Vauxhall Anecdotes

I thought it would be a good idea to provide a page for you to relate your memories of our club cars in their heyday. If you would like to submit a story please email it to me at: [email protected]
Submitted by Wendy Hogarth
Griffin or Wyvern: exactly what is the fabulous beast on Fulk le Breant’s coat of arms and today’s Vauxhall logo? Vauxhall seemed unsure themselves when they called a series of nineteen fifties models Wyverns and in the nineties called their Luton HQ Griffin House. The dictionary defines the two contenders as follows: A griffin (or griffon) is a fabulous animal typically half eagle and half lion, whereas a Wyvern is a fabulous animal usually represented as a two legged winged creature resembling a dragon.

Look at any Vauxhall badge over the last century and it’s certainly an eagle on top (just look at that beak and eyes and compare to the Welsh dragon) but it’s represented as a two legged creature as our friend is standing on a heraldic device called a bridge. The clincher, however, is the bushy end to the tail and the fur feathers on the front legs which shout lion! So he is a Griffin and Vauxhall should be ashamed for introducing the interloper Wyvern who has no place in Vauxhall history aside from being the name of some interesting four cylinder cars built in Luton from the late forties to the late fifties.

Shown below are a small selection of Griffins from over the years which have been culled from books, headed notepaper and web sites. They span over one hundred years of Vauxhall’s existence and show how marketing men over this time have moulded our stalwart guardian to suit the fashions of the day. But through it all, he still comes out triumphant, flag in hand (V, B or blank), ready to go and defend Vauxhall’s honour. You may notice one highly unauthorised version used by a bunch of eight year olds who belonged to the Rascals (after the van) Kart Team.  
vauxhall logos
Submitted by Peter Grimshaw.
Indeed learning to drive and taking my driving test in 1961 in my father's PA Velox was an interesting experience. Unfortunately the emergency stop occurred of its own accord when a car jumped a red light and crossed in front of me.
I braked hard, the nose of the softly sprung Velox dipped dramatically, and in pre-seat belt days the examiner flew off the vinyl bench seat. He hit his forehead on the inside mirror, before ending up in a heap on the top of the gearbox. He was lucky that the Velox had the 3 speed steering column gear change.
     Unfortunately the mirror broke on his impact, and blood poured from his forehead, so I drove him around the corner to the nearby hospital. Once there he was totally confused but decided that if the rest of my driving was as good as my reactions in an emergency he had no alterative but to pass me. So he wrote out the pass slip and then rushed into A & E, leaving me to explain to my father why his Velox no longer had an interior mirror.  I never did get to do a hillstart or three point turn, or answer any questions on the highway code.
 My father's loyalty to Vauxhalls no doubt influenced me to buy an HA Viva as my first car in 1965, Thereafter my wife and I had a 3 HA's - 1 HB - 1 HC Viva, a Chevette and an FD Victor and FD VX4/90.
The last one I bought second hand 3 days old and with 300 miles on the clock in 1971. I kept it exactly 12 months and cover 61,000miles before trading it in against an new FE Victor as a company car for one of our employees.
In 1974 I organised a charity sponsored Round Table event and raised £6000 to fund a physiotherapy unit at our local cottage hospital by driving an HC Viva non stop (apart from refuelling and changing drivers) around a set route in the Cotswolds 24 hours a day for one week. We covered just under 6000miles and the person who estimated to mileage most accurately won the car.
Submitted by Peter Lane.
Its funny how you get to hear those old stories relating to the classic car you own when you are out and about. I was told this story by a chap that lives close by & stopped for a chat when i was out polishing the Cresta.
He explained that he worked as a mechanic back in the days when the PA Cresta was new on the road. He described the sort of impact the Cresta made, he also described the vivid colors, they called the Pink as "Titty Pink"
He recalled the time when complaints were coming in about the accuracy of the Speedo. To test the troublesome Speedo's they went out in 3 PA's, the leading one was known to have an accurate Speedo. They drove at varying speeds, once out in the countryside of the Lincolnshire fens the lead car put his foot down, he remembers the Speedo reading 95mph. All of a sudden the lead car decided to brake sharply to negotiate a right turn!!! With tyre's screeching the 3 Cresta's ended up inches apart, he recalled how close it came to an embarrassing tale to have to tell the boss. After a few choice words they decided to end the testing & drive safely back to the garage.