Restored Opel Monza 3.0 GSE for sale

Not only has it been lavished with £100k of TLC, this Monza GSE also comes with a Carlton GSi 3000 24v motor

By John Howell / Sunday, 4 December 2022 / Loading comments

There are cars that you want, and then there are a few, rare models that you want, want. A want that seems to arise from deep within your soul and takes over your whole being. A sort of primeval want, on the same level as the need to breathe, eat and sleep. Yes, I want a Ferrari 250 SWB and an Aston Martin DB5, and all manner of other recognised icons, but I want this Opel Monza GSE more. The only question is, does the price of a kidney cover the £27,495 asking price? If it does, sign me up.

I was having a geeky conversation with some other motoring journalists the other day about once relatively ordinary cars that we all crave now. Cars like the Peugeot 405 Mi16 and its French cousin, the Citroen BX GTI 16v – cars that are now so rare that you’ll find more toothy hens than examples of those breeds. Well, we all forgot about the Opel Monza in that meeting of tiny minds.

I love it because it hails from a simpler time, when big, hearty coupes didn’t have to have a BMW or Mercedes badge to impress. This was a car that engendered admiration in anyone with sense, despite coming from the General Motors stable. The Monza began life as the A1 model that was produced from 1977 to 1982. This was a car that competed with the Mercedes C123 and BMW 6 Series, and it was a handsome car from the off. It was also spacious inside, with room for four in its relatively upmarket interior.

Not only that but it was a tidy car to drive.  The basic platform it shared with the Senator and Rekord was a decent one, with MacPherson struts at the front and independent trailing-arm suspension at the rear. It bestowed upon the big Opel (or Vauxhall Royale as it was also badged at that time) nimble handling and a comfortable ride. Added to that was a range of straight-six motors that were as dependable as they were smooth.

By 1982 the car had received a facelift and became the A2. The overall shape was the same beguiling, teardrop silhouette, but with a more streamlined nose that incorporated larger headlights. At the back, the number plate was lowered and integrated into the bumper and the space was filled to make the taillights appear full-width feature. That was very of the time, as were the far more modern-looking, one-piece plastic bumpers front and rear. Along with its fresher look, the changes also improved the aerodynamics and that, in turn, helped the fuel economy – up to that point not one of the Monza’s strengths.

Another aid to efficiency was the fitment of Bosch electronic fuel injection to the 2.5E and 3.0E ‘sixes’. And part way through 1983, the 3.0 GSE model was introduced. This came with sporting additions such as Recaro seats, which were nice, but nothing like as exciting as the digital instruments that had small children (and more than a few adults) transfixed at motor shows. The GSE also had firmer suspension, a limited-slip diff and, naturally for a sporty model in the ‘80s, a boot spoiler.

The GSE developed a very handy 180hp, which was good enough for 0-62mph in around 8.5 seconds with the five-speed Getrag manual ‘box. However, this car doesn’t have a manual ‘box. It’s an auto – but before you all groan (admittedly, that wouldn’t have been my choice, either) check out the other addition. An easy win was fitting the later Carlton GSi 3000 24-valve engine because it was a straight swap, and that’s what we have here. And the twin-cam head and dual-ram breathing mean it’s good for 204hp.

According to the advert this car has had a scarcely believable £100,000 spent on restoring it. That certainly proves it’s not just me beleaguered by a primeval want of an Opel Monza. The advert says there are bills to prove the spend, but it’s not hard to believe a good deal of cash has been bestowed upon this Monza just by looking at its condition. The car presents fabulously in midnight blue with two-tone anthracite and silver cross-spoke 15-inch alloys.

If, like me, you’re a sucker for an ‘80s icon and needed reminding a) of what a fantastic-looking thing the Monza and b) that it existed at all, then I hope you appreciate this one as much as I have.


Specification | Opel Monza 3.0 GSE (standard form)

Engine: 2,969cc, straight six, naturally aspirated
Transmission: five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],800rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],600-4,800rpm
CO2: N/A
MPG: N/A
Recorded mileage: 86,000
Year registered: 1984
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £27,495

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