VAUXHALL HERITAGE – AN EDITOR’S VIEW
Danny Hopkins takes a look from the user’s end of the deal. Does Vauxhall Heritage make a difference?
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’