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Martin Howey ClassicsMartin Howey Classics
Thirsk Yorkshire

tel: 01677367972     
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Well, well. Take a look at this mega-rare bird. Here is my 1956 Vauxhall Velox E Series, a 2.3 litre straight-6 piece of pure General Motors Trans-Atlantic styling. She has the look of something straight out of an American black and white thriller from the late 40s or early 50s. Over here however she arrived just on cue to hit the UK's rock and roll scene. Even the dash has something of a juke box look to it. Delightfully period and in incredibly sound condition for a 1950s Vauxhall. Let's face it, their reputation for rust was not the best. Not that many made it beyond a life span of three years. Only recently I was talking to someone who knows these E series cars inside and. He told me that he remembered a friend buying one brand new. Six months later, he told me, it was falling apart! Mmm. Well, moving on, here is mine and thus far she has made it to the ripe old age of 63. With love, she could well outlive many of us. I was fortunate enough to acquire her from an elderly gentleman who, sadly for him, had to give up driving. He had owned her for the past 14 years and, in his own words, always kept her very well maintained. He did use her for shows every season and says he was never afraid to drive her anywhere. So what can I tell you? Well, her second owner bought her in 1959 when she was just three years old. As already stated, not a bad life span for a Velox. The history file shows that he went on to keep her for 30 years. Yes, amazing I know. Now, there are 40 old MoTs with this lovely old girl and that is pretty amazing in itself. I can't remember seeing one so old as the earliest one in the file dates back to 1962. They clearly did not have the facility to record the mileage on the hand written certificates back then, but (thanks to the massive pile of them) I see that they started to do just that in in 1969. So, in 1969 her recorded mileage was 8,412. Then, 35 years later, in August 2004 it was 32,352. That's just under 24,000 miles covered in 35 years - and there are MoTs all the way through to back that up! It was then in 2004 that she had a new speedo fitted. Today's mileage reads 21,000 which gives us a total of 53,000. She's a lovely piece of motoring history and drives superbly with her 2.3 straight-6 and three-speed column change. I found out as much as I could from the gentleman from whom I purchased her and he has owned her for 14 years. The panels and basically pretty much all the body are quite simply amazing for a 1950s Vauxhall which in its day was a top end vehicle built to rival the likes of Ford's Zodiac and BMC's big engine Westminsters. As regards any inherent rot, she is incredibly clean. She does however display micro-blistering to the metallic paintwork (and yes, the Velox and the Cresta did come with metallic finishes at new) in many areas. I must stress that it is micro-blistering to the paint work and not rust. When I asked the previous owner about it, he replied that it had been like that when he bought it 14 years ago. My view is that it was probably re-painted around 1990 when owner number two parted company after 30 years of caring for her. Her chrome is excellent and her interior quite amazing for a car of this age. This is indeed an ultra-rare opportunity to acquire a 1950s classic which has probably started to become a forgotten vehicle. It is my considered opinion that, should you choose to re-paint her purely to smarten up on the cosmetic surface bits, then you are looking at a five-figure value on this Velox. Being a '56 model, she has the wider rear windscreen and other improvements on the earlier models. Production of the smaller 4-cylinder Wyvern along with her bigger engine sisters the Velox and the Cresta ended the following year. All my classic cars are treated as the equivalent of motoring antiques. This one, for example, is 63-years-old. They cannot be compared to the wife's six-month-old Chelsea tractor and they are bound to come with imperfections, quirks and bits and pieces that will need attention even if it is some time in the future. They do however come with oodles of charm, appeal and are there to be loved like a family pet. If you are new to the classic car scene, then please bear all this in mind. Most examples have clearly had work over the decades and I cannot predict how much or how little they will need in the future. That, I am afraid, is the nature of the beast in the world of classic cars. Motoring antiques is what they are. I love my Georgian dining table, but I can see all the scars and signs of previous woodworm. Had I wanted a brand new table, I would have gone to Oak Furniture Land. Well perhaps. Demand is outstripping supply these days and they don't make the old girls any more. So, make some allowances and drive away with a smile on your face. It goes with the territory, and therefore must be accepted, that they are always going to need on-going care, attention and repair. Don't tell me some way down the line that the full beam doesn't work or that you have discovered something I knew nothing about. They are bloody old. It happens. They come in and they go out. It seems as though I have become a "re-homer" of classic cars. I accept all major debit cards and a ten per cent deposit is required at the point of sale with the balance due within three days. I can also assist with delivery and so please ask for a quote. Thanks for reading, Martin. (07595-020282).

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