Events : Vauxhall at the NEC Classic Motor Show

Vauxhall is celebrating its status as the UK’s oldest surviving car manufacturer by displaying seven of its historic models at the Footman James Classic Motor Show, held at the NEC in Birmingham on 16-18 November. The seven car line-up spans 1904-2012, and promises to celebrate the Luton company’s enduring sporting heritage.

This will be the first time that Vauxhall will be attending the event, which is the UK’s largest indoor classic car show, and promises that its line-up will appeal to enthusiasts of all ages. The NEC marks the beginning of Vauxhall’s 2013 birthday celebrations, with it will mark the 110th anniversary of car production in the UK – and the centenary of its legendary 30-98.

The car line-up, which have all been supplied by the Vauxhall Heritage Centre includes the veteran 1904 6HP, fresh from its appearance in the London to Brighton run, and the pre-war 1926 30-98, generally regarded to be the UK’s first 100mph production car. The main attraction for hot hatch fans will be the selection of Astras: the 1983 Astra GTE Mk1, 1989 GTE 16V Mk2, a current production VXR, and the 1986 Astra 4S rally car, an ill-fated attempt by Vauxhall to muscle in on Group B rallying.

Finally, also on Vauxhall’s stand is the 1969 XVR concept, as styled by David Jones in the Luton design studio, The low-line concept car pre-dated some of Italy’s most iconic supercar designs, and deserves a wider audience than it currently gets. And you’ll be able to see for youself what the fuss is all about.

  • Vauxhall will be in Hall 12, Stand 147 of the Footman James Classic Motor Show – more information on the event’s website.
Keith Adams


  1. My favourites here would be the Astra GTE MK1 amd the XVR Concept car. I remember that featured in the Vauxhall Motorist mag back in 1969. Pity a Cavalier MK1 is not represented on this occasion.

  2. “UK’s oldest surviving car manufacturer” but then they are literally rebadged Opels and have been for the last 30+ years.

    Bit like saying Bush radio is the UKs oldest surviving radio manufacturer, when all it does is rebadge Argos specials.

  3. Or are the Opel’s rebadged Vauxhalls? (or Holden’s?)

    Regardless manufactured rather than assembled here in Blighty, we should be proud.

  4. I think the last “home grown” Vauxhall car was the VX (formerly Victor)FE series which were discontinued around 1978/79 if memory serves. The Carlton was a badged Opel Rekord, the Viceroy was a badged Commodore and as we know, the Royale was Senator/Monza.

  5. @Andrew Elphick

    Guess it depends who did the development work? Cavalier mk1 was an Ascona with a Cherry nose. Mk2 / 80s onwards and it was straight badge engineering.
    I’m guessing the majority of the development was Opel, hence my belief that Vauxhalls and the rebadged models of Holdens, Chevrolets, Cadillacs and Buicks are just Opels.
    (And not all EU RHDs are Vauxhall – they sell Opel in the RoI as they thought a UK marque mightn’t do well)

    Vauxhall do well on developing sports variants, almost Opel’s MG. And bringing over interesting Holdens for the UK.
    They do build the Astra here still, though Luton is long gone (other than vans), and Honda/Toyota produce cars in the UK on a grand scale too.

  6. @Will M, AFAIK Vauxhall was dropped in favour of Opel in the early 80’s in Ireland as Opel was regarded as being a better quality product. They were sold side by side for a period of time after they began to merge products. It had nothing to do with it being a UK marque unless you are referring to the dubious quality tag which was being applied to all things British in the late 70’s

  7. Modern Vauxhalls are generally driven by people who know nothing about cars, they are also the preserve of the UK chav and general idiot. If they do pass, they (and Opel) will not be missed as a brand because it stands for nothing, just average boring Motability trash…
    That’s not to say they are bad cars because they are generally quite good, reliable and Robust.

