By Rod Ward
In this story, stretching over 150 years, Vauxhall progressed from a fine old maker of steamboat engines to build pioneering sporting cars. Then, under General Motors ownership, Vauxhall went on to offer top-selling popular family cars from the 1930s to the present day. Automotive historians often comment that, especially from the 1940s to 1960s, there was a snobbish attitude to Vauxhall cars, which were regarded by the Rover-buying classes as ‘vulgar’. The wider public had no such prejudices, however. They loved the American-inspired styling and jolly colours of the latest Wyvern, Velox, Cresta or Victor. The other negative story (fostered by dealers who sold competing car marques) was that Vauxhalls were rust-prone. This was true of the F type Victor, but long after the problem had been solved, the reputation remained in the minds of many buyers. From the 1970s onwards, Vauxhalls were mostly clones of German-designed Opels. In the 21st century an extensive range of cars was marketed under the Vauxhall brand, sourced from GM plants around the world. GM’s Opel-Vauxhall division continued to go from strength to strength in the latest chapter of this long story.