When the Vauxhall Cresta E series made its official debut at the London motor show of 1954 they created something of a stir, thanks to their American-style design.

The reaction then was  positively subdued compared to that  which occurred in October 1957 at the very same venue when Vauxhall took the wraps off the  Cresta PA and its sister car the Velox.

Compared to the new models displayed by  Vauxhall's main rivals at the show the PA was a revelation, not only in its dramatic style, but also in the flamboyant color schemes it could ordered with.

Mechanically there was little new,  with the tried and tested 2262cc  6 cylinder engine carried over from the previous E Types although capable of producing slightly more power through changes to the Zenith carburetor giving 83bhp @ 4,400rpm in standard 7.8:1 compression form.  The 3 speed column gear change also remained unchanged.

Greater in length and width from its predecessor by 5 inches and 2 inches, while sitting lower by 4 1/2 inches, the new bodyshell offered generous accommodation for six people and their luggage with the added benefit that headroom remained the same as in the Cresta HE,  thanks to a low floor line which Vauxhall engineers had shaped  partly by sloping the engine/gearbox downwards.

 

With the wide front doors, the panoramic windscreen intruded rather less than on the Victor, entry to the front compartment was reportedly easier on these new generation of large size Vauxhalls.

In line with its North American image bright metal embellishments were a prominent external feature of the Cresta PA, with the vehicle’s chrome plated grille including extensions at each end housing separate side and direction indicator lights.

Chrome also surrounded the headlights, and a similar strip finished off the front edge of the bonnet top.

A substantial looking bumper at the front was designed in such a manner that it's center section sat lower than its two extremities, providing a dramatic look as well as cleverly avoiding the need for separate over-riders.

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To complete the dramatic overall effect that Vauxhall had created with the Cresta PA , a broad horizontal strip ran from the front of the car just above wheel arch level; narrowing gradually to a point at the rear.

Concave throughout almost its entire length, this strip represented the traditional Vauxhall flutes.

Even such a minor detail to many as the Cresta PA’s  hubcaps were not overlooked with the car  fitted with new anodised aluminium wheel trims with elongated brake cooling slats.

The PA series continued in production for a further year until replaced by the completely re-bodied, and larger, PB series, more than 25 years later, the PA is still regarded by many Vauxhall enthusiasts as the best looking car ever to leave the Luton factory.

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