• VAUXHALL XP-867 CONCEPT
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OVERVIEW:

The Vauxhall XVR, first shown in 1966, was the first time Vauxhall had exhibited any form of Concept from the Design Department at Luton which is surprising considering their General Motors counterparts in the US regularly exhibited Design Concepts on an annual basis – admittedly some were pretty wacky and did not have a hope of reaching production – but they did create interest and excitement for a particular brand. The fact that three XVR prototypes were made, including one road going version used by David Jones for a while, seemed to indicate Vauxhall were seriously considering producing a 2 seat sports car. As we now know in the end they didn’t, the XVR was far too complex for mass production and maybe just a bit too far ahead of its time.

However, a similar 2 seat concept at Opel at around the same time did make it to production – the Opel GT. The car was first shown in concept form in 1965 at both the Paris & Frankfurt motor shows, for production it used components from the mundane Kadett B, however Opel sub contracted body manufacture to Brissonneau & Lotz in France. The styling was likened to a miniature version of the Corvette, introduced in September 1967, when the GT was eventually offered for sale in 1968 nearly three years after its initial showing.

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THE ORIGINAL OPEL GT DESIGN CONCEPT FIRST SHOWN IN 1965 AT THE PARIS & FRANKFURT MOTOR SHOWS, IT WAS BASED AROUND THE KADETT B MECHANICALS

The next Styling Concept shown by Vauxhall was not until 1970 with the SVR which was light years ahead of its time style wise and was never envisaged as anything more than an example of what Vauxhalls Design Department could do.

So between 1966 and 1970 it is assumed that Vauxhall had no 2 seat sports car plans and were content to let Opel garner the limelight with their GT – Wrong! Vauxhall had plans and now for the first time ever we can see what those plans were.

DESIGN & PLANNED


ENGINEERING

Wayne Cherry, John Taylor & Leo Pruneau had all worked on the XVR Concept, the other Judd Holcombe had returned to GM in the US, and the remaining three began working on the Vauxhall GT Concept in September 1966 under the guidance of David Jones. The idea was to produce a more production friendly and far less complex concept than the XVR that was small, fast and attractive. The plans were for the car to use FD Victor front and rear suspension as well as the new 2.0litre slant 4 ohc engine. The chassis would be a heavily modified and shortened FD floor pan, in effect it would have been altered so much that it would have qualified a new platform.

The body design was sketched & drafted within a week and a full size clay mock-up was completed by the end of September 1966. The car was stunning to look at from the front & rear head on, only the side view looked just a little awkward, rather like a Corvette that had been involved in a front & rear accident and squashed it but not unpleasant. The rear end featured similar strip lights to the XVR but they were mounted further up the rear quarter and continued down the side and so would be seen by cars approaching side on. The very low front end was made possible because the slant 4 engine was planned to be used. Like the Opel GT it also featured pop up front headlights. The exquisite detailing of the bumpers and twin exhausts along with three traditional British motoring badges on the back completed the very attractive package.

The car was immediately packed off to the General Motors Design Centre for evaluation prior to any further development. The car was also photographed with an MGB GT for comparison, the MG looked almost antique side by with the Vauxhall Concept.

Although the car was well received in the review, GM Executives wanted to see how the Opel GT performed in the market before committing to another similar model. Unfortunately the Opel GT was not a commercial success and it is rumoured Opel lost money on the whole lifespan of the car. As a result the Vauxhall GT project wasn’t developed further.

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THE VAUXHALL GT ON DISPLAY IN THE DESIGN AUDITORIUM WITH PATIENCE PANSKI MODELLING, THE GRIFFIN BADGE ON THE WHEELS & BONNET WAS EXPERIMENTAL AS WELL, IT WAS NOT USED AGAIN UNTIL 1972 13.10.66 D-C3636 © GM ARCHIVE

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THE VAUXHALL GT ON DISPLAY IN THE DESIGN AUDITORIUM WITH PATIENCE PANSKI MODELLING, SHE WAS THE WIFE OF A SENIOR OLDSMOBILE DESIGNER 13.10.66 D-C3637 © GM ARCHIVE

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THE VAUXHALL GT ON DISPLAY IN THE DESIGN AUDITORIUM WITH PATIENCE PANSKI MODELLING, IN THE BACKGROUND CAN BE SEEN THE MGB GT FOR COMPARISON 13.10.66 D-C3638 © GM ARCHIVE

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THE VAUXHALL GT ON DISPLAY IN THE DESIGN AUDITORIUM, THE REAR LIGHTS ARE ANOTHER VARIATION ON THE XVR WHICH EVENTUALLY FOUND THEIR WAY ONTO THE 1970 HC VIVA 13.10.66 D-C3639 © GM ARCHIVE

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THE VAUXHALL XP-867 STYLING BUCK ON THE VIEWING TERRACE WITH AN MGB GT FOR COMARISON 12.10.66 D-7294 © GM ARCHIVE

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THE VAUXHALL XP-867 STYLING BUCK ON THE VIEWING TERRACE WITH AN MGB GT FOR COMARISON 12.10.66 D-7295 © GM ARCHIVE

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THE VAUXHALL XP-867 STYLING BUCK ON THE VIEWING TERRACE WITH AN MGB GT FOR COMARISON 12.10.66 D-7296 © GM ARCHIVE