Vauxhall’s Heritage Centre is a treasure trove of delights for anyone interested in the history of the marque. We met Senior Vehicle Restorer and team leader Andrew Boddy to find out more
Vauxhall has been continuously producing cars in the UK since 1903 and ever since the 1940s, there has been a collection of these vehicles showcased at the Vauxhall Heritage Centre in Luton. Some 70-plus cars are now on display here, in all their gleaming glory. Shiny as they may be, though, this is very much a working collection, with a team of three dedicated to their care and restoration.
The centre is open to the public once a year, usually in June, as part of the Luton Festival of Transport, which is being held on 12th June this year. Visitors can admire historical wonders such as the first Vauxhall car, the 5HP Single-Cylinder from 1903, and relive their own Vauxhall journey through classics such as the Viva, Cavalier, Chevette, Astra and Nova.
Andrew Boddy leads the vehicle restoration in the centre and he explains: “The main appeal for visitors is the diversity of the collection, which spans from 1903 through to 2006. Most people can relate to some of the cars in here and are pleasantly surprised by how big the collection is.
“I’ve been with Vauxhall Motors for 36 years and I really enjoy the restoration aspect of the job, and getting on with a project to restore a car. My favourite car in here at the moment is the iconic Lotus Carlton. It’s just incredible. I don’t think any manufacturers will produce a car along those lines again.
“The London to Brighton Run, usually in November, is something we’re quite proactive in – we take two cars along each year. It might be cold or wet or raining, but we run the 1903 Vauxhall 5HP and 1904 Vauxhall 6HP Single-Cylinder from Hyde Park down to Brighton.”