Vauxhall Velox

Vauxhall Velox PA Saloon 1958
Manufacturer Vauxhall Motors
Production 1948–1965
Predecessor Vauxhall Fourteen (J)
Successor Vauxhall Cresta PC
Class Executive car
Layout FR layout
Related Vauxhall Wyvern to 1957
Vauxhall Cresta from 1954

The Vauxhall Velox (L-Type) is a medium-sized six-cylinder saloon. By the time production ended, in 1965, it had evolved into a large family car, competing in the UK with the contemporary six-cylinder Ford Zephyr. It was introduced by Vauxhall shortly before the London Motor Show in October 1948[1] as a successor to the Vauxhall Fourteen. Between 1948 and 1957 the Velox shared its body with the less powerful four-cylinder-engined Vauxhall Wyvern. Between 1957 and 1965 it shared its body with the more luxuriously equipped Vauxhall Cresta.

The Velox and its Opel contemporaries are remembered for having mirrored North American styling trends much more closely than other European models of the time: this was particularly apparent following the introduction in 1957 of the confidently styled PA version of the Velox.

Velox LIP (1948 - 1951)[edit | edit source]

Vauxhall Velox LIP
Production 1948-1951
Assembly Luton, Bedfordshire, England
Biel, Switzerland
Petone, New Zealand
Body style(s) 4-door saloon
2-door tourer (Australia) [3]
Engine(s) 2275 cc I6 ohv
54 bhp (40 kW)
Wheelbase 97.75 in (2,483 mm) [4]
Length 164.5 in (4,178 mm)
Width 62 in (1,575 mm)[5]
Height 63 in (1,600 mm)[5]
Curb weight 2,268 lb (1,029 kg)
Related Vauxhall Wyvern

The classic four-door saloon boasted a newly developed straight-six-cylinder engine of 2275 cc, with overhead valves. The 54 bhp (40 kW) power output[5] provided for a claimed top speed of 74 mph (119 km/h). Power was delivered to the rear wheels via a three-speed manual gear box with synchromesh on the top two ratios.

Optional extras included a heater from which warm air was evenly distributed between the front and back areas of the passenger cabin and which could be set to de-ice the windscreen in winter or to provide cool air ventilation in summer. Also available at extra charge was an AM radio integrated into the facia.

The body was shared with the four-cylinder Vauxhall Wyvern, a pattern that continued with subsequent versions of the Velox until 1957. The interior of the Velox was not greatly differentiated from that of the Wyvern, but it could boast superior seating materials and, for the rear seat, a central arm rest.

Early Velox and Wyvern models were assembled at Vauxhall's Luton plant in England, at the General Motors plant at Biel in Switzerland and in Australia (by Holden in Melbourne) and New Zealand at the GM plant in Petone near Wellington.[6]

A car tested by The Motor magazine in 1949 had a top speed of 74.1 mph (119.3 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 22.8 seconds. A fuel consumption of 22.3 miles per imperial gallon (12.7 L/100 km/18.6 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £550 including taxes.[5]

Australian Vauxhall Velox Caleche L Series tourer

Velox EIP/EIPV (1951 - 1957)[edit | edit source]

Vauxhall Velox EIP
Vauxhall Velox EIPV
Production 1951-1957
235,296 made[7]
Assembly Luton, Bedfordshire, England
Petone, New Zealand
Body style(s) 4-door saloon [7]
estate car [7]
2-door tourer [8]
2-door coupe utility [8]
Engine(s) 2275 cc I6 ohv
55 bhp (41 kW)
2262 cc I6 ohv
64 bhp (48 kW)
2262 cc I6 ohv
67.5 bhp (50.3 kW)
Transmission(s) 3-speed manual
Wheelbase 103 in (2,616 mm) [4]
Length 172 in (4,369 mm) [9]
Width 67 in (1,702 mm) [9]
Height 63.5 in (1,613 mm) [9]
Curb weight 2,352 lb (1,067 kg) - 2,436 lb (1,105 kg)
Related Vauxhall Cresta EIPC
Vauxhall Wyvern EIX

In 1951 a longer, wider Velox was launched, designated as the EIP series,[7] and featuring a modern 'three box' shape and integral construction. The body was again shared with the 4-cylinder-engined Wyvern. The car was launched with the previous model's engine but with power output increased to 58 bhp (43 kW).[9] Wyvern and Velox models were also assembled at the General Motors New Zealand plant in Petone, north of Wellington.

