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Aug 01

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Very Tidy And Tastefully Modified Vauxhall Corsa B, A Rarity And A Delight!

This is something a bit special, a bit different to the usual run of the mill corsas you come across which tend to vere more towards the boy racer image and some crazy showy body kits. Unfortunately due to that kind of theme, cars like this don’t tend to be fully appreciated.

Vauxhall corsa modifiedThis one has been modified and tuned to suit fast road use over the usual overly showy scene associated with this car. In other words this is a performance car that rewards you with fantastic driving pleasure where every part on it compliments each other and works together to get the most out of the car.

If you’ve driven a standard Corsa B before, it’s not a bad handling car at all, and generally has very good, predictable road holding and handling manners. It’s also got all the basics for a fantastic track weapon or decent weekend toy; it just needs to be brought out of it. Small body, lightweight, revvy, responsive 4 cylinder engine, short wheelbase, nicely weighted feeling to the steering…it’s all there.

Vauxhall Corsa b tuned


The engine in this car in particular has had a very “balanced” going over. What do I mean by that exactly? Everything that’s been done to the engine is generally to tweak it and get a bit more out of it than outright power. Basically the engine is a lot more efficient than the standard model, delivering steady and predictable power at all areas on the rev range. There doesn’t seem to be a “sweet spot” as such, meaning decent, predictable power delivery, at all times in all gears, in all situations. This makes it great for hitting the old b-roads and dealing with them roundabouts Swindon is so famous for.

The standard Vauxhall corsa engines seem to be quite torquey and responsive low down, around 2000 to 3500 rpms and then the revs seem to sort of die off before it even gets to the redline, with this engine, it’s as if that torque has been spread out and boosted.

Alot of this has to do with a more or less complete cylinder head rebuild, The head has been ported, polished and skimmed, allowing more airflow and a richer fuel mixture, There’s also a fast road cam in there to top it off.

Vauxhall Corsa EngineA four Branch Manifold and a de-catted exhaust system leading to a Courtney back box give the car a smooth, throaty sound while a large cotton air filter helps the engine breathe far more efficiently. A four branch manifold makes a huge difference by essentially giving the exhaust gases a constant one way stream out, standard manifolds  tend to be made of a much more brittle material and the large area at the top of the manifold allows impure gases to hang around for a bit before getting out of the engine and system, because of this, it also helps a huge amount with the throttle response and overall power of the engine. A de-catted system also adds to this by making sure there are no further restrictions or reasons for the waste gases to hang around.

corsa b tuned four branch manifold
Since the engine now revs so freely and smoothly the rev limit was raised to 7200rpms. I think the standard corsa rev limiter is around 6500 to 6800rpms so this is quite a vast improvement and access to power that would not have been there previously.

With such a well tuned engine available, it would be a shame to lose out on any of the power available, so it’s handled well through a fast road clutch. When people are modifying engines they tend to forget how important the clutch is, so they never get to fully realise the engines potential or wonder why there isn’t much difference-alot of people also don’t know what a “slipping clutch” is or what it feels like so this is overlooked entirely.

A fast road clutch and up rated clutch components are absolutely essential to getting the power down, it’s the intermediary between the power the engine produces and the transmission putting that to the floor.

opel corsa engineIn this Vauxhall  Corsa it’s brilliant, you can tell how well it bites as the car goes between the gears, there’s a very satisfying  jolt letting you know that engine is being put to good use and the power is going through the gears to the ground.

It’s all very well having the engine and power but if the rest of the cars chassis isn’t matched up to it, it can lead to a very disappointing experience, but don’t worry, that’s been covered too!

There’s no compromise here, the Vauxhall corsa has a really decent set of fully adjustable Koni springs and shocks on all corners with upper strut braces on the front and rear to keep them all working as one unit. The car feels really solid and planted and there’s next to no roll on the corners. This car literally is a slightly larger go-kart when it comes to cornering.Vauxhall Corsa coupe

However that doesn’t affect the transitions between the corners I think this is in large part due to the entire rear interior being completely stripped out. There’s not much mass to the car so barely any inertia so it stops and corners without its own weight compromising it, hence the go-kart characteristics.

The curb weight of a standard corsa is just over 1000kg, this one is probably somewhere between 700-900kgs. No matter how you look at it, just 100kgs is a big saving, so a few more 100 makes all the difference. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s maybe a bit less than that when you consider the heaviest thing left on the car is of course…the engine.

I think the most amazing thing about it though, is how it rides generally just as your going round town, it’s quite comfortable and as long as you avoid the larger potholes,  it absorbs bumps in the road and rougher surfaces nicely- while staying more or less completely level at all times.

vauxhall corsa stripped out interiorIt’s a good example of proper shock absorbing; if they were on a softer setting the car would be incredibly comfortable.

That’s the difference right there between an expensive decent setup such as this car has and cheaper coilover packages. While the advantages of cornering and handling may be comparable, the day to day ride comfort is a lot less forgiving on the less expensive coilover packages.

To further compliment this great suspension setup, no expense has been spared on the tyres of the car…which makes alot of sense really as this is the point of contact with the road!. They are Yokohama spec two tyres. I believe they are discontinued now. But they have developed a good reputation for good performance in all conditions and nice ride quality.

opel corsa tunedAlso the small tyre wall essentially eliminates tyre flex, so this adds to the reassuring planted feeling you get from the car. They would be good for casual track use as well.

On to how the car looks- for me this is the clincher, it looks great there’s no denying that. With the suspension setup so well sorted it’s got a good stance and presence on the road too. The corsa is a well proportioned car that looks good anyway.

The contrast of the carbon fibre bonnet and black astra GSI wheels really add to this as well. It’s been debadged and the door guards are taken off as well, so this gives the car a super clean, no fuss look. It’s also very purposeful. You can tell it’s a quick car just by looking at it. The rear windows have been lightly tinted as well. This subtle touch keeps it very modern and helps to set off the clean lines and look of the car.

CleaN cORSA Beuro look carAside from the carbon bonnet, the only real body modification is the Renault megane front splitter. I didn’t notice this till it was pointed out to me, but it looks good on the front bumper and helps accentuate the side skirts.

It’s small things and attention to detail, such as the splitter that really completes the whole image and persona of the car…this one is full of those nice, small subtle touches.

So if you’ve been thinking of modifying your corsa, or looking to get one, taking some ideas and inspiration from this one will do you wonders!

On the flip side if you’re looking for a cheap project car or weekend track toy, this is a very good option. What’s nice about the corsas is the amount of aftermarket parts available for them and the surprisingly cheap prices you can get them at. But most importantly, the car is ultra reliable, and that engine is bulletproof. Especially if it’s well maintained and looked after.

Feel free to admire and comment on the car below.

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Permanent link to this article: http://carsandcoolstuff.com/2011/08/very-tidy-and-tastefully-modified-vauxhall-corsa-b-a-rarity-and-a-delight/

3 comments

2 pings

  1. 74

    First class piece of writing!

  2. len ansong

    nice 1.4 corsa b . luv corsa’s i used to have a 1.2 8v .just wnated to know what bhp is it runing with all the mods on there and the weight reduction .cause im getting another corsa b 1.4 8v in a few days time i want to make it pretty fast ideas and advice are welcome

    1. christopherhib

      its pretty rapid to be fair, its had an induction kit, fast road cam, tubular manifold, straight through exhaust raised rev limit aswell

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