The Vauxhall XVR Concept Looked The Part But Never Was

Day 7 in the 12 iconic Griffin series looks back at the Vauxhall XVR Concept which never made the marques production line but still looks pretty slick today.

The XVR was so nearly a production reality, but Opel’s GT – a similar design and concept – failed commercially, which gave Vauxhall cold feet.

So close, yet so far was the streamline XVR. A car so inextricably linked with what was to become Griffin House in Luton that Vauxhall released a tribute to that building, written for the employees who vacated it last year.

Vauxhall XVR Concept

Vauxhall XVR Concept

History will tell of how the XVR was built to showcase Vauxhall’s design innovation and autonomy in the mid-Sixties, with the concept project managed by the legendary Wayne Cherry at Luton’s industry-leading Design & Engineering Centre, later to become Vauxhall’s Griffin House HQ.

Inspired by parent company GM’s work with concepts in the US – including the ‘65 Mako Shark II – the XVR (Xperimental Vauxhall Research) had a simple purity of line, gull-wing doors forming a unique split windscreen, a clam-shell bonnet and pop-up headlights.

Vauxhall XVR Concept

Three cars were built, including a 100mph driveable vehicle with a 1.6-litre engine producing 74bhp. And while the car never reached production, design cues like the ultra-slim rear lights could later be seen in Vauxhall’s Viva HC and now extremely desirable Firenza models.

Vauxhall’s Director of Design, David Jones, when he revealed the Luton company’s radical concept at the Geneva Motorshow in 1966 said:
“Uncompromising in its styling treatment, the XVR shows the future trend in world automotive design.”

Vauxhall XVR Concept

Technical Data:

Body: 2-seat sports coupe
Engine: 4 cylinders in-line
Engine Capacity: 1,595cc
Top Speed: 100mph
Transmission: RWD, 4-speed all-synchromesh gearbox, limited slip differential

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1 Comment

  1. Always wished GM USA would have offered a bonafide 2 seater front engine GT priced well under the Corvette. (Dont even mention the mid engine Fiero which didnt really become a valid attempt until 1988, and in its last year). Now that the current C8 Corvette is mid engine and $ 60k to start with a 6.2 liter V8 certainly there could be room for something like the front engine XVR with a 25 to 30k price and a 1.5 to 2.0 liter 4 cylinder …maybe even a performance hybrid or full electric . Honda has one in development as we speak.

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