A car with the original 2275 cc engine tested by The Motor magazine in 1951 had a top speed of 77.4 mph (124.6 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 23.7 seconds. A fuel consumption of 23.5 miles per imperial gallon (12.0 L/100 km/19.6 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £802 including taxes.[9] In the same year, the magazine tested the similarly sized Ford Zephyr Six. Ford's test car was fitted with options including a radio, a heater and leather seating: thus equipped the Zephyr came with a recommended retail price of £842.[10]

In April 1952 the Velox was redesignated as the EIPV series,[7] and received a new over-square 2262 cc engine which had been in the development pipeline for several years.[6] This provided either 64 bhp (48 kW) [11] or, with a compression ratio improved to 7.6:1, 68 bhp (51 kW) of power.

A further test in 1952 by The Motor magazine of the EIPV with the short stroke 2262 cc engine, found the top speed had increased to 80.4 mph (129.4 km/h) and accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) to 21.4 seconds. A similar fuel consumption of 23.6 miles per imperial gallon (12.0 L/100 km/19.7 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost had risen to £833 including taxes.[11]

1955 saw a significant facelift.[7] Most obvious of the many cosmetic changes was a new front grille. More important was the introduction at this time of a sister model, branded as the Vauxhall Cresta. In addition to superior equipment levels, the Cresta was distinguished by a two tone paint finish.

Detroit was by now favouring annual facelifts, and Vauxhall reflected that trend, announcing further facelifts in 1956 (wind-up windows, larger rear window, wider grille slats, replacement of trafficators with flashing lights) and 1957 (electric wipers, larger tail lights, new grille) in line with the Wyvern model.[7] Technically, however, there were no further changes until the arrival of a completely new Velox in October 1957.

Vauxhall Velox EIP or EIPV Saloon, pre 1955 facelift

Australian Vauxhall Velox EIPV Coupe Utility 1954

Australian Vauxhall Velox Vagabond EIP or EIPV Tourer

Vauxhall Velox EIPV Saloon 1956

Vauxhall Velox EIPV Saloon 1957

Velox PA S/PA SY (1957 - 1960)[edit | edit source]

Vauxhall Velox PA
Production 1957-1962
Assembly Luton, Bedfordshire, England
Petone, New Zealand
Body style(s) 4-door saloon
5-door estate car
Engine(s) 2262 cc I6 ohv
82.5 bhp (61.5 kW)
2651 cc I6 ohv
94.6 bhp (70.5 kW)
Wheelbase 105 in (2,667 mm) [4]
Length 177.5 in (4,509 mm)
Width 68.5 in (1,740 mm)
Curb weight 2,520 lb (1,143 kg) - 2,576 lb (1,168 kg)
Related Vauxhall Cresta PA

At the 1957 London Motor Show Vauxhall presented radically new Velox and Cresta models: these would come to be known as the PA versions, being the first of the P series. Particularly eye catching was the new wrap-around windscreen, which combined with a huge three part rear window to create an exceptionally airy passenger cabin, providing exceptional all round visibility. The back of the Velox was graced by tail fins, a Detroit inspired trend already taken up by the car's Ford rival, and which would in the next two years be followed also by such European competitors as Fiat, BMC and Peugeot. On the inside the new Velox also followed US practice, combining a front bench seat with a column-mounted gear change / shift, continuing a trend back to the first Velox of 1948. Velox models were also assembled at the General Motors New Zealand plant in Petone, north of Wellington with the Wyvern replaced by the new Victor model line which was also built in the country. Special versions of the Velox were built for local traffic police.

Minor modifications to the car's six-cylinder engine raised power output to 83 bhp (61 kW). As before, the Cresta was distinguished from the Velox model by superior levels of equipment and a two tone paint finish.

The Velox PA received its first facelift in October 1959 when the front grill was enlarged and the three piece rear window was replaced by a single wrap-around window. Technical improvements had to await the 1960 facelift, however.

Vauxhall Velox estate / wagon 1959

Velox PA SX (1960 - 1962)[edit | edit source]

The October 1960 facelift for 1961 was marked by further modifications to the trim, new rear lights with modified tail fins (no longer with indicators built in), combined front park/indicator lamps and a new dashboard with the two round dials replaced by a rectangular cluster with 'magic ribbon' speedo - the strip indicating speed changed from green to amber at 30 mph and to red at 60 mph. There was also a new engine, still of six cylinders, but now increased in capacity to 2651 cc, and delivering 95 bhp (71 kW). The UK had recently embarked on its first programme of motorway building, and the Velox now boasted a straight line maximum speed of 94 mph (151 km/h). Velox models were also assembled at the General Motors New Zealand plant in Petone with special versions again built for local traffic police.

