News : Vauxhall Heritage collection set to go public

Vauxhall’s Heritage Collection and Archive are set to move from Griffin House in Luton next month, as plans develop to create an all-new public-facing Heritage Centre in the future.

The imminent sale of Vauxhall’s former Luton site means that the Collection will find a new interim home at the company’s Ellesmere Port factory, where a converted 8000 square-metre building has been set aside for the 60-strong Collection, which represents every decade of Vauxhall’s 117-year history.

The Collection will be maintained on site by local classic vehicle specialist, Manor Park Classics. Around 20 vehicles will also remain on display to the public at Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton as part of the ‘Vauxhall – Made in Luton’ exhibition, which runs until the end of March 2021. A joint venture between Vauxhall and The Culture Trust Luton, the exhibits include the world’s oldest Prince Henry, the rakish 1966 XVR concept and the 1970 Viva GT (above).

Manor Park Classics will display six cars at its Runcorn HQ in a bespoke Vauxhall Heritage area. Included in Manor Park Classics’ exhibition will be a 1904 6hp Light Car that, a 1926 OE-Type 30-98, the original Lotus Carlton press car and a 1989 Astra GTE Mk2.

Vauxhall’s Heritage Centre also houses an extensive archive, going back as far as the late-nineteenth century, when the Vauxhall Iron Works – as the company was then known – was formed, before starting motor car production in 1903. Like the Collection, the Archive will find a new home at another existing Vauxhall site: the historic and prominent Toddington Warehouse, on the outskirts of Luton.

Andrew Duerden, Vauxhall’s long-time Archivist, was pleased that the move would bring more order to the enormous collection of images and records gathered over the years. ‘Our upcoming move has given me the opportunity to re-organise the Archive and prioritise the elements which add depth, colour and interest to our extensive history. We have many unseen design studies from the 1960s and ’70s that, quite frankly, take your breath away.’

Keith Adams
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  1. Damn that HB Viva looks good – a car killed too young. This should have stayed on into the 70s as Vauxhalls Escort whilst a new car based in the Opel Ascona A could have taken on the Cortina – It wasnt just British Leyland that was lumbered with useless inept British management.

    • The Opel Ascona A had the same wheelbase as the Viva HB though (95.75″) so wasn’t big enough to take on the Cortina. Almost the same size as the HC Viva, though the HC had slight stretch to a 97″ w.b.

    • How right you are, that Viva GT looks great. I’m of that age when I remembered the launch of the HB Viva (1966) and my brother owned one. I still have the launch brochure of the Viva GT

    • I think that Vauxhall could have got in bed with Holden and used the same stretched HB platform that the Torana LC was derived from.

  2. Does GM still control or own the collection or does PSA/Stellantis or transferred to a new entity jointly owned or spun off ?

    • Yes the Magnum was relatively ignored in the 1970s Vauxhall range as the Viva, Chevette & Cavalier got more promotion. The Magnum Estate was a good looking useful car too. Never saw many on the roads though.

  3. I wonder if the last Ellesmere Port Astra will be joining the collection as Vauxhall will stop making cars in the UK later this year to concentrate on vans.

  4. I suppose we should be reassured that the Vauxhall collection will survive for years to come. Displaying the last Astra would be appropriate, just as the first Viva was built at Ellesmere Port (Viva’s – where it all started!) .

    Sadly apart from the Astra, I am not attracted to any Vauxhall product now. Despite the Griffin badge on them they don’t convince me they are true Vauxhall’s. My age and memories of Victor’s, Viva’s, Cresta’s etc. remind me of happier times (even the MK1 Cavalier, not a home grown product still felt “British”)

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