Vauxhall: a history of excellence

Since the dawn of the 20th century, United Kingdom-based Vauxhall Motors has distinguished itself from other automobile manufacturers by its unique and fantastic talent for innovation. Today, more than 100 years on, Vauxhall remains one of the top-selling automotive brands in Britain.


Vauxhall Motors was founded in 1857 by Alexander Wilson, a Scottish marine engineer. Back then, Vauxhall parts were more likely to be found in factories and motor-driven ships than land-based vehicles.

In 1903, however, the then-named ‘Vauxhall Iron Works’ produced its first automobile: a single-cylinder model boasting five horsepower and steered with a tiller. Fortune struck the company in 1907, when the burden of designing a state-of-the-art racing engine fell upon the unlikely shoulders of Laurence Pomeroy, a 22-year-old assistant draughtsman filling in for the chief designer who was away on vacation. The racing cars crafted from Pomeroy’s designs were overwhelmingly successful, and catapulted Vauxhall Motors into the forefront of racing and luxury automotive production for the first quarter of the 20th century.

Changing with the times

During World War II, Vauxhall parts were found in thousands of tanks and hundreds of thousands of supply trucks assisting in the war effort. Following the cessation of hostilities, the world found itself a sea of shifting public opinion and values. Many consumers now favoured practicality over panache, and the luxuriant tendencies of the early 1900s took a back seat to reliability and affordability. Sensing that change was imminent, Vauxhall Motors sprang into action, releasing a line of smaller passenger cars that would appeal to up-and-coming families. The change brought Vauxhall great financial success, driving a massive expansion in the company’s automobile production in the UK, and solidifying its position as one of the top vehicle manufacturers in Great Britain throughout the remainder of the 20th century and on into the 21st.

A tradition of ingenuity

Since the company’s shift in focus following the war, Vauxhall has continued to innovate – its designs boasting several ‘firsts’ and ‘bests’ in the industry while maintaining the company’s historic dedication to automotive quality. In 1975, Vauxhall released the Chevette, a popular 3-door hatchback design that was the first of its kind to be built in the UK. The 1980s saw the unveiling of the Mk2 Cavalier, Britain’s best-selling family car during much of its production; while in 1986, Vauxhall returned to its roots with the Carlton, European Car of the Year and the fastest 4-door automobile in production at the time with a maximum speed of 175 miles per hour.

An eye on the horizon

Today, Vauxhall Motors continues its legacy of quality and originality, having remained one of the United Kingdom’s highest-selling car brands for the last two decades. A company in a constant state of evolution, Vauxhall continues its production of family automobiles, bringing affordable luxury to Britain’s family motorists, but also reaches all the way back to its origins with a modern line of swift coupés and lightning-fast sports cars that combine the company’s love of speed with modern fuel-efficient and electric-vehicle technology.


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