26th August 2020

Vauxhall Heritage Announces First Public Exhibition

Vehicles from Vauxhall Heritage’s famous collection will be on public display from 5th September 2020 – for the first time in its 72-year history. The exhibition tells the story of Vauxhall Motors from its beginnings 115 years ago as a niche sporting car manufacturer, to one of the UK’s best-known automotive brands.

The exhibition ‘Vauxhall – Made in Luton’ opens on September 5th at Stockwood Discovery Centre, Luton which is just a stones-throw from where almost all the exhibits were originally manufactured. Best of all, entry is completely free of charge!

The core exhibits include ten of Vauxhall’s most iconic Luton-built cars from the very first model to be produced at the famous Kimpton Road factory – a 1905 7/9hp – to the last passenger car to roll off the line – a 2002 Vectra. Plus, each month will see a different ‘hero’ car joining the line-up, starting with the 1959 PA Velox. Other ‘heroes’ include the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton, Firenza HPF ‘Droopsnoot’, and OE-Type 30-98, Britain’s first 100mph car.

Vauxhall has a strong relationship with Luton. Founded in 1903 in Vauxhall, the manufacturer needed to move to larger premises just two years later and settled on Luton as the perfect place. In fact, Vauxhall still manufactures vehicles in Luton to this day.

‘This is a perfect opportunity for the public to get up close and personal with cars from our collection that are normally only seen via the hundred-or-so media loans that we arrange each year,’ said Simon Hucknall, Vauxhall’s Head of PR. ‘There are some extremely rare and valuable cars on display, but many that will conjure ‘my-dad-had-one-of-those’ memories, too. Most importantly, it paints a wonderful social picture of Vauxhall’s importance to the Luton community, through all the highs and lows of the twentieth century.’

‘Vauxhall – Made in Luton’ opens at Stockwood Discovery Centre, London Road, Luton LU1 4LX on Saturday, September 5th and runs until Easter, 2021. Opening hours are Thursday to Sunday 11am to 5pm (CLOSED Mon-Weds) and admission is free. COVID-19 protocols will be in place to ensure social distancing.

For more information visit culturetrust.com.

Exhibits include:

  • 1905 7/9hp – first Luton-built Vauxhall
  • 1910 C-10 ‘Prince Henry’ – Britain’s first official production sports car
  • 1923 23/60 Tourer – awash with high-technology for middle-class motorists
  • 1926 30-98 OE-Type Tourer – Britain’s first 100mph production car (November only)
  • 1936 BXL Limousine – the default pre-war mayoral conveyance for many UK municipalities
  • 1959 PA Velox – flamboyant US-style, with compact dimensions (September only)
  • 1963 Viva HA – Vauxhall’s first post-war compact car
  • 1966 XVR Concept – curvaceous design study debuted at the Geneva Motor Show
  • 1968 Bedford CA – Britain’s first purpose-built panel van that dominated its market for 17 years
  • 1975 Firenza HPF – svelte coupe that enjoyed success on and off the race track (December only)
  • 1979 Cavalier Mk.1 – the mid-size nameplate that led Vauxhall’s market dominance in the 80s/90s
  • 1983 Astra GTE Mk.1 – Vauxhall’s first genuine ‘hot hatch’ (October only)
  • 1993 Lotus Carlton – world’s fastest four-door production car, with max speed of 176mph (Jan only)
  • 2002 Vectra – display vehicle was last passenger car to be made in Luton
  • 2003 VX Lightning – concept car created to celebrate Vauxhall’s centenary