Unlike most of their competitors in the fledgeling UK auto industry who set up their production facilities in the Midlands of England.

Vauxhall Motors first saw the light of day in the South of England, more precisely in Vauxhall, a suburb of London, UK’s capital city.

Vauxhall's founder was Alexander Wilson, formerly a marine engineer who was born in Scotland, and decided to head South in the middle of the 19th century in search of opportunities in the “big smoke”.

Wilson founded his company in 1857 with the original intention of producing engineering equipment for the marine industry, although the company gradually moved into auto production, revealing their first car in 1903.

The first Vauxhall, which appeared to have no name, enjoyed relative success with around 70 sold in the first year of production.

With demand for their products booming, Vauxhall Iron Works, as they were still known, moved out of the cramped premises in Vauxhall, to the expanding industrial city of Luton to the north of London.

With Alexander Wilson long since having departed the scene, and new driving force was needed to steer Vauxhall Motors as they were then known through their formative years.

That force came in the form of Laurence Pomeroy, who had joined Vauxhall in 1906 shortly after their move to Luton.

Even though he was still in his early Twenties, the managing director at Vauxhall Motors Percy Kidner recognised that Pomeroy had tremendous potential and suggested that he work on the design of an engine for a car to be entered in the 1908 RAC and Scottish Reliability Trial,held in June of 1906.

The Pomeroy engine driven Vauxhalls excelled themselves, and Kidson immediately promoted Pomeroy to head of the design department at Vauxhall,

Pomeroy's first design, the Vauxhall Y-Type Y1 continued to enjoy unprecedented success on the rally circuit, so much so that the company decided to put into commercial production, a decision that was to reap tremendous rewards.

Things were going well for Vauxhall until war clouds began to gather over Europe and production for the domestic market was put on hold in 1914, although large numbers of Vauxhall’s best-selling car, the D Type saloon found their way to Europe used as staff cars for the British Army.

With the war over, in 1918 Vauxhall were looking forward to carrying on where they had left off before the war.

As fate would have it, the company suffered a major setback the following year the following year when Laurence Pomeroy announced that he would be resigning his post with Vauxhall to take up a new position with the Aluminum Company of America.

Without the talent and driving force of Pomeroy to push them forward, Vauxhall began to suffer a downturn in sales and profits.

With demand for the type of car they had become known for slowly diminishing,sales were on a downturn despite the fact that the auto industry, in general, was enjoying boom years.

Late in 1925, with their cash flow problems insurmountable, Vauxhall virtually had no option but to succumb to a takeover bid by the massive General Motors Corporation.

GM paid out a bargain £1.5 million ( US$2.5 million) to acquire the company.

The influence of GM was soon felt at Vauxhall, who quickly began to focus their marketing efforts on an entirely different target market.

Vauxhall‘s change in direction was no simple process, that took more than five years to achieve.

One of the first significant achievements of the new Vauxhall was the increasing demand for the mass market orientated two-litre engined Cadet released in 1930.

The Vauxhall Cadet was the first UK produced car fitted with a synchromesh gearbox.

Backed up by GM’s considerable resources Vauxhall survived the difficult years of the Thirties better than most of their competitora.

The comany was beginning to gain considerable impetus in the UK market when once again domestic production was halted during the Second World War.

This time having gained considerable experience in truck building through the Bedford division, Vauxhall’s production was switched almost entirely in that direction.

Despite the six years of World War II Vauxhall turned out a total of 5,600 Churchill tanks at Luton as well as 250,000 lorries at their recently completed Bedford plant in nearby Dunstable.

Having survived the war with their factories virtually unscathed, Vauxhall were almost immediately ready to go into production for the domestic market.

Vauxhall has an ace up their sleeves, having already developed three models immediately before the war broke out, which they could release for a hungry market.

To replace these existing models, post-war generation ration Wyvern and Velox models were released in 1948, 1951 and 1957, while a more compact saloon, the Victor, was launched in 1957.

By the time the Fifties had come to an end Vauxhall had rightfully gained their place among the top five UK auto manufacturers and looking forward to further consolidating their position during the financially buoyant Sixties.

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