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Vauxhall - Britain's Oldest Car Maker

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Vauxhall - Britain's Oldest Car Maker

Ian Coomber

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Overview

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Vauxhall has been making cars in Britain for longer than anyone else. The name entered the UK industrial lexicon in 1897, when the Vauxhall Iron Works Company was formed to run the bankrupt engineering business founded by Alexander Wilson in 1859. The first Vauxhall car left the Thames side works in 1903. The company moved to Luton in 1905, and the solely car-making company Vauxhall Motors Limited was formed in 1907. Famed as a maker of sporting and luxury cars, Vauxhall was bought by the American giant General Motors in 1925. GM took the company into a new era of mass production and turned it into one of the top five car companies in the UK. After the Second World War, Vauxhall became the household name it is today, with models such as Viva, Astra, Cresta, Victor, Nova, and Cavalier. The journey from the Thames to today’s plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton is full of twists, turns, dramas, and triumphs. Ian Coomber worked at Vauxhall for thirty-eight years, progressing from apprentice to the boardroom. He has told the Vauxhall story with the benefit of years of experience and a lifelong passion for the marque.

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