Firenza! Vauxhall Exotica


At one level Britain in the early seventies must have been a pretty dreary place. There were power cuts. There was widespread industrial strife. The sixties were over, the Beatles had split and things looked bleak.

And the usual array of British-made motors that populated the streets was reflective, on the whole, of the dour times.

This must have been glaringly apparent for the folks at Vauxhall, who in 1973 decided to launch a high performance, radically styled version of their somewhat workaday two door coupé.

The droop-snooted creation was supposed to be badged with the butch and burly moniker ‘Magnum’, but people still thought of the four cylindered, 2.3 litre engined screamer with the free flow exhaust as a flash Firenza.

Inspiration for the design of the front end obviously came from the early versions of the much more long lived Renault Alpine A310. Everything aft of that distinctive hooter stayed the same as the standard model (except for the stuff under the skin).

Disastrously for Vauxhall, the oil crisis of 1973 scuppered the projected run of 30,000 plus Droop Snoots – but the 200-odd examples that rolled off the line quickly became cult classics.
The car’s enduring cool was undoubtedly nurtured by Gerry Marshall’s deft manhandling of saloon car racing version. Enjoy.