MYTH BUSTER

De­bunk­ing the most com­mon old wives’ tales

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

Vaux­hall’s ex­ec­u­tive chal­lenger to the Ford Granada is, by com­par­i­son, a barely re­mem­bered model. Launched in the au­tumn of 1978, as Vaux­hall’s de­sign in­de­pen­dence was be­ing wound down, it’s usu­ally as­sumed to be noth­ing more than a re-badged Opel Rekord im­ported from Ger­many.

1 AS A JAG RI­VAL IT WAS A NON-STARTER

Vaux­hall boss Bob Price had orig­i­nally in­tended to pro­duce a range-top­ping car that would tempt Jaguar driv­ers, with schemes that ranged from a right­hand drive Cadil­lac Seville to a li­mou­sine based on the age­ing FE Vic­tor and de­signed by Pan­ther. Costs soon put paid to such grand schemes from Lu­ton.

2 SIM­PLY A REBADGED OPEL REKORD

Bob Price was still al­lowed, how­ever, to take the Opel Rekord and give it quite a lot of uniquely Bri­tish Vaux­hall char­ac­ter. The de­sign depart­ment, headed by Wayne Cherry, gave the car a ‘droop-snoot’ nose, a dis­tinc­tive rear end and also cre­ated a unique dash­board while re-us­ing Opel in­stru­ments. There was one en­gine choice (a 2.0-litre), one trim level, and saloon or estate body­work only.

3 STRAIGHT IM­PORT FROM IN GER­MANY

The MkI cer­tainly was a Bri­tish­built car at first, com­ing off the line at Lu­ton along­side the Cava­lier. Yet from late 1979, cars also started to be sourced from An­twerp, Bel­gium. It was never a mas­sive seller, partly be­cause the heavy steer­ing had no power op­tion, the in­te­rior was drab, and the ho­tel-like name was odd. The fi­nal Carl­ton was built at Lu­ton in July 1982, and hence­forth all cars re­ally were to­tal Opel clones.

Shovel-nose style was penned in UK.

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