Vauxhall, named after the London district where the first factory was located, started in 1857 as manufacturer of pumps and marine engines. In 1903 the first car was produced, with a five hp single-cylinder engine, fitted underneath the rear seat. Although the brand was successful, especially at the tracks, management decided to sell the company to General Motors (GM) in 1925. Bedford, the truck manufacturer, was founded in 1930 as a subsidiary of Vauxhall.
During World War II, the 12 000 employees of the Vauxhall factories in Luton committed themselves to the production of Churchill tanks. At the end of the war, the company had produced 6 000 tanks and Bedford a whopping 250 000 trucks for the army.
Before the war Vauxhall produced luxury cars, afterwards the company focused on a broader market with more affordable cars. These cars were largely identical to the German Opels (also a GM subsidiary). The 1963 Vauxhall Viva for example, was identical to the Opel Kadett. Since the 1980’s, Vauxhalls are only sold in the UK.
The Vauxhall Velox, a classic rear-wheel driven sedan of the upper middle class, was built from 1948 to 1965 in several variants. The Opel equivalent of the Velox was the Kapitän.
The Velox LIP (1948-1951) was equipped with a six-cylinder 2275 cc engine that produced 54 hp. The top speed was around 74 mph (120 km / h). The Velox had a three speed transmission with synchromesh on the top two ratios. Available luxury options were a heating/cooling system and AM radio. When in 1951, the LIP was succeeded by the EIP, nearly 77 000 cars had been sold.
1949 Vauxhall Velox LIP.
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