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Vauxhall Motors is a British automobile company. It is a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation (GM), and is part of GM Europe. Most current Vauxhall models are right-hand drive derivatives of GM's Opel brand. There are also several performance vehicles coming from Opel Performance Center (OPC), Holden/ Holden Special Vehicles in Australia and Lotus Cars of Norfolk, England.
Alexander Wilson founded the company in Vauxhall, London in 1857. Originally named Alex Wilson and Company, then Vauxhall Iron Works, the company built pumps and marine engines. In 1903, the company built its first car, a five-horsepower model steered using a tiller, with two forward gears and no reverse gear. This led to a better design which was made available for sale.
To expand, the company moved the majority of its production to Luton in 1905. The company continued to trade under the name Vauxhall Iron Works until 1907, when the modern name of Vauxhall Motors was adopted. The company was characterised by its sporting models, but after World War I, designed more austere models.
Much of Vauxhall's success during the early years of Vauxhall Motors is thanks to a man called Laurence Pomeroy. Pomeroy joined Vauxhall in 1906 as an assistant draughtsman, at the age of twenty-two. In the winter of 1907/ 8 the chief designer F.W. Hodges took a long holiday and in his absence the managing director Percy Kidner asked Pomeroy to design an engine for cars to be entered in the 1908 RAC and Scottish Reliability Trial, held in June of that year. The cars were so successful that Pomeroy took over from Hodges.
His first design, the Y-Type Y1, had outstanding success at the 1908 RAC & Scottish 2000 Mile Reliability Trials showing excellent hill climbing ability with an aggregate of 37 seconds less time in the hill climbs than any other car in its class. With unparalleled speeds around the Brooklands circuit the Vauxhall was so far ahead of all cars whatever class that the driver could relax, accomplishing the 200miles (320km) at an average speed of 46mph (74km/ h), when the car was capable of 55mph (89km/ h). The Y-Type went on to win class E of the Trial.
The Y-Type was so successful that it was decided to put the car into production as the A09 car. This spawned the legendary A-Type Vauxhall. Four distinct types of this were produced between 27th October 1908 up to when mass production halted in 1914. One last A-Type was put together in 1920. Capable of up to 100mph (160km/ h) the A-Type Vauxhall was one of the most acclaimed 3 litre cars of its day.
Two cars were entered in the 1910 Prince Henry Trials, and although not outright winners preformed well and replicas were made for sale officially as the C-type but now known as the Prince Henry.
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