Events : Vauxhall Heritage Centre to open its doors to the public

A very rare treat for fans of the Griffin badge as Vauxhall opens up to the public for one day at its Luton Heritage Centre.
A very rare treat for fans of the Griffin badge – Vauxhall opens its Luton Heritage Centre to the public on 14 June

Vauxhall will be showcasing its collection of historic cars to the public for one day only on Sunday, 14 June 2105, from 10am until 4pm.

Based at the Heritage Centre in Park Street, Luton LU1 3HG, visitors will be able to view the company’s collection for free, including over 60 veteran, vintage and post-war Vauxhalls from 1903 to modern times, as well as a number of unique concept cars.

The Vauxhall Heritage Centre’s Open Day will highlight two important milestones in the history of Vauxhall.  This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the ground-breaking Cavalier’s launch in the UK – the Cavalier set a new precedent for family cars and became an iconic model for Vauxhall.

Happy 40th to the Ellesmere Port built Chevette!
Happy 40th Anniversary to the Ellesmere Port-built Chevette!

The Chevette is also celebrating its 40th Anniversary – the first Vauxhall to be based on a General Motors world-car platform, in a modern world full of popular superminis, the Chevette forged the way for a new generation of impressive small vehicles and was instrumental in reviving the Vauxhall brand.

And if that wasn’t enough, Vauxhall’s Lotus Carlton will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary. It was famed for being the world’s fastest four-door saloon at 176mph.

Nothing more needs to be said!
Nothing more needs to be said!

The Open Day will run from 10am to 4pm with food and refreshments on sale, as well as entertainment including pedal cars and face painting for children. The day is perfect for all ages of car enthusiasts, and a great way for all the family to celebrate a collection of anniversaries.

AROnline’s Mike Humble will be there on the day so be sure to say hello if you see him. The Heritage Centre is easy to find being tucked away around the rear of the Vauxhall UK Headquarters office block – if you have never visited, be sure to as there are some truly mouth-watering exhibits on display. See you there, perhaps?


Mike Humble


  1. Obviously the Chevette and Cavalier were hugely important cars for Vauxhall, and nice to see an original Viva, but wot no Victors again? These cars were in production for 21 years and for all they rusted, were a familiar sight on the roads in the sixties and seventies and in FD form were very stylish cars.

    • Yes, there’s Victors and Ventora’s there also. An FC101, FD Ventora, and an FE 2300S limited edition model, if I’m not mistaken. And of course the infamous ‘Droopsnoot’ Firenza and Chevette 2.3HS as well

      • I remember the Victor 2300S edition in the mid 70s. it was available in light blue & green metallics, with Vinyl Roof and black steel wheels with chrome hubcaps. They also built similar Viva 1300S versions.

  2. Sounds a great day out! My Dad owned 2 Vauxhalls, a Victor F and a VX 4/90 FC and I owned a 72 Viva HC (yes, the Viva did suffer rust problems which got my attention). Looked a better car when I sold it. The Chevette & Cavalier were indeed saviours of the Vauxhall brand in the mid to late 70’s.

    The Cavalier Coupe MK1 is one of my favourite cars of all time, though sadly I never got to own one… too expensive for a lad in his early twenties.

  3. The Chevette was quite an innovative car for its day even if it was rwd and used Viva engines. It stole a march on Ford and British Leyland, by being the first British made small hatchback, and soon developed a faithful following and then the range was expanded to include saloons and estates. Also the armed forces proved to be the Chevette’s big supporter in its twilight years, appreciating the simple, reliable design and low cost.

    • Glenn’s right, although RWD, the Chevette was an innovative 3 door hatchback at launch, with the saloon & Estate/Chevanne following on. I remember the launch slogan – “It’s whatever you want it to be”

  4. I think it’s a poor show that the Vauxhall Heritage Centre isn’t open all the time like the Heritage Motor Centre. I’m sure that there would be plenty of people who would be prepared so pay the entrance fee required to make such an undertaking viable.

  5. @ Martin Green, I knew Vauxhall couldn’t overlook its V cars as the original Victor was the most exported car from Britain in the late fifties and the Americanised styling on the Vs always proved popular.

  6. This is the same day as the Luton Festival of Transport in Stockwood Park just up the road. So when you have finished at this head up to the event as there will be lots more Vauxhall’s at this event. Including the Vauxhall Cavalier and Chevette Club who will have a stand with approx 10 cars on.

  7. @ Hilton D, the Chevette proved to be a saviour for Vauxhall, whose range was suffering from falling sales and the fall out from the rust scare of the sixties. For all it was totally conventional underneath, the car had a modern hatchback body when all its British rivals were still saloons and the styling was fresh and different from the stale looking Viva. Also rust proofing seemed far better than on the V models and reliability was acceptable.

    • @ Glenn, yes my 72 Viva needed both front wings replaced when only 4-5 years old. I never remember seeing a similar aged Chevette having bubbly paint on its wings. As you say, the Chevette made do with the Viva 1256 engine and RWD and the hatchback was its main appeal. Along with the Cavalier it was an upward turning point for Vauxhall.

  8. For being an odd mixture of parts the Chevette did very well, though Vauhall hedged their bets by keeping the Viva in production, as they then did with the Chevette after the Astra was introduced.

  9. @ Hilton D, I don’t think the Viva rusted like the sixties cars, but the wings and sometimes the doors could rust at 4 years old. Yet the Chevette seemed to be a leap forward as the rustproofing was far better and the car seemed to be better made and more modern( the round speedo made it look 10 years newer than the Viva). Not to knock the Viva, though, it was a fairly reliable and popular car that was in production for 16 years and spawned the interesting Magnum version.

    • Yes Glenn, I replaced both front wings on my 72 Viva X14 and repainted the Rostyle wheels. It looked a better car when I sold it. I remember the last versions of the Viva HC got round dials (circa 1977) & the Viva GLS got 7 dial instruments… like the Magnum. That was a nice car too that I aspired to buy after my Viva – never did though.

      I see the Viva name is being revived on a new Vauxhall citycar.

  10. @ Hilton D, the new Viva is a city car aimed at the Volkswagen Up market. This time, though, it’s made in Korea rather than Ellesmere Port.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.