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Chevy Wannabe: Vauxhall Victor F-Series

Vauxhall Motors was founded in 1857 to make industrial motors. Headquartered in Bedfordshire, England, the company heeded the siren song of the developing automobile market some fifty years later, leaping into the luxury car niche. This handsome phaeton was made near the end of 1904. By 1925, an ambitious General Motors had purchased Vauxhall, folding it into its European operations. Its most famous designer was David Jones – an apprentice under Harley Earl at GM. Jones headed styling at Vauxhall from 1937 through 1971 – a remarkably long career at a single firm in the auto industry. The influence of parent GM was ever-present, so in 1957, when the new F-series “Victor” sedan was launched, it was compared to a baby Chevy Bel Air. The Victor was reviled in Britain for its gaudy chrome and column-shift manual, but it sold well overseas, especially in Canada. In the US, Pontiac dealers handled sales. Here on facebook Marketplace is an early FA Vauxhall Victor with an asking price of $5000. The buyer must extract the car from a crowded storage facility in Youngstown, Ohio. Ted sent us this tip – thanks, Ted!

The seller calls this a ’59, but by then, the car’s face had lost its twin chrome streaks on the bonnet front and the corrosion-inducing exhaust pipes exiting through the rear bumper. So our subject car is likely a ’57 or ’58. Propelled by a 50 hp in-line four-cylinder displacing 1507 cc’s, the car could cruise at 60 mph comfortably but it took about 28 seconds to get there! That column-shift three-speed had synchromesh on all gears. As we often hear, the car ran fine when it was parked years ago; no word on its current condition.

By the 1950s, Vauxhall had migrated away from producing luxury cars, instead residing firmly in the mid-market segment. The interior perfectly reflects its new niche, with a bench seat, chrome trim accents, and the very American ’50s style two-tone upholstery scheme. The steering wheel is cracked in several places …

… And so long as we’re scanning the car for issues, parts of the exterior chrome trim look as if they’ve been munched by some large animal.  The glass appears intact, but it’s difficult to tell given that the car wasn’t moved an inch in respect of its photo shoot. The seller may need to discount his price to ensure a new garage for this one, even if the car runs and drives. Perhaps the market prefers the funkiness of the chromed-bedecked early series, but this very low mileage, running and driving later “Super” accompanied by its tool kit and literature sold for just $7600. What do you think this one is worth?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo stillrunners Member

    Funny…..this was one of the cars I bought – a coupe – out of an collector of them passed and I never went back for. Buried in the deep woods of East Texas along with his other stuff – some old Army stuff including what was left of a Half Track.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Rick

      The Vauxhall Victor was offered in 4-door and wagon form, but never a coupe. Maybe you’re thinking of an Opel Rekord, which was offered here in the States in 2-door and wagon body styles.

      Like 6
      • Avatar photo stillrunners Member

        You must be correct – are they made by the same folks ? This old guy had a few in different shapes – although I kinda wanted to get it – I did feel bad for his wife – the son-in-law was doing his best to clear the property so she could sell it and move.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Rick

        Opel and Vauxhall had both been owned by GM for quite some time when the Rekord and the Victor appeared, but the two cars could be as different as night and day: 6 volt vs 12 volt, negative ground vs positive ground, Bosch electricals vs Lucas/Delco electricals.

        They were very different animals.

        Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Cam W.

    My mother had one of these in light blue in the early 60s. Although I was only 4 or 5 years old, I still remember it…..
    Being a typical British car, it was prone to FTP (Fail to Proceed). On one memorable occasion, it stalled on a very busy expressway in the city. I didn’t realize the danger, but Mom was terrified.
    On another occasion, my Mom had my toddler-sister and I with her in the car. A few blocks away from our home, Mom realized she forgot something, and immediately returned. Our house was on a dead-end street across from a deep ravine. Mom pulled into the driveway, which was on a slight incline, and hopped out, leaving my sister and I…..”just for a minute”. In her haste, Mom forgot to set the parking-brake on the manual transmission car. She emerged from the house to witness the Vauxhall beginning to roll backwards toward the ravine. She began screaming, I felt the car moving,…..So I bailed…..leaving my sister in the car, heading for certain death, judging by Mom’s screams. Mom was sprinting toward the car as it gradually picked up speed, but she couldn’t stop it in time. It banged into the yellow guide-rail and stopped. My sister still talks about the time I tried to get rid of her. The jinxed Vauxhall was soon replaced by a Pontiac station wagon.

