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Lutons Finest... A Drive-It-Day Special!


boobydoo

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As today was Drive-It-Day and it looked like the weather might hold, I thought I'd make the effort and give the 2-Litre a spin. It seems to be running nicely at the moment....in fact it's the only one of my cars that is! The red Alpine and white Tagora are the only other ones currently MOT'd but both have niggly problems that I need to get off my arse and sort out.

 

I met up with a mate in Hitchin and we decided to head for the Vauxhall Heritage Centre in Luton. It's only open a couple of times a year and I hadn't been for a while, so worth a punt especially as it's free to enter.

 

It's located near the Vauxhall factory down a little residential side road, so not the easiest place to find. This recently renovated tower block overlooks it...quite nice to see some sixties architecture that isn't completely shagged.

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We got there about 11.30 and there was quite a good turn out of classics in the carpark. I'd hardly got parked and a load of people descended on the Chrysler saying how nice it looked and how they hadn't seen one on years and could they look under the bonnet and how someone they knew had had one in the seventies blah blah....one guy told me he'd banger raced quite a few of them....but it was nice to get such positive comments from people towards what is generally an unloved make.

 

I got chatting to the owner of this nice PB Cresta:

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He bought the car a couple of years ago after years searching for one in the two-tone blue...the same colour as the one his father had owned way back. It was a lovely old thing and I wish I'd taken a photo of the original radio inside ...it was a chrome wonder!

 

I then saw another mate , Andy, who I hadn't seen for a while. He had just bought this 45,000 mile Victor off ebay for £1200:

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It was in great nick....very solid. He's re-painted the engine bay and boot interior...you can see how clean the engine looks in the pic....and plans to eventually re-spray the whole car just to get it looking mint. He drove it down from Scotland after buying it and it didn't miss a beat! It's a really late one on an F reg ....I'm pretty sure the FD model was out by then.

 

There were quite a few other privately owned Vauxhalls on display. This early Mk 3 Cavalier caught my eye:

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A 40,000 mile example in lovely condition. The beige colour was very nice, I thought.

 

Some more Cavaliers...I've seen the yellow one a few times as it's a local car. I think its the oldest surviving Mk1 or something.

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Convertible version! Note woman with matching anorak.

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Another FC Victor...an estate in the same colour my Uncle had back in the 60's. These must be pretty rare now.

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FB Victor:

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A nice VX-4/90. I'm sure I've seen this driving round Stevenage in the rush hour a few times so reckon it could be someones daily driver.

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Another nice Cresta, this was an automatic.

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This Omega was for sale. Looked very clean.

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Slightly shabby Chevette:

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Nice 1100:

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This Astra was in excellent condition. Not sure of the spec as there were no badges on the back. An L maybe...or Merit?

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Splendid P5. I do like the dash on these, hence the pic. I like the little cluster of dials under the main cowling.

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The little dog in this last pic was knackered. I reckon it was about twenty years old and the owner was practically dragging it round the car-park.

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These Escorts were both very nice. The blue 1300L was completely original with a lovely houndstooth interior.

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I spent a good hour looking round the car park before going into the museum itself. The cars on show are always in immaculate condition...my only gripe is that they are parked so close together you can't get a good look all around them. I suppose they just try to cram as many in to what is essentially a very limited space. Each car has it's own little write up on a lectern next to it.

I ignored all the pre-war stuff as it doesn't really interest me so went straight to the main hall.

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Some nice models on display:

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Excuse some of the crappy photos...as I say the cars are packed jam-tight.

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This is supposedly the last ever Viva to leave the production line. 15,000 miles from new.

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This Viscount was originally green. Not sure why they re-painted it silver. Nice though.

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Lotus Carlton currently in preparation as was a Frontera.

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All in all, an enjoyable morning spent! It's a shame the Luton factory is no longer making passenger cars....it has such a great history...but at least it's still a functioning workplace making the Vivaro van. They do seem to be proud of their heritage and they really seem to cherish the cars they have on display. I hope the collection will stay for many years to come.

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Some REAL Vauxhalls there! Nice.

 

The dashboard on the P5 is splendid :D

 

All I spotted today was a Bedford camper van, a Marcos and (top spot) a brown Mk1 Escort Estate - all while driving so no pix :cry:

 

Looked a grand day out there.

