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1. VAUXHALL DX DY - 12hp & 14hp OVERVIEW:

The Vauxhall Light Six DX & DY models had proven a huge sales success for the Company, from nowhere Vauxhall had become a true volume car manufacturer and been an overdue wake-up call for rival British car makers who had their cosy little bubble well and truly burst – Vauxhall were now a force to be reckoned with in the 12 & 14hp sector of the British market as well proving popular in export territories. This success was based on a car with unrivalled performance with remarkable economy, innovations such as synchromesh gear & independent front suspension, an unmatched level of quality, finish, room and comfort for a purchase price that was also unmatched by any competitive offering.

Which begs the question; with all this success, why change anything? There were a few probable answers, firstly being a division of General Motors it was expected that model ranges would be updated on a regular basis. In Detroit, this was a yearly event but for Vauxhall progressive changes every two years or so was deemed sufficient. Also, having put in so much effort to achieve their success Vauxhall wanted to do everything possible to maintain it. The Light Six name was surprisingly dropped so as to align the revised models with the same nomenclature of rivals and so, in theory, buyers could compare like with like, ironically it coincided with other makers, such as Morris, doing the exact opposite. 

2. VAUXHALL DX DY - 12hp & 14hp DESIGN & ENGINEERING:

Announced in September 1936 the Vauxhall 12hp & 14hp models were classed as new cars by Vauxhall, this was a bit of a stretch for, in reality, the cars were mildly facelifted versions of the established DY DX Light Six. However, the revisions to the exterior were enough to give a more modern appearance to what was becoming a fairly elderly design. The most significant visual change was at the front; the radiator grille was new in style and the surround was painted in the body colour, as were the front wings, giving a more integrated look. There were new chrome bonnet louvres, new headlamps & mountings, a new front bumper and a one piece full width rear bumper. The Light Six wire wheels were replaced by more modern looking pressed steel items with chrome centre caps which were also much easier to keep clean. Running boards were improved with a new deep-tread rubber covering, chrome plated handles to the lid of the spare wheel & tool compartment and the “V” motif on the offside rear wing was replaced with a central “signature” badge in the centre. Vauxhall claimed that they had resisted calls to make the car wider to allow for a larger width rear seat on the grounds it would add weight but the cost and time before a replacement model were undoubtedly the real factors.

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Like the exterior changes those for the interior were useful update to the previous Light Six. The so called “body conformity” seating was made visually more appealing by the addition of lower skirting trim. The rear seat was completely new and featured side armrests with retractable ashtrays. The dashboard was also new and used larger and fewer gauges (3), an orange oil warning light replaced the conventional calibrated oil gauge and the central speedometer was considerably larger. The polished real wood instrument mounting of the original "A" cars had already been replaced by pressed steel common in cars of the time. An entirely new lighting & ignition switch-indicator was used, rather than being instrument mounted it was now on a moveable disc behind the instrument panel, immediately above the switch was a small “window” and the lettering on the disc shows through this window. An “Alto” horn was fitted. 

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New pressings and production methods improved the insulation of the spare wheel & tool compartment the lid of which let down to form a luggage grid. All apertures & joints were hermetically sealed improving fume, dust & draught proofing.

Vauxhall claimed to have perceived a demand for a popular priced car with “roomy built in accommodation”. In fact, what Vauxhall had discovered was that the newer rival models introduced all had bigger, fully enclosed, luggage compartments. An easy and cost effective response was the new 14hp Touring Saloon, this used the normal body with a new protruding boot & spare wheel compartments. Whilst it was a “cheap fix” it fortunately blended in well with the rest of the cars styling and for only £5 extra compared to the normal Deluxe Saloon it was good value and, as it was lockable, it was secure. A new rear bumper was required to accommodate the new rear pressing.

Vauxhalls extensive Engineering Department had been researching the causes of engine wear and oil efficiency for many years and had concluded that oval grinding of pistons gave better sealing when hot compared to circular pistons which became lightly oval when hot. Vauxhall could credibly claim the new pistons reduced engine wear & oil consumption. Following feedback from overseas export territories with hot climates the oil capacity of the sump was increased from 7 to 9.5pints to aid cooler running. More effective engine cooling was achieved by mounting the radiator core in a more upright position, in addition the radiator film block was redesigned so the cooling water was spread over a greater area. Valve springs now used split cotter pins and were aided by improved lubrication. Improved removeable camshaft bearings were fitted which used white metal bonded to ground steel shells.

The power, efficiency and service life of the braking system was improved. Chromidium cast-iron brake drums, slightly enlarged, replaced the pressed steel items used on The Light Six. The liners were made more rigid & the material thickness was increased by 1/32ins also the bearings of the brake operating camshaft were redesigned and used a graphite impregnated bronze bush. Lighter and more readily controlled steering with the added advantage of increased castor action was achieved by a change to Burnham-Douglas nut & screw type steering gear. A new design of steering wheel and horn push was introduced. A new larger 8ins clutch was fitted which also included a new lubricating nipple for the centre of the operating cable conduit. The accelerator pedal linkage was achieved by a new carburettor lever & linkage, this was unofficially fitted to the last of the 1936 model year Light Six cars. A new dynamo was introduced which included a steel fan fitted at the pulley end with ventilation holes at the other, the positive terminal of the 12volt battery was now connected direct to earth therefore reducing the wiring to the main distribution box. The distributor was modified to utilise an improved oil bath to increase lubrication.

Considering the level of changes to the Light Six to become the 12hp & 14hp the sales success was stunning, 1937 would be the best year for sales of any Vauxhall 12hp or 14hp up until then although the 1938 models, which were unchanged, fell back considerably but by then the car was becoming less competitive against new more modern rivals. This situation wouldn’t last long as Vauxhall were preparing new models that would restore the Company back to class leadership.  

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3. VAUXHALL DY DX - 12hp & 14hp PRESS & PERIOD PHOTOGRAPHS:

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4. VAUXHALL DX DY - 12hp & 14hp BROCHURES:

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5. VAUXHALL DX DY - 12hp & 14hp ADVERTISING:

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6. VAUXHALL DY DX - 12hp & 14hp - ROAD TESTS:

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