Vauxhall opened the doors of its Heritage Centre in Luton to a handful of lucky Classic & Sports Car readers on Tuesday 6 August for an exclusive free-to-attend event.
The heritage collection, which is closed to the public but for its now-annual open day, is housed on the 60-acre grounds of the historic Vauxhall plant, where cars such as the Viva, Cavalier and Vectra and the pre-/post-war Vauxhalls were built.
It features 75 cars from the breadth of the marque’s history, three of which were fired up to give guests the chance to climb into the passenger seats for a mini tour of Bedfordshire.
As one of the first 100mph production cars, the 30-98 displayed its remarkable performance, turning heads as it made its way out of town, leading the super-comfortable 1971 3.3-litre Ventora and race-derived 1974 Firenza Droopsnoot around the local lanes.
The day-long event also gave readers the chance to brush up on their knowledge of one of the UK’s most successful manufacturers, with experts Andy Boddy and Simon Hucknall providing a tour of the vehicles on show.
Among those on display were the second-oldest Vauxhall in existence, the 1903 5HP, plus the final Vectra built at Luton and the most powerful production Vauxhall ever, the VXR8 GTS-R.
The onsite team has restored many of the cars in the collection, including the pristine Viva GT that is squeezed into the tight workshop among Veloxes, Victors, Chevettes and Astras, and prepares cars for the London to Brighton every year.
Guarding the entrance is one of only two surviving WW1 D-Type Staff Cars, alongside the ‘Prince Henry’ sports car, Wyverns and more.
With Vauxhall paraphernalia lining the walls, including photos, trophies, plaques and models, plus its three XVR, SRV and 2003 Pontiac-based VX Lightning concepts, it was a fascinating insight into the Griffin that delighted all attendees.
The subscriber-only event was the first of its kind for C&SC, but it’s hoped more will be planned in the near future. Subscribe today to ensure you don’t miss out.