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Vauxhall Heritage Centre
The Heritage Centre was established to provide a tangible link with the past, as well as offering a valuable service to Vauxhall Retailers who often display vehicles from the collection in their showrooms.

The Heritage Centre is situated in Luton close to Griffin House, the corporate headquarters of the company.

Here, in purpose-built surroundings, the company maintains a collection of rare and historic Vauxhall and Bedford vehicles from nearly 100 years of motor manufacturing history.

One of the very first cars ever built by the company in 1903, as well as famous names like the Prince Henry and the 30/98, form part of this collection which numbers around fifty vehicles. One of the Heritage Centre's vehicles, a 1904 6hp single-cylinder model has competed regularly in the world-famous London to Brighton run since 1950.

Since 1993 the Heritage Centre has opened its doors to the general public for one day each year, when these come up we will add them to our calender.
» Vauxhall History
Prince HenryIt all started back in 1911 with Laurence Pomeroy, who was one of Vauxhall's first designers, and later became Chief Engineer of the company. He created a new model, known originally as the C-type, and then subsequently named the Prince Henry. This doorless four-seater is considered by notable motoring historians to be the first true sports car. The Prince Henry went on to become one of Vauxhall's most illustrious cars.

In subsequent years, Vauxhall continued to produce a variety of different models, with both the first and second world wars moving the emphasis of car production from sports orientated to practical models, ranging from the D-type which was used as the standard Army car in the first world war, up to the 38 ton Churchill tank used in the second world war. In total, 5640 Churchill tanks left Luton between 1940 and 1945, with some 3000 returning to Luton throughout this time for battle damage repair.

After the war, Vauxhall began to pick up where it left off in terms of model development. The Velox, Cresta and Victor cars started to become familiar sights on the roads, with Vauxhall reaching the milestone of producing two million cars in 1959.

Viva GTIn 1966, Vauxhall began to start concentrating on the sports models again, with the introduction of a Viva GT, with a two litre engine.

The revised Viva range introduced in 1970 saw the launch of the 1800 and 2300 Magnums, which were shortly followed by the radically styled Firenza and Firenza 'Droop Snoot.' Indeed, it was the DTV Firenza, driven by Gerry Marshall that dominated special-saloon car racing between 1975 and 1977. In total, it gained 30 outright wins and two championships.

Vauxhall's first hatchback, the Chevette, was launched in 1975. Despite being conceived as an economical family car to replace the Viva, the HS2300 was a highly successful rally car, winning over 30 races and taking the 1979 British Open Rally Championship title. The road-going versions of these cars, with their distinctive silver paintwork with red decals, can sometimes be seen on the roads today, although they are of course a rare sight, such was their exclusivity.

The Cavalier was also launched around the same time as the Chevette, and as well as a two or four door saloon, was also available as a Coupe, or as a Sports Hatch model. These two models also existed as the Opel Manta, which continued in production right up to 1987, with a special final edition known as the Manta Exclusive.

It could be argued that the 1980's was when Vauxhall really started to produce some great cars for the enthusiastic driver. The Mk 2 Cavalier, which was launched in 1981, had a sports model straight away with the 1.6 SR. The Astra 1.6 SR then arrived in 1982, closely followed by the Astra GTE and Nova 1.3 SR in 1983.

NovaIn 1984, the momentum continued with the addition of fuel injection and a larger engine to the Cavalier SR, which then of course became the SRi. This year also saw the introduction of the Mk 2 Astra, which again had a sports variant from launch (the GTE 1.8). This was the first Vauxhall model to have the LCD dashboard installed, but it was soon joined by the Opel Monza with it's 3 litre engine at the end of 1984.

In 1987, the Astra GTE received an engine upgrade to two litres. The 1.8 engine, however, continued in the newly-launched Astra SRi and GTE Convertible. The Cavalier SRi also received an engine upgrade to two litres, and the SRi 130 was introduced, having an extra 15 bhp over the standard SRi. A special edition of the SRi 130 was released, known as the Calibre. This was mechanically identical to the SRi 130, but featured a full Irmscher bodykit that was fitted by Aston Martin Tickford. Only 500 of these cars were produced, and all were painted in bright red. 1987 was also the year that the Carlton GSi 3000 was unveiled, with a 3 litre 12 valve engine.

