Vauxhall reaches 120 – fascinating pictures show car maker over the years 0

The history of one of the UK’s oldest car makers has been documented by a series of fascinating photos featuring in a new book about the company.

The photographs form part of a new book about the company by Ian Coomber, who has worked at the firm for 38 years.

In the book: Vauxhall: Britain’s oldest car maker, pictures show the first car ever produced by Vauxhall back in 1903. Others show the vital role the company played in the UK’s war effort, with Winston Churchill inspecting a truck fresh off the assembly line and King George VI being shown the Churchill tank, the only British model that could withstand the 88mm tungsten carbide show of the German army’s Tiger tank.

Vauxhall was founded in 1897 as the Vauxhall Iron Works Company, initially created to manage a bankrupted engineering business.

Aside from its efforts helping Britain win the Second World War, Vauxhall was becoming well known for producing sports and luxury vehicles. In 1925 the company was purchased by the US titan, General Motors.

In the economic turmoil that followed WW2, declining sales and strikes led GM to make Vauxhall implement the products of its sister company Opel. The last all-British Vauxhall was the FE Series Victor in 1972.

2017 saw the French car giant the PSA Group (owner of Peugeot, Citroen and DS Automobiles) purchase both Vauxhall and Opel from GM.

Author of the book, Ian Coomber, says it’s remarkable that Vauxhall has lasted as long as it has.

‘Vauxhall Motors has been making cars in Britain for longer than anyone else,’ he says.

‘Today, there are over 3.5 million Vauxhalls on UK roads. Your chances of seeing one are better than one in ten, and the Vauxhall brand has become a household name

‘For a company to survive for more than eleven decades in the same business is a notable achievement, but to do so in the motor industry is remarkable.

‘The journey has required innovation and adaptability as social and economic backgrounds have changed and the market for cars and commercial vehicles has changed with them. It has competed with some of the toughest businesses in the world and survived.

‘It has helped fight two world wars and given employment to thousands. Its history is rich in terms of the products, the people, and the effect it has had on the local and national economy.

‘The journey from the Thames to today’s modern marketing and global manufacturing facilities is a bumpy one, so you had better fasten your seatbelts.

‘It features a Plantagenet mercenary, a Victorian steam engineer, bedroom furniture, an early automotive design genius, an American corporate giant, a German bicycle manufacturer, a giraffe, and thousands of ‘Vauxhall people’ who created and nurtured their Vauxhall. This book is dedicated to them.’

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