    Like 10
    • Avatar photo Jon Calderon

      Scary stories!

      Like 2
  3. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    I went to a car show north of London a couple of years ago. Curiously, the Brits pronounce Vauxhall like “VOX-hall”.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Martin Horrocks

      Sorry, Rex. The “H” is silent so Brits pronounce it VOX-all. Same as the Borough of London where the original company was founded.

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

        I stand corrected. By why not “Veau-hall”?

        Like 0
    • Avatar photo Solosolo UK

      How do Americans pronounce it Rex

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

        Well, I’m not sure, Solo. I was thinking it would sound like the word “faux”, which the Oxford Dictionary pronounces as “fO”, as in faux pas, which I’ve apparently made.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Timothy Vose

        Rocks

        Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Will Fox

    Whether in UK or here, `57-`59 Vauxhalls are basically non-existent today. I vaguely recall seeing a yellow one here way back in about `65, but nothing since. I was pretty little then. I always thought these picked up styling cues from the American Buicks, rather than Chevys. That front bumper reminds me of the `57’s.

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Kim

    My mother drove one of these. It looked like a 56 Chevy shrunken. Dad bought it with a spun bearing and rebuilt it. With a three on the tree transmission mom drove that car daily for many years. It often was the only thing that would start on our bitter cold Eastern Idaho winters. It’s long useful life ended in a minor collision and body replacement parts couldn’t practically be found.

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Mickytee

    Im looking for a wagon and will pay top dollar. We had this sedan when new. They were great little cars. If pontiac parts and service had took them serious they woukd have been a big hit.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Martin Horrocks

    My dad had one as his first new car in 1957. At the second attempt because the first car into the dealership was primrose yellow and that wasn´t going to sit well in his office car park. Our car was black and (already rusty) exchanged for an Austin Cambridge 3 years later

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Rick

    This particular car is a 1958. The 1959, 1960 and 1961 didn’t have the rounded bumper pods or the hood strips. And, the 1962 model was an entirely redesigned matter.

    I owned a 1960 wagon in 1970 and 1971. It provided unforgettable lessons in automotive diagnosis and repair. Yet, I still wish I still owned that car today.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Mickytee

    The carb wore out on mine and was beyond regulated ldinf so i made an adaoter fir a 0ne barrel holley. Doubled the horse power. My dadcwanted to rebuild the naster cylinder and when you told people what you were working on they woukd not even look up tge part. Dad took the washers and spring into an honest to goidness parts store and said give me one of these. Guy said , you working on a 53 chevy. Dad said yep . and they brought out avkit. The spring was tad short so we stretched it. . good car, better memories. Thanks

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Clint Price

      I put a carb from a early 1960’s Vauxhall onto my 1959 Nash Metro. It did not produce an increase in power.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo TC Australia

        A friend of mine here in Australia has just finished putting a 3.8 GM supercharged V6 into a 1948 Vauxhall Calesh 2 door soft top, from all accounts it looks like an old Vauxhall until you open the hood or he stands on the ‘go fast pedal’, then look out, he also used a Mazda 929 independent rear end and it matches perfectly with the V6 GM motor.

        Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Bill W

    I never saw a Vauxhall until I lived in the UK. But as a kid in Ethiopia and Germany, I saw plenty of Opels that looked like that. I finally caught on that Opel and Vauxhall made pretty much the same vehicles. Oddly, Taunus (Ford Germany) and Ford UK had different models. I saw models of both in Ethiopia but only the Taunus in Germany. I rode in many of the late 50s models of both. A neighbor of my son’s in Manchester UK collects Zodiacs and Fords, it’s always interesting to see what he has found when I go over.

    Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Bob P.

    In High School I had a 1957 Black Vauxhall Station wagon. Great little car. At 90,00 miles it had had the valves replaced twice. It burned a quart of oil for every gallon of gas. My parents sold it in 1967 when I went to college.

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Ralph

    Most European family cars had column shifted manuals, Mercedes had them into the 1970’s…..

    Like 0

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