Danny Hop­kins takes a look from the user’s end of the deal. Does Vauxhall Her­itage make a dif­fer­ence?

Practical Classics (UK) - - CLASSICS AT WORK -

I have worked closely with Vauxhall Her­itage for over 20 years and used the fleet ex­ten­sively on dozens of projects and fea­tures. Hav­ing a col­lec­tion such as the one housed in Lu­ton, par­tic­u­larly one that tells a sin­gle man­u­fac­tur­ers’ story from the com­pany’s be­gin­nings to the very lat­est prod­ucts, is more than just a nice bonus for an edi­tor wish­ing to plan a mag­a­zine, it di­rectly in­flu­ences the sto­ries I choose to tell, and how I tell them.

I al­ways know that a well-pre­sented, road­wor­thy Vauxhall will be ready for use in any com­par­i­son test, or that a ‘pe­riod-cor­rect’ car will be avail­able for a slice of nostal­gia. This trans­lates di­rectly to col­umn inches. Vauxhall punches above its weight be­cause the col­lec­tion is so well cu­rated and pro­moted by a bril­liant and dedicated team.

I have also, thanks to the clever use of the col­lec­tion, been wit­ness to the way that the it in­spires and in­trigues mod­ern jour­nal­ists on launches and jun­kets. The leg­endary ‘Grif­fin Greats’ tour through the Alps to the Geneva Mo­tor Show at­tracts big names and well-known writ­ers to sam­ple Vaux­halls new, old and ‘about to be launched’ – up­stag­ing other man­u­fac­tur­ers be­fore the gates of the ex­hi­bi­tion halls have even opened. Watch­ing the face of emi­nent writ­ers as they sam­ple the world’s first sportscar (the 1911 Prince Henry) on the Route Napoléon con­firmed in my mind the role Her­itage has to play… it re­minds mod­ern jour­nal­ists where their ‘in­ner petrol head’ re­sides. It in­tox­i­cates, and that has to rub off on the brand in the eyes of the con­tem­po­rary scribes who have to re­flect it.

I have been able to take Vauxhall into places that would oth­er­wise not be open to it. I drove a va­ri­ety of clas­sic Vaux­halls at the Good­wood Revival, the cars pro­vid­ing ho­tel taxi ser­vices for rac­ers and com­men­ta­tors. Jochen Mass loved the FC Vic­tor and Murray Walker re­galed me with sto­ries of Gerry Mar­shall and Dealer Team Vauxhall. Vauxhall on the lips of gi­ants, thanks to the Her­itage Col­lec­tion.

Just re­cently I bor­rowed the Her­itage Royale to at­tend a clas­sic car meet­ing in the heart of the Palace of West­min­ster, with the All Party Par­lia­men­tary His­toric ve­hi­cles group. It sat well among the Bris­tols, As­tons and Alvises. It be­came a talk­ing point as min­is­ters and even PM Theresa May came to have a look round… her­itage tak­ing the Vauxhall brand to the heart of govern­ment.

It would not hap­pen with­out her­itage and, es­sen­tially, a dy­namic work­ing her­itage kept ac­tive and en­gaged. Hats off to Vauxhall for keep­ing the Grif­fin great: here’s to an even more dy­namic fu­ture un­der PSA.

‘Her­itage cars can re­lease the in­ner petrol­head’

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