  8. I’ve been trying to get to see the NEC Classic Car Show for years; it looks like I’ll be unable to get there this year too! 🙁

    Just putting a word in for Triumph, Britain’s oldest surviving vehicle manfacturer. Fully British owned, British designed and developed and mostly built in the UK too! At 110 years old, that’s 10 years older than Vauxhall 😉

  9. @4 – Yep, bang on, the VX (we had 2 while I was growing up) was the last Uk-designed Vauxhall – although it did share some floorpan with the Opel Rekord. An often overlooked car, it struggled in some way by being the opposite of the Marina – it was a little too up-market, and large to take the Cortina in it’s own class, hence the introduction of the Cavalier, and later the Carlton, to take on the Cortina and Granada

  10. @2 Will – Its been a long time since a Vauxhall was literally a rebadged Opel – 1975 Mk1 Cavalier. Now all are designed as GM European cars and branded according to the market. There is a factory at Ellesmere Port with a Vauxhall badge on it that does manufature cars so yes they can lay claim to be the UKs oldest car manufacturer. Incidently nmost of this Vauxhall factories output ends up on ships to the continent with Opel badges, so perhaps these cars are just rebadged Vauxhalls!
    @7 Steve – do we really need these “Mailtard” comments, categorising everyone as good or bad depending on if they share the same outlook on life as you?

  11. Regardless of where they are designed, Vauxhall (or GM Eurpoe) is important to the UK. Elsmerport is major exporter of cars (as pointed out above). Ford may have ditched thier UK production lines by the guys in the NW have proved they can run an efficient factory.

    Vauxhall may not have the brand image of some expensive German Marques but we should still be proud of what they represent and manufacture.

  12. @ Engineer:

    Some good points here. The presence of Vauxhall at this event will further reaffirm the enormous importance this company has had to British manufacturing jobs for nearly 110 years and that it continues to offer the buying public with a product (albeit a restricted lineup) that is assembled in this country.

    @ others:

    A small number of manufacturers (i.e. Volvo and Jaguar) have supported this event in the past by loaning out their milestone cars from their own heritage collections. The Volvo stand was particularly impressive last year when the designer of the P1800 turned up, while back in 2007 all their display cars were finished in red. It is good to see Vauxhall taking a leaf out of their book and promoting their presence within the classic car scene.

    I personally hope the 2014 Classic Motor Show will see the Heritage Motor Centre having a presence at this event by displaying some of the milestone Rovers, to help commemorate that marque’s own special anniversary. Together with the impressive displays we already see from the various Rover clubs located adjacent to each other, this will enable show visitors to remember the achievements of this once proud British marque. It would also raise the presence of the Heritage Motor Centre as well beyond those four walls at Gaydon.

  13. @9 Simon… I agree with your opinion too. Do you also remember the Ventora FE and VX 4/90? The 4/90 was discontinued for a while then had a short re-introduction in 1977, but with single oblong headlights rather than twins, check fabric trim & a Getrag 5 speed gearbox.

    I have seen photos of some FE series cars at Classic Shows. Pity they were the end of traditional British designed Vauxhall’s.

  14. @Hilton D – The last of the VX490’s were put together as a bit of a ‘swan song’ from Vauxhall. The Getrag box was chosen to cope with the extra torque produced by adding fuel injection to the 2300cc slant-4. Rumour has it that GM pulled the plug because the performace was embarassingly better than the soon to be released Carlton, so they went back to twin carbs before going on sale. Some pics of the FE (and FD) Victors for you at (mine is the bright green one!)

  15. @14 – Yep, the VX2300GLS – lovely motor – you sometimes see immaculate examples for sale. The tartan seat fabric puts any Cortina 2.0S to shame! We also had an FE, but it’s the VX that I particularly like – Wayne Cherry’s styling is, as usual ‘right’, and by 70s standards they had very well appointed interiors. The estate model also pre-dated the modern trend for rakish ‘life-style’ estates….I also remember the Ventora – we had a neighbour with one. An unce also had the 2300S limited edition, similar to the one at the Luton Vauxhall museum,

  16. @15 David M – thanks, yes I heard about the plans for fuel injection which were later revised. I’ll look at your car on the link! My Dad owned an earlier 1966 VX4/90 FC which was his favourite car of all time.

    @16 Simon H – thank you too, for posting the VX490 brochure scan. I recall those “Bold plaid seats” and “Continental armrests”. That was the time whem Vauxhall revised the name from VX4/90 to 490. 14″ wheels seem small by todays standards but so much has changed in auto engineering in 35 years!

  17. Thanks for informing us of the show, I happen to be off on the sunday so will definitely be going!! in fact I’m so excited about going to the car I could do a little wee lol

  18. Yep, I’m going too – I meant to go along last year but missed the weekend. Not this year. Looking forward to a real nostalgia trip……

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