|A Belmont. Don't get too excited now.|
If you've got one of the remaining 188 Belmonts, I ask you a simple question. Why? What is it that keeps you in it? I'm especially curious to hear from the 29 people who own one of the dreadfully low specification Merit cars - most of which have the wheezy 1.3L engine. I can only assume the owners of these cars have a peculiar sense of humour or follow some form of extreme asceticism. If my memory is correct, the Merit cars didn't even feature sunblinds, head rests, radios or anything other than the most essential equipment required to steer, accelerate and brake.
Regardless, my father-in-law is often keen to wax lyrical about his mid-80s Belmont and what a fine car it was, but I don't get it myself. Obviously you got a bigger boot than the Astra equivalent and smaller saloons still had some kind of following at that time, but the Belmont was never going to be that remarkable. I do remember getting a lift in the hot SRI version from a quite barking mad driver (only 9 of these left incidentally - cars that is, not mad drivers), and that nearly made me change my mind on these cars, but it just didn't quite cut it.
Even with this desperate lack of image, back in late 1994 there were still nearly 80,000 of these on the roads, with virtually none left now, they truly are endangered.
Our collective lack of interest in older Vauxhalls, smaller saloons and 80s metal must surely mean that with the poor old Belmont suffering from all three of these conditions, it will disappear before too long.
Despite all I've said, perhaps one or two of us should find a space in the garage for one, if only for curiosity value and the benefit of TV programmes set in the 1980s.