Motor manufacturer’s heritage collection is on the move

Dec 13, 2020

The Prince Henry model is the oldest in the Vauxhall Heritage Collection.

ITS FAMOUS Heritage Collection and Archive are set to move from Vauxhall’s Griffin House site in Luton as plans develop to create a new Heritage Centre.

The imminent sale of the manufacturer’s former Luton site means that the collection will find an interim home at Vauxhall’s car factory at Ellesmere Port. A converted 8,000 sq-metre building has been set aside for the 60-strong collection, which represents every decade of Vauxhall’s 117-year history.

Vauxhall’s Heritage Centre also houses an extensive archive, going back to the late 19th century, when the Vauxhall Iron Works – as the company was then known – was formed, before starting motor car production in 1903. Like the collection, the archive will move temporarily to Vauxhall’s historic Toddington Warehouse, on the outskirts of Luton.

Andrew Duerden, Vauxhall’s archivist, said the move would bring more order to the enormous collection of images, records and ephemera gathered over the years. “Our upcoming move has given me the opportunity to reorganise the archive and prioritise the elements which add depth, colour and interest to our extensive history,” he said.

“Digitisation of our image library is ongoing and provides a valuable asset to media in search of historical context to Vauxhall stories. We also have many unseen design studies from the 1960s and 1970s that, quite frankly, take your breath away.”

The Cavalier Mk1 is also part of the collection.

Mr Duerden will also assume responsibility for Vauxhall’s Dating Certificate service, which provides build verification for owners of classic Vauxhalls.

Around 20 vehicles in the Collection will still reside away from Ellesmere Port. Currently 13 Vauxhalls are on display at Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton as part of the Vauxhall – Made in Luton exhibition, which runs until the end of March 2021. A joint venture between Vauxhall and The Culture Trust Luton, the exhibits include the world’s oldest Prince Henry sports car, the rakish 1966 XVR concept car and a beautifully restored 1970 Viva GT.

Plans for the Heritage Collection’s future permanent home are under way. “Vauxhall is fully committed to preserving its Heritage Collection and Archive,” said the collection’s curator Simon Hucknall, Vauxhall’s head of PR.

“While the move from Griffin House to Ellesmere will mean a temporary halt to the Collection’s working status, our partners at The Culture Trust Luton and Manor Park Classics have generously supported future exposure of a third of our vehicles.

“We are currently developing plans for a new, purpose-built base for the collection, which will allow it to be public-facing, while also bringing back its working status. This is by no means the work of a minute but we hope to be able to share more details about a new Vauxhall Heritage Centre early next year.’

For details of The Culture Trust Luton’s Vauxhall – Made in Luton exhibition, visit https://www.culturetrust.com/vauxhall. The exhibition is due to reopen this month.

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