PA five-door estate models, completed by an independent coachbuilder, Martn Walter, were also available.

In their 1961-62 forms, the Velox and its Cresta sibling continued without further significant changes until replaced in Autumn 1962. For 1962, the painted dashboard gave way to simulated wood, the ashtray was moved from an in-dash drawer to the dashtop, wipers were lengthened to overlap slightly, a horn ring was added to the steering wheel and there were minor instrument cluster changes to increase the size of warning lights.

Velox PB (1962 - 1965)[edit | edit source]

Vauxhall Velox PB
Production 1962-1965
Assembly Luton, Bedfordshire, England
Petone, New Zealand
Australia [12]
Body style(s) 4-door saloon
5-door estate car
Engine(s) 2651 cc I6 ohv
94.6 bhp (70.5 kW)
3293 cc I6 ohv
115 bhp (86 kW)
Wheelbase 107.5 in (2,731 mm) [4]
Length 181.75 in (4,616 mm)
Width 70.25 in (1,784 mm)
Curb weight 2,632 lb (1,194 kg)
Related Vauxhall Cresta PB

The final version of the Velox, launched along with the Cresta PB at the London Motor Show in October 1962, was well over four and a half meters long: it was the largest Velox ever built, longer and wider than the benchmark Ford Zephyr with which it competed in the UK. The new car was considered stylistically more restrained than its flamboyant predecessor, the removal of vertical fins emphasizing the car's width. Power output was increased to 115 bhp (86 kW). Two years after launch, the Velox PB became available with a more powerful 3294 cc engine for its third and final year: this made it one of the fastest European saloons of its day. The 2.6 was retained for some export markets.

The 1965 update also brought a new grille, new tail lights incorporating optional reversing lights, twin rear exhaust pipes, 120 mph speedometer (was 110), new interior trim and, towards the end of the run, a switch from three-speed Hydramatic (PNDLR selector) to two-speed Powerglide (PRNDL). PB Velox models were again assembled at the General Motors New Zealand plant in Petone and special versions were again built for local traffic police. The 3.3 was particularly popular with these government customers.

October 1965 saw the introduction of the Vauxhall Cresta PC, equipped with that same 3294 cc engine. This time no Velox version was offered. Rather, the Cresta itself became the base model, with two headlights, complemented by the more luxurious Cresta Deluxe, with four headlights, and the vinyl roof Vauxhall Viscount with more luxurious trim and power windows.

Vauxhall Velox in popular culture[edit | edit source]

The car that Anthony Hopkins drove in the movie The World's Fastest Indian was a 1954 Velox. These were imported into New Zealand in large numbers up until the late 1960s, when Holden Belmont and Holden Torana cars started being imported from Australia.

In first series of Only Fools and Horses, episode 3 'Cash and Curry', Del Boy boasts of owning a Vauxhall Velox, with Rodney being forced to act as his driver. He sells the car in order to raise £2,000 to pay off a debt to an Indian businessman.

Preservation[edit | edit source]

A number of examples are surving in preservation;

  • add details

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Vauxhall Velox Saloon (road test)", Autocar. September 9, 1949. 
  2. Norm Darwin, 100 Years of GM in Australia, 2002, page 133
  3. Norm Darwin, The History of Holden since 1917, page 88
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "The Vauxhall Velox Road Test", The Motor. 1949. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gloor, Roger (1. Auflage 2007). Alle Autos der 50er Jahre 1945 - 1960. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-613-02808-1. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Sedgwick, Michael (1993). A-Z of Cars 1945-1970. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-39-7. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Norm Darwin, 100 Years of GM in Australia, 2002, pages 134-135
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 "The Vauxhall Velox Saloon", The Motor. October 3, 1951. 
  10. "The Ford Zephyr Six Saloon", The Motor. October 3, 1951. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "The Vauxhall Velox Model E", The Motor. June 11, 1952. 
  12. The Chevy II Race on Sales and Track, Retrieved on 22 November 2012
Deutsch: Vauxhall Velox

External links[edit | edit source]

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