This page: Visitors story about a Vauxhall Viva Firenza
Baby Bertha Firenza road & rally car
Marino sent in these fascinating photographs of a Vauxhall he bought in the late 1970s and owned until 1983ish. Thanks again for the photos, great stuff - Marino's notes accompany the pictures below ...
I used to own this car (79/83). My wife was terrified of it, forcing me to sell the car. I believe the car was later broken for parts due to tougher MOT laws that failed the car, ie sealed windows etc. The car was originally built by John Taylor in his spare time at Dealer Team Vauxhall at
Luton owned by Bill Blydenstein at Royston in 1973/74. The car was built specially for Northern Ireland rally driver Bertie Law. I then bought the
car in 1979.
The car was designed as a drawing exercise for the 1977 Luton motor show - only 5 were made allegedly. I just thought you might like to see the photos, there cant be many of these road going Baby Berthas left.
The car was just awesome for its day. With a works engine / five speed ZF gearbox /
Ford Cosworth pistons and liners / down draft Dellortos it just blew everything off the road!
I do miss the car but I have still got the wife 22 yrs later, I believe I made the right choice but what I wouldn't give for one more drive or just to hear the snort of those carbs (Love your web site - it brings back happy memories).
Thanks again for the great story and pictures - can any Vauxhall experts out there shed light on what exactly did happen to LIA 828? are there any similar roadgoing Berthas out there still? the ex-Gerry Marshall (RIP) DTV Baby Bertha is still around of course, I wonder if any parts from Marinos example found their way in later years to the Marshall car? If there are any examples like the one shown here still around, I'm sure Marino would like to see (and hear!) it. If anyone can help, please let me know and I'll forward the information on.
Further news on this Vauxhall Firenza, added December 2005: This page had been on oldclassiccar for a few months, when an update on what happened to the parts from this car came in from Drew:
"Hi, This car was bought without an engine and gearbox in Northern Ireland. The car was rotten and the kit was used on another shell which became a 2.6 racing Firenza like baby bertha in the castrol colour scheme. The car was remembered by David Irwin senior as being in the Falls road Belfast Citybus depot in the 70's/80's. Let Marino know he can contact me for more info if he wishes, Drew"
I passed this info on to Marino, who owned this car:
"WOW the power of the internet. I never expected to see this happen. I worked for citybus from 1978 / 1989 based at the Falls Road Depot and I would park the car outside the Depot. I have some photos of it parked there. I am genuinely flabbergasted as I thought the car was dead for sure. I will definitely be contacting Drew in the hope of getting more photos. I believe this could not have happened without your help and the help of
your fabulous web site which I still enjoy. Many thanks and my very best wishes to you Rick, your friend .....MARINO."
This just one of a number of stories & images of classic vehicles owned by surfers who have called by
my oldclassiccar website - why not send me your details and see your classic on the web?? Click on the image link below to find out more, its easy!
Old Classic Car (C) R. Jones 2022. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.