The Victor – and the FD’s 50th anniversary – played a big part in Britain’s biggest celebration of classic Vauxhalls
Even the organisers of this historic gathering marking the half century of a rare Vauxhall never believed that they would manage to get 50 examples together – and they didn’t. In fact an amazing 58 FD models managed to make it to the Vauxhall Bedford Opel Association Rally at its new venue, Market Harborough Showground, though not all were there on each day or on the same part of the show ground.
One came from Switzerland, another from Vauxhall’s own heritage collection and further cars arrived on trailers. But at least they got there – much to the delight of the organisers.
The record-breaking FD gathering was a joint effort between the Vauxhall FD Register and the Vauxhall VX4/90 Drivers’ Club, which also won the award for best show stand.
The FD Victor, Ventora and VX4/90 range were all represented, with the line-up including rare estates.
Now Vauxhall Viva clubs are uniting in a bid to get 50 GTs present at next year’s event, though they’re so rare that the organisers’ spokesman, Guy Turner, did admit that it ‘could be a pipe dream.’ They might go for a more manageable 30 instead.
Just about every Vauxhall and Opel imaginable attended the event, from colourful and chromeladen Crestas and F-type Victors – not least a customised example with Audi quattro running gear – to sleek Astra MkIIs and some beautifully preserved Calibras, including show-winner Steven Armstrong’s two-litre turbo 4x4.
Wayne Parkhouse’s sleek black 1957 F-series was voted best Victor. It had been stored in a garage for over 25 years after a minor accident put the owner off from driving. The car has since been rebuilt over a seven-year period.
The Droop Snoot Group’s stand included a fine selection of HP Firenzas, including an example driven to victory at Thruxton in 1974 by Barrie ‘ Whizzo’ Williams.
Some 3500 cars and commercials are said to have attended the VBOA rally, with even the ice-cream vans being appropriate Bedfords.
Vauxhall supported the event by bringing its Victors – including the 1961 F-type tested by CCW in this week’s issue – along from its 70-strong Heritage collection. A total of 58 FD-series cars headed to Market Harborough for the model’s 50th anniversary, beating the target set by members of the FD Register earlier this year.
Reugger Martin brought his FD Victor, which he’s owned for 34 years, from Switzerland for the event. ‘I felt it just had to be here’ he said.
This rare FD Ventora 2 was saved by four members of the FD Register – known as Team C.R.A.P as their names are Chris, Rob, Andrew and Peter!
FD Register chairman Chris Parsons bought his 1970 Vauxhall VX4/90 – compete with blown engine – in 1999 and had since restored it.
Wayne Parkhouse’s immaculate 1957 F-type was voted best Victor. It slumbered in a garage from 1973-2000 following a minor accident.