DRiV­iNG VAUX­HALL’S FiNNED HERO

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Of The Vauxhall Velox & Cresta Pa -

Just imag­ine the ex­tra­or­di­nary com­bi­na­tion of colour, chrome and sheer zest that was the PA hit­ting the smoke-black­ened cityscapes of in­dus­trial Bri­tain in 1957. To be hon­est, judg­ing by the 1959 Vaux­hall Velox we are about to pi­lot, the ef­fect of those low looks, cur­va­ceous roof lines, chrome (slightly less than the Cresta but still lots of it) and – of course – fan­tas­tic fins still have the same ef­fect.

Open the driver’s door – be­ing care­ful to pro­tect your knees from the pro­trud­ing wind­screen pil­lar – and then lower your­self into the squashy seat ahead of the low-set chrome-clad con­trols. At least we man­aged to find the ig­ni­tion switch.

Thank­fully ev­ery­thing else looks fairly log­i­cal in here. The steer­ing wheel, com­plete with lovely Vaux­hall badge, is enor­mous and all the gauges are neatly housed in two enor­mous bin­na­cles.

Turn the key and the straight-six en­gine is straight in there, bur­bling hap­pily. A glance through the rear win­dow (one-piece here, not the three- piece af­fair sported by ear­lier mod­els) shows off those lovely rear wing tips.

Re­lease the ‘um­brella’ un­der-dash hand­brake, ease the three-speed col­umn change into first gear and we’re off on a wave of low-speed torque. This is a lovely gearchange, and the ‘box is so flex­i­ble that you feel the car would op­er­ate purely in se­cond gear. But then you would be miss­ing out on the ex­cel­lent flex­i­bil­ity and top-gear cruis­ing.

There is a lot of power, but it’s well har­nessed, con­vey­ing a sense that it’s ex­tremely well en­gi­neered. The ride is ex­em­plary and the steer­ing light. The clutch is far from heavy and the brakes are good, though the front disc op­tion is de­sir­able. This Velox is on crossply tyres, and so com­mands re­spect on nar­row twisty roads. Take a sharp bend quickly and you’ll be greeted with plenty of un­der­steer and sig­nif­i­cant body roll. You soon re­alise the car’s lim­its, as we’ve said it’s a ques­tion of re­spect.

And no-one would deny this car such a thing.

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