Vauxhall PA Velox/Cresta
Part 6 of Vauxhall’s Decade-a-Day reaches our half way point, and recognises not only the heavy design influence from our then US parent, but also the growing importance of Bedford – Vauxhall’s commercial vehicle division – to the business.
The 2.25-litre, six-cylinder PA Velox and Cresta arrived in 1957 and were built, with minor styling changes, until 1962. Illustrating the company’s huge growth in export sales at the time, a PA model became the two-millionth Vauxhall to roll off the Luton line.
A large car by post-war British standards, but diminutive compared with GM’s Stateside behemoths on which its design was based, the PA Velox/Cresta was the perfect antidote to the UK’s largely grey and austere ‘50s motoring landscape.
Vauxhall’s famous ‘flutes’ made a final appearance (though they were only represented in concave chrome side-strips), but in every other respect the PA embodied a brave new world for Vauxhall. Tail fins, swathes of chrome, a bright body-colour palette and wrap-around front screen gave it the scaled-down look of a ’57 Chevy Bel Air, while inside, bench seats and a column gear-shift completed the US feel.
Almost all PAs were saloons, but Friary produced a stylish estate version, one of which (pictured) was used by HM The Queen, fitted with a gun rack and vinyl floor covers for her corgis.
Body: 6-seat saloon
Engine: 6 cylinders in-line
Engine Capacity: 2,262cc,
Top Speed: 90mph
0-60mph: 16.8 seconds
Fuel Consumption: 23mpg
Transmission: RWD, 3-speed all-synchromesh gearbox (auto optional)