On Sunday, June 10 Vauxhall Motors will open the doors to its world-renowned Heritage Centre in Luton, which this year celebrates its first quarter-century.
Housing a collection of 75 vehicles, spanning the company’s entire 115-year history, Vauxhall Heritage Centre is welcoming families and enthusiasts to its Park Street base to see everything from the first Vauxhall model – a 5hp, single-cylinder, chain-driven ‘horeseless carriage’ – to the very latest 600hp VXR8 GTS-R.
Sitting between these book-end cars will be a few others with significant anniversaries. The 1918 D-type Staff Car helped mobilise the British Army during WW1, as we mark a century since the Allied victory and end of hostilities. It’s also been 70 years since Vauxhall stopped building Churchill tanks for WW2 and recommenced car production at Luton, and our L-Type Wyvern tells this story perfectly.
There are many other anniversaries, too – 35 years since the first Astra GTE, 55 years since the first Viva, 40 years since the first Chevette HS – but arguably the most important is Vauxhall’s best-selling Corsa, which this year turns 25. Expect to see all four generations outside the Centre on the day.
Of course, there’s more to the collection than just production cars. The XVR and SRV concepts showcase Vauxhall’s industry-leading design capability in the Sixties and Seventies, while the VX Lightning shows how this could have continued into the 21st century. There will also be a nod to Bedford, with vehicles ranging from the 1930 2-ton truck, to the CA and CF panel vans.
The breadth and quality of Vauxhall’s Heritage Collection is unique, with most cars roadworthy and maintained by Senior Restorer, Andy Boddy and Terry Forder. A majority of the vehicles were also built just around the corner from the Heritage Centre, at the famous Kimpton Road plant.
Vauxhall’s Heritage Centre Open Day will run from 10am to 4pm. Refreshments will be available throughout the day, and parking is free. As in previous years, the day coincides with Luton Festival of Transport, nearby, and we are currently looking into bus transfers between the two events. The Heritage Centre is situated behind Vauxhall’s Head Office on Park Street, Luton LU1 3HG.