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That's my sort of museum - like you, the pre-war "traditional" classics don't float my boat, but I will get slightly moist at a Nova Merit with the correct wheeltrims.

Amusing to see the lighting makes the Calibra bonnet look like it's gone Flame Pink like every other read VX of that era.

 

I was in town yesterday and saw a Corsa GTE - a special edition with the old-style badges.

A quick look around it seemed to show it was a cheap cash in though - little tiny alloys, bog standard interior, tacky bodykit. Googling shows it to have a 1.2 engine.

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Is anyone else concerned by the apparent lack of money that Vauxhall have spent on their museum?

 

Wheel some cars into a shed, hang some memorabelia on bare walls, stick some printed info sheets into some left over showroom stands.

Don't even bother with walls for the offices and the workshop.

 

I find their museum more concerning than all that media speculation about Vauxhall disappearing into Opel's armpit.

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Is anyone else concerned by the apparent lack of money that Vauxhall have spent on their museum?

 

Wheel some cars into a shed, hang some memorabelia on bare walls, stick some printed info sheets into some left over showroom stands.

Don't even bother with walls for the offices and the workshop.

 

I find their museum more concerning than all that media speculation about Vauxhall disappearing into Opel's armpit.

As you have raised the question, I feel I can say something without getting flamed.

Whats the point of a car museum if you cant walk around the exhibits? Granted, you have to be very wary of sticky fingers, light fingered scumbags and knobheads scratching the paintwork but, surely, is there any point in packing the cars in so fucking tightly the only good look you are going to get is of the front or arse end? Some of those cars are so tight against each other Kate Moss couldnt get between them.

Almost a pointless exercise.

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The cars ARE displayed poorly. I don't see why they can't drive some of them outside if the weather is nice. They only open the place once in a blue moon. You can't look inside any of them and I don't think there was one that you could walk all the way round.

I don't think damage is a problem either...I've been three times and the place is never so packed that you're squeezing past people ....and very few kids aswell.

 

I'm fairly sure all the cars are up and running as they make appearances at local shows and the like.....maybe I should write a polite letter airing our concerns!

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Is anyone else concerned by the apparent lack of money that Vauxhall have spent on their museum?

 

Wheel some cars into a shed, hang some memorabelia on bare walls, stick some printed info sheets into some left over showroom stands.

Don't even bother with walls for the offices and the workshop.

 

I find their museum more concerning than all that media speculation about Vauxhall disappearing into Opel's armpit.

 

You think that's bad? Ford has a similar hangar packed full of stunning motors and it's never open to the public at all. You should be grateful for what Vauxhall has managed as no doubt there's no budget for any of this. Car companies don't really seem to give two hoots about heritage. Yet at both companies, the staff who look after these cars have a massive passion for what they do. Both keep all their cars in 'ready to roll' condition as well - much better than some museums where cars never turn a wheel. I'm looking at you London Science Museum.

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Is anyone else concerned by the apparent lack of money that Vauxhall have spent on their museum?

 

Wheel some cars into a shed, hang some memorabelia on bare walls, stick some printed info sheets into some left over showroom stands.

Don't even bother with walls for the offices and the workshop.

 

I find their museum more concerning than all that media speculation about Vauxhall disappearing into Opel's armpit.

 

You think that's bad? Ford has a similar hangar packed full of stunning motors and it's never open to the public at all. You should be grateful for what Vauxhall has managed as no doubt there's no budget for any of this. Car companies don't really seem to give two hoots about heritage. Yet at both companies, the staff who look after these cars have a massive passion for what they do. Both keep all their cars in 'ready to roll' condition as well - much better than some museums where cars never turn a wheel. I'm looking at you London Science Museum.

 

And here is a link to some pics of the Ford Heritage collection:

 

http://www.detailingworld.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=130510

 

Not open to the public, but real car porn :-)

 

Rawy

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Excellent pics, that looks my kind of day out. I love old Vauxhalls and there are some stunners there.

 

It is a shame about the lack of space but we're lucky the place is still intact, heaven knows what would happen to it if the Vauxhall badge suddenly disappeared from GM's agenda....

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I saw you pull up in the Chrysler and was one of the eyes-like-saucers loons leaning into the engine bay :lol:

 

The FC Victor Estate is my old one, sold it in 2008 to present owner who's brought it back nicely.

 

The 'Museum' does lack funding and management, but at least it's there, as is the records room next door

 

Roll-on next opening day

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