Vauxhall’s rarest cars reunite at former design studio in Luton

Concept cars in the former design centre. Picture: Adam KingConcept cars in the former design centre. Picture: Adam King
Concept cars in the former design centre. Picture: Adam King
The prototypes were designed in the town decades ago

Three of Vauxhall’s rarest cars were brought together for a special reunion at the same place in Luton that they were first imagined.

The concept cars, Silver Bullet, Black Magic and Silver Aero, were photographed last week in the former styling studio on the outskirts of the town.

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Between 1964 and 1988, Vauxhall had a design and prototype facility in Luton which allowed stylists and engineers to turn ideas into cars and trucks. The gathering on Friday (October 27) took place to celebrate the former design centre, which became two separate buildings in 1990 – Griffin House and BWI Luton’s manufacturing facility.

The rare concept cars were created from existing production models but were heavily modified to test new ideas and specifications. Each was used as the daily mode of transport for the design director Wayne Cherry during the mid to late 1970s.

The event was organised by Vauxhall design enthusiast and heritage practitioner Adam King, who has documented the history of the building for an upcoming book ‘AJ Block: Hidden World’. He said: “This was an incredible achievement to be able to bring these rare and exceptional examples of Vauxhall design together on the same day, at the place they were originally imagined.”

Adam explained: “Visiting the former design centre for the first time was a special moment for me. There was still an aura within those vast spaces, once bustling with teams of designers and modellers creating cars of tomorrow, in total secrecy.”

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The cars have been restored and are owned by David Boon and Greg Stringer, who are often seen at car shows with the vehicles.

Adam said: “I have met some incredible people on this journey helping me piece together this secret world. I am hugely grateful to David and Greg for bringing their cars for this final visit and helping me document the history of the design centre.

“It is with great thanks to BWI Luton for granting us permission for this very rare opportunity to take place. BWI continued that spirit of innovation, manufacturing and technology for the automotive industry in Luton for over 30 years, sharing that passion for cars Luton still has.”

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