The marque: Famous name that was once exported all over the world, but now confined the UK where it enjoys decent sales but imparts no great sense of prestige on the firm's products.

The marque: Famous name that was once exported all over the world, but now confined the UK where it enjoys decent sales but imparts no great sense of prestige on the firm's products.

The history: The first Vauxhall was manufactured by an engineering company in 1903 at an ironworks in the south London suburb of the same name. In 1905 the company moved to Luton, the home of the make until car making ended there. A plant at Ellesmere Port still makes Astras but most of the rest of the Vauxhall-badged cars sold now are imported from other parts of the General Motors empire - Spain, Germany and Australia. All a far cry from the Prince Henry racing cars of the pre-1914 era or glorious home-grown (if American influenced) products such as the 1951 Wyvern, the 1957 PA Cresta, and the Brabham and "droop snoot" Vivas of the 1960s and 1970s. The firm was taken over by GM in 1925, but left mainly to run its own affairs until the 1970s when more and more design work was undertaken by Opel. Vauxhalls such as the Cavalier, Carlton, Vectra and Nova/Corsa series were badge-engineered versions of equivalent Opels, sometimes assembled in Britain. GM's overcapacity in Europe threatens surviving UK operations. Reputation for fragility and rust repaired by durable Cavalier, but now Vauxhall image is, seemingly, irredeemably dull.

Defining model: Vauxhall Cresta PA of 1957.

They say: "Go Drive."

We say: Where to?

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