own amusement you can have a cheaper windshield put in, as only you will know, since these windshields will look almost identical to the untrained eye. In these cases, it is a matter of personal preference.If the damage only amounts to a small crack or chip, you should try to get a repair done, rather than resorting to a full windshield replacement, because this can serve to fix the damage without having to remove the original windshield from the car. Although some such fixes are not even noticeable to the untrained eye, some other classic car enthusiasts will be able to spot this kind of windshield repair. Whilst it may reduce the value of your classic car slightly, it will not reduce the value of the car as much as a full windshield replacement, so it is very important that you contact a repair expert as soon as you notice the smallest chip.You may also consider having a cheaper replacement windshield put in temporarily whilst you attempt to source an official replacement piece. It is very unlikely that most local auto glass specialists would be able to provide you with an official replacement piece straight away, although they may have experience of where to source one from. It can be very hard to find replacement parts for old, classic cars, because these models are no longer in production, and some of the companies which made these cars are not even in business any more. Although there are dealers who specialise in parts for classic cars, windshields are often hard to come by, due to the fact that windshields are one of the most easily damaged car parts. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that older cars did not utilise the same windshield technology that modern cars now use, so classic car windshields are even more susceptible to damage than modern windshields are today.