Who do you associate with designing beautiful cars these days? Aston Martin is probably the go-to answer, swiftly followed by Alfa Romeo (with just the Giulia, really) and then Volvo with the likes of the S60 and S90.
There are some companies that sneak under the radar however – ones that catch your eye in the street and then leave you quietly surprised at the badge resting on the bonnet and boot lid. One of those for me is Vauxhall, who have not only made some seriously pretty cars in the past but are still producing handsome little beasties to this day, right from its hatchbacks to its motorway-mastering estates.
Let's take a look at the best designs to have come from the griffin-badged brand.
It's a shame that warm coupes like the Alfa Romeo GTV and Vauxhall Calibra don't really exist anymore – designs these days very much lack the continuous lines of these sportscar icons.
The tiny front lights and the sheer simplicity of the Calibra's front end make it oh so '90s; combine those looks with a throaty V6 and DTM lineage and you have a car that has many a dad gushing over it at your local classic car meet.
How great does that little griffin look, sitting proudly in the middle of what is an extremely 'happy' looking classic. Simple yet effective proportions are complimented by creases and lines that add a bit of muscle to the iconic '70s architecture.
In its day, it was up against the likes of the Ford Cortina and the Morris Marina and it's safe to say that – in the looks department – the Mk1 Cavalier had the gold medal effortlessly sewn up. The next two generations of the car were rather lovely too, sticking to similar principles as the Calibra in terms of simplicity of design.
It sure as hell isn't a car but there's no doubting the mechanical beauty of this tank, as well as Vauxhall's pivotal involvement in the legendary machine. Used in WWII, this heavy infantry tank was built with some of the strongest armour ever seen on a vehicle of its kind.
Originally developed by Vauxhall in 1940, the Churchill was powered by a monstrous flat-12 engine, the product of two Bedford lorry engines being sandwiched together. The long tracks from one end of the vehicle to the other as well as the rounded, central turret make the Churchill Tank a handsome piece of kit, and one that proved pivotal in the Battle of Normandy in 1944.
Nope, not the Jaguar Le Mans racer, but a car that has played its own part in the history of the British motoring industry. The sturdily built motor was a popular army staff car during WW1, used to ferry the top dogs right up to the front.
King George V was transported to Vimy Ridge in northern France in a Vauxhall, and this staff car was also the first vehicle to cross the Rhine following the Armistice in 1918.
Traversing planks of wood across the muddy expanses of the frontline trenches, the D-Type played a part in some of the main theatres of war that are forever vivid in the psyche of the countries involved – from the fields of Flanders to the battered city of Ypres, this hardy steed will have made some truly awe-inspiring trips throughout the conflict. And if its contribution towards The Great War doesn't make it a stunning piece of kit, I don't know what does.
A genuinely desirable little coupe, the GTC is a striking design that stands out even against cars in a much higher price bracket. Especially when specced with the 20-inch rims to fully fill the arches, this tweaked hatchback is possibly the best looking car Vauxhall currently produces.
197bhp from a turbocharged four-cylinder engine sounds just right for the range-topping model, but who needs power when you can look as good as that while you're cruising along?
Insignia Sports Tourer
Another highlight from Vauxhall's current stable is this ever so handsome estate, helped by the fact that absolutely every saloon car looks ten times cooler when elongated into a wagon.
There's something about the Insignia that has meant it has taken over from the Mondeo as the go-to motorway basher of the masses, and who can blame someone for buying it when it trumps the aesthetic of many of the top premium saloon cars.
Which of these specimens do you think is the prettiest? Cast your vote in the poll below!