i'm really pleased that your trade experience mirrors that of my mispent, misbehaving, astra ownership.
Kevjtd rallied a similar car to my astra, and we have similar memories of the sohc units power and revvy chracteristics and strengths, and it weaknesses!
only the italian stuff was as good, and better, performance wise for the same or similar capacity, never had any german aggravation to be honest unless it was much bigger or notably more advanced.
Sprint all the way for me compared to the Scirocco, but as i said before, i do still quite like a Rocco.
I went straight from a '78 Chevette 1256 to a Kadett 1.3S. Although the Chevette had a good "chassis" it really wasn't that highly stressed, mind you the 2300HS altered that situation somewhat, the Kadett was a laugh a minute. Not only was it quick, it wasn't just about power, or even power to weight ratio, it was the rate at which the motor would rev-up. It was just so exuberant. It would spin its wheels at the drop of a hat if required and would do 4 wheel drifts as if to the manor born, but despite the waywardness it would drop back into line if you came off the gas. Loved it, and the exhaust note while not being the same, bore a certain rorty similarity to that of a Sud. It was certainly a world away from the wheezy, asthmatic ohv Escort, Chevette or Sunbeam. It was also that rarity that never really took off in the UK, a non hatchback hatchback, and that was another similarity with the Sud. Most Astras were hatchbacks whereas a fair amount of Kadetts had a boot.
magazine editors aren't afraid of upsetting anyone, unless they are utter sell out's like Motor Cycle News! ha ha!
we once blindly supplied a motorbike for magazine testing and article write up, the directors, against my advice, thought it would be a great free advert,
the article was promptly printed the following month, and we, along with the bike, were a laughing stock, the article was,
I bought Bike magazine from the first of the bi-monthly editions in January 1973 and in comparison with MCN, MCM and any of the other journals that told you how to re-furbish the magneto on your Francis Barnett and which were the best pair of wellies to wear under your ex-RAF greatcoat while riding, Bike, on the other hand were very scathing of the latest Norton or Triumph on which the only innovation was a new colour scheme. In one edition in '73 they tested a pair of Russian two strokes and the one that really stood out was the Voskhod which Martin Harison rightly savaged and condemned as being not only awful in terms of appearance and performance but also downright dangerous. Mind you, at the time nothing was off limits, Motor Cycle News became Motor Cycle Nudes and Motor Cycle Mechanics was Motor Cycle Maniacs. The works Triumph Trident racer known as Slippery Sid became Slippery Dick in Bike. Pretty mild stuff we may now think, but at the time there was a virtually unwritten rule that you didn't slag off the competitors. What you also certainly did do was to criticise products, and therefore your advertisers, in the mildest possible terms. The Triumph Tiger 750 twin was criticised for its vibration, simply stating that at times the mirrors undid themselves by rotating on the bars until they just fell off.
Ee, happy days, but then we had real motorcycles then. Er, pint of Mild please landlord.