VIC­TORY LAP

The Vic­tor – and the FD’s 50th an­niver­sary – played a big part in Bri­tain’s big­gest cel­e­bra­tion of clas­sic Vaux­halls

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Classic Anniversaries - Nick Larkin

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!

Wayne Park­house’s im­mac­u­late 1957 F-type was voted best Vic­tor. It slum­bered in a garage from 1973-2000 fol­low­ing a mi­nor ac­ci­dent.

FD Reg­is­ter chair­man Chris Par­sons bought his 1970 Vaux­hall VX4/90 – com­pete with blown engine – in 1999 and had since re­stored it.

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