Ever wondered where the Vauxhall droopsnoots come from? Their creator Wayne Cherry honed his passion for the wedge with the sensational SRV1 of 1970.
Who’d have thought it would had led to the Vauxhall Chevette?
The thin edge of the wedge
Presented at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1970, the Vauxhall SRV1 (Styling Research Vehicle) was a radical looking car that echoed the dramatic designs coming out of Italy at the time. It was penned by a new designer at Vauxhall in Luton, Wayne Cherry, who envisaged that a vehicle designed for safety should have the profile resembling a scalpel blade!
Under the fripperies of a motor show flight of fancy, SRV1 had some interesting and prescient features. It had an electrically adjustable front spoiler in the nose, and multiple petrol tanks that ensured even weight distribution regardless of fuel load. Inside, the dashboard, hinged away from the driver with the door, and the seat was fixed, surrounded by a full complement of adjustable controls.
Following the critical acclaim of the SRV1, Wayne Cherry was promoted to deputy director of Vauxhall’s styling department in 1971, before assuming control in 1975. The cars that Cherry oversaw to the marketplace were the Vauxhall Firenza Droopsnoot, Vauxhall Chevette (and the UK designed hatchback), Cavalier Mk1, Carlton Mk1, as well as a number of concepts, such as the Silver Aero and Equus roadster. Luton’s design influence receded into the 1980s, so we missed out on the droop-snoot T-Car Vauxhall Astra and Cavalier Mk2 that were in the pipeine, when design autonomy was handed to Russelsheim.
Cherry’s period of control coincided with Vauxhall’s mid-’70s renaissance, however, and led to its styling chief enjoying a stellar career with the General, that saw him assume control of Opel’s (and therefore European) design in 1983 before heading off to the USA to become GM’s Vice President of design.
As for the SRV1 – it’s a wonderful irrelevance today. And a stylish one at that.