I was raised on a diet of Blue Ovals. Henry was our favourite uncle and he treated us well, and even if the family has grown distant from him over time, we’re still very fond of the way he does things. In contrast, we never really warmed to The General. He seemed a little stand-offish, and we never really related to him. Only now am I starting to realise what a talented guy he was, and how much great work he did.
Back in the early ’70s Vauxhall were still allowed to talk and think for themselves. General Motors still ruled them with a rod of iron and fists of steel, but the Griffon emblem was still proudly affixed to vehicles which, by and large, were all largely developed by the clever chaps in Luton. The Vauxhall Victor you see before you visited the recent Classics at the Quay show, and is completely and utterly magnificent.
I’ve been searching for the best word to sum this car up, and I’m pretty sure that word is rakish.
Let’s look at a handful of the stand-out features, starting at the front with that quad-headlamp face. The grille is from the “sporty” VX 4/90 version of the Victor, with its aggressive cross-hairs in the centre. An outsider who has never been exposed to the Victor before could easily mistake that nose for something far more aristocratic, a Bristol, perhaps?
And this little duck-tail spoiler, in body colour, is something the likes of which I’ve never seen before on a longroof.
It’s even more awesome when viewed in conjunction with those horizontal blinds on the rear screen, a period accessory. And the awesomeness keeps on coming.
We’ve got authentic slot-mags; by Wolfrace I assume. And there’s a towbar. Lets hope that it’s used to pull a ’70 Glastron Carlson or something more exciting than the Sprite caravan that most of these big family haulers would typically tug.
But wait ’till you see what’s on the top:
Yes! Not one, not two, but three Britax pop-up sunroofs, which must have been custom additions to the car. I can’t imagine Vauxhall ever having the imagination to do such a thing, even if it could have made the Victor Estate into some home-grown UK rival to the Vista Cruiser.
Check out the coke-bottle on that! Proper, sculpted hips which you can run your hands along. Mmmm.
A quick investigation determines that this particular Victor, from the ’67-’72 FD series, is hauled along by the two-litre engine, developing an alright-at-the-time 88hp. A lowlier 1.6 version could be had, as could the bells ‘n whistles Ventora and 3300SL models powered by Vauxhall’s creamy, truck-like Six.
Although there were allegedly a few Ventoras fitted with the 5.4 Chevy V8 by Gordon Keeble, they of the world famous, er, Gordon Keeble coupe. The Black Prince, as the concept was named, it’s unconfirmed whether any survive.
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