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Vauxhall is a British automaker, headquartered in Luton, Bedfordshire, England. Being a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, Vauxhall is an affiliated company of Opel.
What Everything Began With
The history of Vauxhall goes back to 1857 when Alexander Wilson established a company that produced power units for river ships and tugboats in a small town called Vauxhall. Half a century later, the enterprise started to make automobiles.
The first Vauxhall Iron Works Company’s car was built in 1903. However, it turned out to be mediocre and even dull. That’s why it didn’t find a market. However, a failure didn’t make the car’s creators lose their heart. On the contrary, it prompted them to finally make an auto that would be much better, thus more popular.
Vauxhall Gains Momentum
In 1933, Vauxhall made a splash by producing the first car with a sunroof in Britain. The Vauxhall-A Light Six had two versions with somewhat different engine capacities – 12 hp and 14 hp. A few years later, the Big Six debuted. The Big Six model was a luxurious car, equipped with a 20 hp engine. It was produced either with a 2.4-litre or 3.2-litre engine. The latter was the most popular company’s model that was sold to 1936 until it was discontinued.
However, there were other models manufactured at that time. Among them were the DY (1935) and the OX, powered with 12 and 14 hp engines respectively. In 1936, even more powerful 25 HP G-series made its debut. Soon, it became a top seller.
But Vauxhall’s producers weren’t satisfied with what they had achieved so far and designed a new H-series in 1938. Its innovative features included a monocoque body and 3-speed transmission. Moreover, a year later, the U-series was introduced. The model with a 6-cylinder 14 hp 1.8-litre engine was meant for middle-class customers.
When the WWII came, the Vauxhall company began to make military equipment, as all automakers did. It made Bedford trucks, Churchill cannons, and aircraft engines. Fortunately, as soon as battles ceased, the company quickly resumed its production.
After the War
1948 was important for Vauxhall as long as it was marked with the L-series premier. On its basis, the Velox and Wyvern were developed, equipped with 2.3 and 1.5-litre engines respectively. The cars possessed not only improved technical characteristics but also an interesting and unusual for the Britons design. They were produced for a very long time (the Wyvern till 1957 and the Velox till 1965) in the original.
Along with these models, others were invented. In 1955, the Cresta entered the market, which was followed by the Victor. The latter turned out to be rather successful among middle-class representatives due to its efficiency and a reasonable price.
In the early 60s, Vauxhall started to collaborate with Opel, which was included to the General Motors corporation. The tandem’s achievements weren’t long-awaited. In 1964, the affordable small-capacity Viva with a 1-litre 4-cylinder engine under the bonnet was introduced. Although its design copied the Opel Kadett, the Britons seemed to be OK with this.
In the 70s, such models as the Firenza, the Magnum, the Cavalier, and the Chevett were introduced.
For a very long time, Vauxhall was one of the largest and most profitable British automakers. However, in the late 80s, such a status was lost. The enterprise was significantly affected by GM and all models produced later were nothing else but copies of Opel ones. For instance, such cars as the Vauxhall Astra and the Vauxhall Nova were analogues of the Opel Kadett and the Opel Corsa.
It may seem unbelievable but Vauxhall’s logo goes back to the Middle Ages. Originally, Vauxhall was the name of Falkes de Breauté’s mansion, the Norman merchant.
Among other things, Breauté manufactured carts. Once, residents of what is now Vauxhall saw one of his carts moving on its own. Some of them asserted they clearly saw devils harnessed instead of horses.
This mysterious event was a good advertisement for Alexander Wilson’s company, which was set up here several centuries later. Its emblem depicted a griffin from Breauté’s coat of arms.
A griffin is a mythical creature with an eagle’s head and wings and lion’s body. It’s considered to combine qualities of both a king of beasts and birds. That’s why it symbolizes power and vigilance.
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