Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Luton's Finest - Vauxhall HP Firenza 9F37REX111999

Like the recently featured South African Chevrolet Firenza Can Am the High Performance (HP) Firenza was a top of the range Viva HC Coupé model but built for the UK market and though intended to be produced in far larger numbers, 30,000 projected units, only 204 HP Firenza's were built along with a further 197 estate / station wagon variants.

Vauxhall Firenza, Race Retro

The distinctive 'Droopsnoot' grp nose was restyled styled by Wayne Cherry and based on the nose of a well known Dealer Team Vauxhall Firenza raced by Gerry Marshall called 'Old Nail' that will it's self be the subject of a future GALPOT blog. The twined headlights are interchangeable with the Renault Alpine A310.

Under the unusual for the period aerodynamic nose was a 131 HP 2297 cc / 140 cui slanted 4 cylinder engine enough to power the HP Firenza with a drag co efficient of cd 0.4 from rest to 60 mph in 8 secs and to a top speed of 120 mph.

Though the paint work of this particular car built in 1975 is not the original 'Starlight Silver' this car carries similar decals to those carried by a small series of vehicles for a one off publicity race organised at Thruxton to launch the model, a race won by Barry 'Whizzo' Williams.

The HP Firenza was undoubtedly a styling triumph for Vauxhall yet the car was also an unmitigated marketing disaster thanks to the after effects of the '70's fuel crisis, though design elements of the nose did find their way into future Vauxhall products notably the Chevette and Cavalier which were in essence badge engineered Opel models.

Thanks for joining me on today's Droopsnoot edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at another performance saloon carrying a blue oval badge. Don't forget to come back now !

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