We are all united by a common cause and our unique passion. Car appreciation has no boundaries. It truly spans the globe. Which, makes us so excited when we hear from our subscribers, from all corners of the world. Just like Toine, currently living in the Netherlands, who is the proud owner of one tough track toy, an Opel Speedster 2.2.
Haven’t seen a Speedster before? Unfortunately, except for a few private imports, the Speedster is a rare beast in Australia as it was never sold outside of Europe. In total 7,033 Speedsters have been built. Toine’s 2001 Europa blue example is production number 0735.
After owning a Westfield SE (460 kg, 150 PS) Toine again felt the need for some hardcore driving material. Hardcore, but with a bit more practicality. Enter the Speedster. A car that brings the possibility of cruising home comfortable, relaxed and dry after a spirited track day.
With its mid-engine and sublime handling, in the early naughties the speedster was hailed by the motoring press as a one of the best ‘Driver’s Cars’, winning several accolades, including Top Gear’s 2003 Car of the Year and Car magazine’s ‘Performance Car of the Year’. For its humble price, it really has no difficulty mixing it out on the track with the big guns.
The Speedster (known as the Vauxhall VX220 in the UK) was introduced in the summer of the new millennium and was produced at the Lotus Cars plant in Hethel, Norfolk, England. That Lotus connection is the selling point for the Speedster.
The car shared much in common with the Lotus Elise, yet Opel claimed few parts were interchangeable. Unsurprisingly, both cars share some pedigree DNA characterised by crisp performance and sharp handling. The Speedster chassis embodies Lotus genes too, utilizing an aluminium chassis tub that weighs only 68 kg. The featherweight bodywork is made entirely of glass-reinforced plastic.
Toine’s naturally aspirated version uses an Opel Astra all aluminium alloy 2.2 L Z22SE engine giving 108 kW (145 bhp). This in a car weighing 870 kg — this would be a lot of fun! Toine reassures us that the engine was designed for Opel by Lotus, and it arguably gives the Speedster more mechanical Lotus content than the Elise. The standard Speedster does 0-100 km/h in less than 6 seconds, with 147 ps. Toine’s ride is tuned up to 200 PS and now reaches 100 clicks without the need to shift up to 3rd gear. Combined with exhaust mods, Toine has transformed the power delivery of his pocket rocket.
Its sounds like Toine has found the perfect weekender-cum-trackday hack. Combined with its tidy looks and impressive performance the Speedster is undoubtedly an awesome little package. Thankyou Toine for sharing your Ride with the Driven Threads community. If you would like to get your car featured on the blog, please have a look here. Go on, Share your ride.
(tuned up to appr. 200 PS; 197 bhp)
• All aluminium alloy 2.2 L Z22SE engine
• Speerke mapped ECU
• Black Cup exhaust
• Pre cat removed
• 2.4 inlet-manifold
• Dbilas manifold
• Sparco air filter customized
• ABS switch
• Track specification tow eyes
• Brake pad upgrade Pagid RS14
• Nitron NTR Fast Road adjustable shocks
• Motorsport specification radiator
• Cross-drilled and ventilated brake discs
• Extra cooling brakes
• Front : 205/45/17 Toyo t1r
• Back : 225/45/17 Toyo t1r
• Front splitter
• Vauxhall V without logo
• Custom speedster logo’s
• Exige window
• Coated wheels
• Coated fuel cap
• Coated gear knob
• Navigation radio
• Leather seats
• Drivers pack
• Hard top
Stay tuned to Driven Threads, there’s plenty more coming your way.