Vauxhall: The PA Velox and the FB Victor
I have been out on the road a lot in the last few weeks, and saw a Cresta parked up in a service station, several people were looking it over. So I thought as I have 20 minutes free I would post this little update, with the help of Rods' Vauxhall Album from the Auto Review series,
The Vauxhall PA Velox
New for 1957 were the six-cylinder PA Velox and Cresta. The body stying was again US-influenced, with various Buick and Pontiac features scaled down into a harmonious design, influenced by Gerald Palmer, who had scaled down US designs for his previous car projects. Its wrap-around glass, long tail fins and abundant chrome produced an iconic design of its period. The large rear window was made in three sections, later replaced by one piece of curved glass. Proponents of more staid British cars disliked the PA’s candy colours, optional whitewall tyres and a grinning chrome grille. But others saw it as an exciting flash of American style in dull, grey 1950s Britain. The PA was not ‘smart’; your solicitor would never be seen in one, but it was flashy; pop singers loved them (Don Lang of ‘Frantic Five’ fame was an early owner). The PA had the 2262cc ohv engine and three speed gearbox from the E-type, plus independent coil spring front suspension and an anti-roll bar with a rigid axle and semi elliptic leaf springs at the rear. It had bench seats, fitted carpet and a heater as standard. Options included a radio, exterior mirrors, fog lamps, a reversing light, and two tone paintwork. The Cresta was better equipped than the Velox, and had two tone paintwork, but was otherwise mechanically similar. The PA could reach almost 90mph, at 25mpg (not seen as poor consumption at the time) and cost over £1000 including tax. In February 1959 the two millionth Vauxhall was made, a PA Cresta. The PA was facelifted in October 1959 with an enlarged grille (it looked as if the original grille had been turned upside down), a single curved rear window replaced the three piece design, and overdrive was an optional extra. In 1960 the engine grew to 2.6 litres, and Hydramatic automatic transmission was offered as an option. Higher performance was now demanded, and the PA could reach almost 95mph with its new engine. Every Luton-built PA was a four door saloon, but from 1960 Friary of Basingstoke offered a factory-approved conversion to produce the PA estate car. There were optional separate front seats and disc brakes from 1961, and the PA stayed in production until 1962. The PA helped Vauxhall reach two million sales.
Above Image: PA Velox in Red
Above Image: PA Velox Late Type Black DT
Above Image: Velox-Cresta PA pink
Extract from Auto Review 049 Vauxhall Album - available from Oxford Diecast at £5.95 plus postage. 32 packed pages.
The Vauxhall FB Victor
In 1961 the FB Victor was announced, with smoother and more balanced lines than its F-type predecessor. It came as the standard version, Super, De Luxe or estate car, each with the 56bhp 1508cc four cylinder engine. The faster VX Four-Ninety (soon shortened to VX4/90) had twin carbs and a higher compression ratio, increasing the power output by 44%. It also had disc brakes to all four wheels, optional on other Victors. In 1963, the engine grew to 1594cc, giving 69bhp, the VX 4/90 version now capable of over 90mph. A four speed all-synchro box with floor change was now fitted. Many Vauxhall fans think this was the best-balanced of the five Victor designs, and it sold well in the UK and overseas, though US sales were killed by GM’s new home-grown compacts. By 1964 328,642 FBs had been sold.
Above Image: Vauxhall Victor FB De Luxe 2 tone
Above Image: Vauxhall Victor FB Estate
Above Image: Vauxhall Victor FB De Luxe
Extract from Auto Review 049 Vauxhall Album - available from Oxford Diecast at £5.95 plus postage