1. A Vauxhall F-Type Victor Series 2 De Luxe (198 HMB).
Firstly, a pair of David's photographs showing the 1959 Vauxhall F-Type Victor he once owned, reg. 198 HMB, shown before and after an unfortunate crash with an Italian ice cream van.
David adds: "I hit an Italian ice cream van on the Sidcup bypass in 1963 in my first car, and left about 1cwt (45kgs) of rust on the road. I knew
he was Italian because he waved his arms about a lot and was driving on the wrong side of the road. It was a dual carriageway btw. I drove it the 200
miles home. It was a 1959 Vauxhall Victor FD. It was the De Luxe version (!) which meant it had two front seats instead of a bench, and a
chrome fronted valve radio. Oh, and it had a De Luxe badge on the sides! I loved it, but then I loved American cars. My father had had the MK I in
Gypsy Red some years earlier."
Thanks for the photos David. The photo showing the Victor in the breaker's yard is interesting, note the cars parked alongside - a mangled A35 van (with windows), a Minor saloon, and a Minor-based van for company.
2. A Vauxhall Victor receiving a good wash down.
Next, a photo sent in by Howard. It shows his late brother washing a car that Howard hadn't been able to identify thus far. Despite very little in the way of badging visible, the rear lights and the wraparound front screen quickly gave up the car's identity as an F-Type Vauxhall Victor. Thanks to Howard for allowing me to show the photo on this page. The registration number VVN 605 suggests that the car was registered in the county of Yorkshire, some time after January 1960 which is when the VVN series was first issued. Just visible in the distance is another old car - an A35 perhaps?
3. A Vauxhall with two other British classics.
Photograph no.3 in this set of Vauxhall pictures features a Victor F-Type parked at the seaside. Judging by the fabric hanging out from the driver's door aperture, someone ripped their clothes when exiting the car. The couple seen leaving their classic Rover to take the dog for a walk don't seem to have noticed though. A little further away, a Mk1 Ford Consul can be seen, joining in with the Vauxhall and the Rover, basking in the sun.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
4. An early F-Type Victor Series 1.
This holiday snap highlights some of the details to be found on the very early F-Type Victors, known as the Series 1. The exhaust "portholes" in the rear bumper corners can clearly be seen in this shot, as can the Chevrolet-inspired diagonal strake incorporated within the rear door skin pressing, a detail dropped on later Victors.
5. A Series 1 Victor in England and New Zealand.
The following five photos of a bright red F-Type Victor Series 1 were emailed over by Charles in New Zealand. His father bought the car in England, then shipped it to NZ where it continued to serve the family well, as Charles recalls:
This was bought in June 1958 in Middlesbrough, second hand, but with only
800 miles on the clock. It did a fair amount of touring before leaving the
UK (my father was keen on camping) and two of the photos show the car with
a contemporary caravan (considering there were five people plus the caravan
I reckon the 1500cc engine worked fairly hard). When we emigrated to NZ in
1961, the car followed in a different ship, so we ended up waiting in the
Wellington railway station for two days till it arrived!
It was replaced by a 1967 Cresta (not the locally assembled version, but an
imported DeLuxe version), and stayed in the family till 1974. At this time
I was the driver, but sold it for (from memory) $900 when I took over the
family Cresta (which is still sitting in my garage, though it hasn't run
for quite some time).
The Victor has now disappeared from the NZ database of registered cars, so
I'm guessing it is long gone. It was still in good condition when I sold it
and must have been one of the very few examples with no rust! I don't
remember any major mechanical repairs, except for rebuilding of the front
suspension, which wasn't bad considering it had around 150,000 miles on it
when it was sold.
The three Vauxhalls photo shows the Victor along with the Cresta and a
locally assembled HC Viva (my father liked Vauxhalls).
First of Charles' photos sees the F-Type Victor parked in an English street, looking immaculate. Note the fabulous old street lamp just behind the car.
Photograph number two in this set captures the Victor, with the family's caravan attached to it with the corner steadies lowered, at rest in 1959. Preparations made to the Victor include the fitting of a large roof rack, and a large towing mirror to the offside.
The first of Charles' colour photos again features the car with its caravan, at rest in a camping field. An AA badge (plus one other) can be
seen on the Victor's radiator grille, while the ingenious towing mirror - incorporating a radio aerial? - is also evident. Can anyone identify the caravan - Sprite perhaps?
