Luton – Vauxhall Motors will have four anniversaries to shout about this weekend as it makes its second appearance at the NEC Birmingham for this year’s Classic Motor Show.
Marking 110 years of continuous production in the UK – longer than any other car manufacturer – Vauxhall’s first birthday car on display is a 1903 ‘5HP’. Fitted with a single-cylinder engine and 2-speed epicyclic gearbox, the 5HP could achieve a top speed of 18mph, and compared with its rivals had an advanced chassis, featuring a composite steel and wood structure. ‘BS 8213’ is the second oldest surviving Vauxhall in the world.
Celebrating its centenary, the 30-98 will show the remarkable engineering progress made by the Luton company in the early 20th century. Officially the first UK car to achieve 100mph (in OE form), the 30-98 put Vauxhall firmly in the motorsport arena, where it vied with arch-rival Bentley at hillclimb tracks around the UK, as well as at the fearsome Brooklands Circuit. The 1920 display car is on loan to Vauxhall from former Chairman, Nick Reilly, and is one of the earliest surviving E-type models manufactured.
Fifty years ago, Vauxhall started producing cars at its Ellesmere Port factory in Merseyside, and in 2013 the plant is still going strong, with its future secured into the next decade. Book-ending this remarkable production run are two cars: a 1963 Viva HA and a 2013 Astra Hatch. The Viva marked a radical move by Vauxhall back to the compact car market, which it had ignored for many years, and was a huge success, continuing for nearly 20 years in various iterations.
The 2013 car is fresh from Vauxhall’s recent 24-hr FIA World Speed Endurance attempt, where it recently challenged a total of 12 world and six national records at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.
But this wasn’t the only motorsport activity in which Vauxhall was involved in 2013. At this year’s Goodwood Revival, the company supported a memorable return to the race track after five decades of tuning legend, Bill Blydenstein’s first competition Vauxhall, a VX 4/90. ‘812 FNM’ takes pride of place on the stand, looking as fresh as the day it first raced in Goodwood’s 1963 St Mary’s Trophy. Joining the famous racer is a painstakingly restored Bedford CA, which Vauxhall supplied in ‘Race Support’ livery especially for the 2013 Revival.
Another car from Vauxhall’s Heritage Centre appearing at the show is the Astra GTE Mk.1, which can be seen on sponsor, Lancaster Insurance’s 80s-themed stand.
The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show runs from the 15-17th November at the NEC, Birmingham. It’s the biggest show of its kind in the UK and spans 11 halls and over 80,000 square metres, with over 1500 classic cars on display. For more details, please go to www.necclassicmotorshow.com