Vauxhall Heritage Centre (Luton) open their doors only a few times a year. For last two years the Vauxhall Heritage Centre Open Day has conveniently coincided with the Luton Festival of Transport. To top it off, the thoughtful Festival organisers arranged for a classic bus to ferry people between the two locations.
A number of Vauxhall employees volunteered their time to open the centre and answer visitors questions. In addition to Heritage Centre staff, the blue light division had a patrol car on display and accompanied by a knowledgeable fellow. The Bluelight division had recently returned to Luton from Milbrook, a hangover from the days, the group owned the testing ground. Unlike other manufacturers, Vauxhall carry out all modifications at the site and go to great lengths to minimise effect on the resale value of the Police vehicles, making full use of the CANBus already used by the car’s electric systems. All lights and radio modifications sit within standard accessory features where possible for easy removal after service.
The Heritage Centre has, as you might expect, is home to a wide variety of vehicles from the company’s past. With vintage cars, up through the decades including iconic favourites, like the HP Firenza, Chevette HSR, Lotus Carlton and a couple of really out there concept cars.
Although it shouldn’t make any difference in a static display, there is something disturbing about the fact the engines have been removed from these strange beasts. Apart from the poor decapitated concepts, all of the other cars start on the button and are meticulously maintained by permanent specialists.
The cars are used regularly, either at events representing the brand or lent to journalists performing road tests for classic car magazines. The Heritage Centre is a private company and part of the Vauxhall Group.
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