A jump of continents now for this next colour photograph, with the Victor residing in New Zealand with Charles' family. The HC Viva and later PC Cresta are also shown. The Series 1 Victor's distinctive exhaust pipe arrangement, exiting the rear bumper, can be seen in this shot.
Last in this series of photos, a b/w shot of the Vauxhall in 1962 during a picnic at the seaside. Thanks to Charles for allowing me to share his photos here.
6. 1959 Victor De-Luxe Series 1.
Keith scanned a whole raft of old family photographs, all with a motoring theme to them. Included are quite a few of cars that belonged to his parents, and the following two-tone Vauxhall Victor De-Luxe is just such an example. In the first, a young Keith is shown stood with his dad (Ken) and the green Victor, reg. 187 KHA (registered in 1959). The glistening Vauxhall was nearly new at the time, and was in fantastic condition. Presumably the spots of oil
that can be seen on the road surface, are as a result of older vehicles once parking in that location.
The second of the F-Type photos, shows the car while stowed away on the Isle of Wight ferry. A Ford 100E Prefect is parked in front of the Vauxhall,
while behind is a well-laden Morris Minor. As for the car just visible alongside the 100E - perhaps a Phase 2 Vanguard?
7. A Series 1 Victor F-Type in Utrecht.
Leo sent me a fine selection of photos that he took on a cycling trip around Utrecht, back in 1958. In with them, was this great snapshot, of an early F-Type Victor parked up, close to a car from the country (USA) that Vauxhall's designers took so many styling clues from when penning the Victor, in this case a circa 1955 Buick Super. The influences of mid-1950s American car styling on Luton's finest are clear to see. Parked over on the further side of the parking area are examples of Renault Dauphine, and a Citroen Traction Avant (Light 15). I wonder where the letter "K" from the Buick's bonnet had disappeared to!? Great photo, thanks for sending it over.
8. A Victor stops for fuel at a National garage in Selsey.
Thanks to Ricky for this super old colour photo, which popped up on Facebook. It shows a mono-tone Victor stopped for fuel at Chambers Garage in Selsey. The garage belonged to Ricky's mother and father. The establishment was both AA and RAC approved, and a mouthwatering selection of old petrol pumps are visible, topped off by glass globes advertising "SUPER" and "POWER" fuels, in addition to regular "NATIONAL" (Benzole), and off to the right, "POWER DIESEL". The 1959 RAC Handbook advises the 50's motorist that Chambers' Garage (Selsey) Ltd was situated on the main High Street, and specialised in Morris cars. Thanks for letting me share the photo here Ricky, a great scene. Note Ricky's father, Paddy Halpin, sat on the chair watching the world go by.
A look back at the F-Type Victors.
In the early 1950s, Vauxhall had enjoyed sales success with the E-Series cars (Wyvern, Velox and Cresta), but by the mid 1950s their thoughts were focused on the E-Series' replacements. The PA would take over where the Velox and Cresta left off, and it would be the new F-Type Victors that would replace the outgoing four-cylinder Wyvern. At this time, General Motors were adopting all the latest styling ideas, and this included the wraparound front screen, something that would feature on the F-Type and the PA Cresta, cementing their American-inspired body designs in the eyes of the British public (much of the early design work taking part in the US).
The first F-Type rolled off the line in 1957, the base model costing 485 GBP. Opinions on the car's radical stateside appearance were mixed, with many finding the extra ornamentation of the Super model just a trifle over-the-top, with tricks such as the exhaust exiting the rear of the car via the car's chrome bumper a little frivolous. Many were underwhelmed by the wraparound screen too; few drivers in the UK had encountered this feature before, and cracking your knee on entering the car was a regular occurrence. Despite this, and a quickly-gained reputation for rampant corrosion, sales were strong, both in the UK and in the export markets of the late 1950s.
In 1958 the Newtondrive two-pedal transmission option was offered, the same as had already been offered on cars such as the Morris Oxford (Manumatic) and the Standard 10 (Standrive). In 1959 the Series 2 F-Type was introduced, toning down some of the chrome ornamentation. The De Luxe Victor, as shown at the top of this page, became the range-topper. In 1961 the FB Victor would take the place of the F-Type in the Vauxhall showrooms, introducing a simpler look to Vauxhall's mid-sized cars, tackling many of the criticisms levelled at the outgoing model by certain quarters.
The compilation below brings together photographs of classic Victors from the F-Type through to the FE/VX of the 1970s.