Vauxhall through the ages: The XVR Concept

By: Mark Higgins, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

Vauxhall concept Vauxhall concept

Wild 60s concept car very nearly made it to production

Like most car companies, Vauxhall’s history is littered with concept cars that were either one-offs for a motorshow or others that came tantalisingly close to production, like the Holden Torana GTR-X in Australia. 

The XVR was such a car becoming so nearly a production reality, but the Opel GT – a similar design and concept – failed commercially, which gave Vauxhall cold feet and the project was shelved. 

Originally built to showcase Vauxhall’s design innovation in the mid-Sixties, the XVR project was managed by the UK industry legend Wayne Cherry at Vauxhall’s Luton Design & Engineering Centre, later to become Vauxhall’s Griffin House HQ. 

Inspired by parent company GM’s work with concepts in the US in the early 60s – including the 1965 Mako Shark II – the XVR (Xperimental Vauxhall Research) had a simple purity of lines with gull-wing doors forming a unique split windscreen, a clam-shell bonnet and pop-up headlights. 

A total of three cars were built including a driveable vehicle capable of 160km/h with its 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 later production versions of the Vauxhall’s Viva HC and Firenza models. 

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


Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part I - Vauxhall's first car

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part II - Britain's first racecar

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part III - Britain's fastest car

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part IV - The H-Type Ten-Four

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part V - The Cresta

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part VII - The Firenza HP DroopSnoot

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part VIII - Vauxhall's first hot hatch

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part IX - The world's fastest sedan

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part X - The Australian finale


Classic Australian Family Car Value Guide home page

Muscle Car Value Guide home page

Japanese Classic Car Value Guide home page

Recent auction results

Sell your car for free right here



Subscribe to Unique Cars Magazine and save up to 39%
Australia’s classic and muscle car bible. With stunning features, advice, market intelligence and hundreds of cars for sale.