Vauxhall Heritage Announces First Public Exhibition​

For the first time in its 72-year history, a selection of cars from Vauxhall Heritage’s famous collection will be on public display from next month, telling the incredible story of Vauxhall Motors rise from a niche sporting car manufacturer to one of the UK’s best-known automotive brands.

‘Vauxhall – Made in Luton’ opens on September 5 at Stockwood Discovery Centre, Luton - a stone’s-throw from where almost all the exhibits were originally manufactured. The main exhibition will include ten of Vauxhall’s most significant Luton-built cars from the last 115 years, book-ended by the very first model to be produced at the famous Kimpton Road factory – a 1905 7/9hp – to the last passenger car to roll of the line – a 2002 Vectra, before the plant started to produce LCVs exclusively.

As well as the main exhibition cars, which will be on display until Easter 2021, each month ‘Vauxhall – Made in Luton’ will feature a different ‘hero’ car, starting with the chrome- and fin-laden 1959 PA Velox, which brought a welcome slice of colourful Americana to austere Fifties’ Britain. Other ‘heroes’ include the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton, Firenza HPF ‘Droopsnoot’, and OE-Type 30-98, Britain’s first 100mph car.

Vauxhall became a car manufacturer in 1903. It was originally based in the South London suburb from which it takes its name, but after two years needed larger premises and moved to a six-acre site in Luton, where it still manufactures motor vehicles today.

This is a perfect opportunity for the public to get up close and personal with cars from our collection that are normally only seen via the hundred-or-so media loans that we arrange each year,’ said Simon Hucknall, Vauxhall’s Head of PR. ‘There are some extremely rare and valuable cars on display, but many that will conjure ‘my-dad-had-one-of-those’ memories, too.

‘Vauxhall – Made in Luton’ opens at Stockwood Discovery Centre on the 5th of September and runs until Easter, 2021 (free admission). Full details can be found here.

Exhibits include:

  • 1905 7/9hp – first Luton-built Vauxhall
  • 1910 C-10 ‘Prince Henry’ – Britain’s first official production sports car
  • 1923 23/60 Tourer – awash with high-technology for middle-class motorists
  • 1926 30-98 OE-Type Tourer – Britain’s first 100mph production car (November only)
  • 1936 BXL Limousine – the default pre-war mayoral conveyance for many UK municipalities
  • 1959 PA Velox – flamboyant US-style, with compact dimensions (September only)
  • 1963 Viva HA – Vauxhall’s first post-war compact car
  • 1966 XVR Concept – curvaceous design study debuted at the Geneva Motor Show
  • 1968 Bedford CA – Britain’s first purpose-built panel van that dominated its market for 17 years
  • 1975 Firenza HPF – svelte coupe that enjoyed success on and off the race track (December only)
  • 1979 Cavalier Mk.1 – the mid-size nameplate that led Vauxhall’s market dominance in the 80s/90s
  • 1983 Astra GTE Mk.1 – Vauxhall’s first genuine ‘hot hatch’ (October only)
  • 1993 Lotus Carlton – world’s fastest four-door production car, with max speed of 176mph (Jan only)
  • 2002 Vectra – display vehicle was last passenger car to be made in Luton
  • 2003 VX Lightning – concept car created to celebrate Vauxhall’s centenary