Day eight of Vauxhalls’ 12 iconic Griffin series features the legendary short-lived, but utterly memorable Firenza HP ‘Droopsnoot’.
A ground-breaker for Vauxhall in so many ways, it became the flag-bearer for the company’s motorsport aspirations during the Seventies, fulfilled with the help of two motorsport legends: Bill Blydenstein and Gerry Marshall.
A car designed for the road and race track, the desirable Vauxhall Firenza drives as good as it looks with impressive stats to back its impressive claim to automotive fame up:
Firenza HP Technical Data:
Body: 2-door coupe
Engine: 4 cylinders, in-line
Engine Capacity: 2279cc
Top Speed: 120mph
0-60mph: 7.6 seconds
Fuel Consumption: 22mpg
In 1973, Vauxhall rationalised its Firenza range, and the HP (for ‘High Performance’) model was created. Based on the Magnum Coupe, the HP had additional aero treatment at the front, giving rise to its nickname: ‘Droopsnoot’.
As the late and great Tony Bastable once said:
“It’s not the ideal vehicle to take dear old granny out around the country lanes in”.
And the Droopsnoot certainly had the brawn to go with its distinctive looks. This was the first Vauxhall with a five-speed gearbox, and its 2.3-litre slant-four engine had hand-finished combustion chambers, inlet tracts and valve throats to liberate an extra 21bhp. As a result, the Droopsnoot became the fastest-accelerating Vauxhall, with a 0-60mph time of just 7.6 seconds.
In model’s launch was well-timed, too, heralding Vauxhall’s triumphant return to motorsport in the guise of DTV (Dealer Team Vauxhall).
But industrial disputes, a looming fuel crisis and the consequent sales fall-out from the performance car market signed an early death-knell for the Firenza HP. Despite a brave sales projection of 1,000 cars per year, only 204 cars were ever built.
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