- James Thompson takes his Vauxhall Vectra race car to new hight's in 1996.

The Vectra: The Very Bare Minimum

The Vauxhall, Opel or Holden Vectra was a car that has never really been seen as a fantastic achievement in the history of the automobile. Or has it?

1y ago

Back in the early 90's General Motors comes to the decision that their Vauxhall and Opel divisions need a brand new car model. So, their worn out and tired Cavalier model was to be replaced, by a new car that would show what the company was capable of. Something that would showcase the modern technology that could take men to Mars, and everyone else to the shops. The brand new car that GMV, (General Motors Vauxhall) would spend 1.1 Billion pounds on, just to make sure that the car was capable. I don't what it would be capable of doing, but if it is worth 1.1 Billion pounds, it must be something to rival an Apollo Rocket... right? Wrong.

These days people go nuts for almost anything, whether it be a brand new iPhone, a Playstation 5 or even an Avengers movie that comes off the heels of one of the greatest cinematic endings of all time. But, if today's generation were to go mad for a Vectra, then we all know that the world has gone to hell and back. Released in 1996 the Vauxhall, Holden and Opel Vectra took the local pub by a mild reaction at most, and a damp table cloth style reaction at least.

Seriously, a car of this kind hadn't been seen since the 1920's. Why? Because it wasn't until the Ford Model T that cars became personalised, and full of character. The Vectra didn't know character, even if it had an automatic characterisation mode built into it. So what was it that you get for your money, all 12,000 of your hard earned pounds. (Meaning to break even they'd have to sell well over 100 million!) Er, you got a coat hook in the back seat for hanging your jacket onto. But, apart from that it was very basic. The biggest engine you could get was a 2.5 litre V6, but it was hardly a "Big Banger'' like it's distant Aussie cousin the VS Commodore. Which was available with the SS kit, or if you really wanted to feel the grunt there was the GTSR Model which has to be seen to be believed. And it's with the Holden Commodore that I move onto the main point of the car in Australia.

Holden built the Vectra in Australia from 1998 to 2001, (I know, hard to believe right?) but in Australia we already have our own home built and bread car, the Holden Commodore. And Holden since the beginning have always built cars for Australia, adapted to Australian roads, and cities. Our cities are very different compared to England's, there are a lot more open roads and space in the cities in Australia so the Commodore was built the way it was to suit "Australia's Road Climate" as it were. The Vectra was not. It was built for the cities that are always crowded with traffic, and not a lot of open roads. The Vectra was designed for Britain, and the Commodore was designed for Australia to put it simply. So when you try and bring a car over from the UK, (that isn't really seen as a good car in it's homeland) over to a country that is the polar opposite. How do you think it would do? In this country the Vectra's only targeted audience was teenagers just on their P plates, and people who just needed a car to get them from A to B. Not exactly the sort of "Family Car" they advertised it as in the UK is it? Today, a top of the range used Holden Vectra that is still in good condition is being sold for 2,860 to 5,060 dollars.

But Vauxhall wasn't going to be put off by Australia. No, No, No they built and sold them everywhere. Belgium, Brazil, Egypt (yes I know, just go with it), Germany, Taiwan (hang in there), Turkey (calm down) and Venezuela (alright go ahead and howl in fits of laughter) need I say more?

Yes, I do have to say more unfortunately, even though I'm yawning and wanting to go to bed. But, I needed worry about a bad sleep tonight, as I am talking 'bout the Vectra, the most dull, teedious and, (dare I say it) vulgar car. Trust me, if you are ever having some problems sleeping at night, just bring got to your computer and look up the Vauxhall Vectra, works better than counting sheep according to scientists. You'll sleep like a lost soul. If you were to look up in the Oxford Dictionary the definition of a "Car", you'll be gawping at a beige Opel Vectra. Because, that is all this car is, it is just a car and nothing more. This car has no personality and is just a cardboard box on wheels. This isn't a bad car, it is just average, everything about it is average. They, should've advertised it as "Your three year old giving you trouble every night? Just buy the new Holden, Opel or Vauxhall Vectra, and place your toddler in the back seat for 5 minutes before bedtime. And there ya' go you have a child that'll sleep for 8 hours straight." So, can you make a Vectra exciting?

At that time in "British Touring Car Racing'' the category was run in a "Super Touring Format". Which mean't every car was running a 2.5 L Engine, with low ride hight, a big rear wing and a front splitter. In the 1990's this was the bees knees, nobody had ever seen such close racing on a race track before. Another thing that was great about Super Touring was nearly every four-door saloon car available at the time was competing in the races. From the Volvo 850 to the Ford Mondeo, and the Honda Accord to the Peugeot 406, and of course the Vectra. John Cleland and James Thompson (car pictured above) took there brand new Vauxhall Vectra's to 8th and 10th in the 1996 BTCC, Thompson scoring a win at Snetterton that year. The car was sadly under developed, and off the pace compared to the Audis, BMWs and Volvos. Roland Dane's Triple Eight Racing Team took over the Vauxhall team for 1997 and beyond, and did their best with the car but could never quite win the championship. James Thompson finished 3rd in 1998 with 3 wins that year, but they never had enough to win the championship. In 2001 the Vectra was finally retired and replaced with the brand new Astra.

P.S The Vectra really does have nice door mirrors. Don't you think?

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Comments (1)

  • I used to like the Holden Vectra, but yes.

      1 year ago