The new Vauxhall Senator was introduced the following year, and soon became a firm favourite with Police Forces across the country. The Nova SR received an engine upgrade to 1.4 litres, and the Nova GTE was launched, with a 1.6 litre engine. The Astra GTE 16 valve was also unveiled. The Mk 3 Cavalier was launched in October 1988, with the SRi 2.0 available from the start. In 1989, the GSi 2000 arrived with a two litre, 16-valve engine producing 150 bhp. The GSi was available in both front and four wheel drive. The four-wheel drive system was also available with the two litre 8 valve engine and 'L' trim level, and was called the Cavalier 4x4. The Senator and Carlton GSi also received a new 24-valve three-litre engine.

In 1990, the Astra SXi was launched with a 1.8 litre engine, and the Astra Champion, based on the GTE 16 valve and featuring a Connolly leather interior, was available in limited numbers The Nova range received a facelift, with the GSi replacing the GTE. This year will also always be remembered for the launch of the Lotus Carlton, boasting 377 bhp from it's 3.6 litre, twin turbo engine. This gave the car a 0-60 mph time of just over five seconds, and a top speed of 180mph.

Astra SportIn 1992, the Mk 3 Astra was introduced, and included the SRi 2.0 8 valve, and the GSi 2.0 16 valve. The Cavalier GSi was replaced by the Cavalier 4x4 Turbo, and a new SRi 16 valve was introduced alongside the 2 litre 8 valve car. The Calibra was also unveiled to the coupe-buying public, being available in 2 litre 8 valve, 2 litre 16 valve, 2 litre 16 valve 4x4 and Turbo 4x4 versions.

Vauxhall decided to offer the Astra GSi with a 1.8 litre 16-valve engine in 1993, and also launched the Corsa range as a replacement for the Nova. Sporting Corsa's available were the SRi 1.4, and the GSi 1.6 16 valve. The Cavalier and Calibra were now also available with an all-new 2.5 V6 quad cam engine, producing 170 bhp. The following year, the Omega arrived to replace the Carlton, and the Tigra was launched for those who sought a small, compact coupe.

Vectra GSiThe Vectra was launched in 1995 to replace the Cavalier, with the 2 litre SRi being available from launch not just in saloon and hatch models, but as an estate as well. A fitting tribute to the Cavalier was John Cleland winning the British Touring Car Championship in his Cavalier 2 litre 16-valve.

The Astra range received a facelift, and the SRi and GSi models were replaced with the Sport, which could be had in either 1.6, 1.8 or 2.0 engines, all featuring 16 valves. The Corsa Sport 1.4 16 valve was also introduced to replace the SRi 1.4.

In 1996, Vauxhall decided to re-introduce the Astra GSi, and in 1997, the 2.5 litre engine became available in the Vectra SRi, and the 1.6 litre 16-valve engine could be ordered in the Corsa Sport. The Omega MV6 was also launched in 1997, with a 3.0 litre 24-valve engine. A special edition of the Vectra SRi, the Supertouring was launched with either a 2 litre or 2.5 litre V6 engine and a further version, the Supertouring 200 could be ordered with improved specification over the standard Supertouring V6.

The Vectra GSi was launched in 1998, along with a much-improved SRi model, which could now be had with a 1.8 litre 16-valve engine. It was also in this year that the new Mk 4 Astra was launched, with a Sport model being available with 1.6 and 1.8 litre 16 valve engines, and the SRi being available with both 1.8 and 2.0 litre 16 valve engines. It was also in 1998 that Vauxhall introduced the Corsa SXi, which had the trim and appearance of a Corsa Sport, combined with the insurance and economy benefits of a 1.2 litre 16-valve engine.

The year 2000 saw the introduction of the Astra Coupe, with either a 1.8, 2.2 or 2.0 turbo engine, and the Omega V6 became available with a 2.5 engine as well as the 3.0. The new Corsa was also launched, with the SRi and SXi models being continued from the previous range. The Astra SXi was also introduced, with either a 1.6 or 1.8 litre engine.

VX220In 2001, the VX220 became available. This roadster is capable of nearly 140mph, with a 0 - 60mph time of just over 5 seconds. The Corsa SRi gained a 1.8 litre engine in addition to the 1.4. Vauxhall also broke the mould of the MPV, with the launch of the Zafira GSi, with the 2 litre 16 valve turbo engine from the Astra Coupe Turbo.

To be updated soon...

Updated: 26/04/2009
» Vauxhall Griffin
Over the years, the Vauxhall Griffin has undergone some updates and re-designs, below are the differnet version.

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