• VAUXHALL 94000 - FD VICTOR & ENVOY CANADA
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VAUXHALL FD VICTOR IN CANADA

The FC Vauxhall Victor 101, was sold in Canada through Pontiac & Buick dealers, and the equivalent FC Envoy through Chevrolet & Oldsmobile dealers, was not a huge sales success largely due to the fact that the Canadian Parliament, concerned about the vast number of imports and the competitiveness of the domestic car industry, passed a bill in the House of Commons to collect taxes on cars from Britain. Vehicles from the UK and other Commonwealth countries had previously entered Canada free of duty which gave Vauxhall a significant price advantage over other imports such as VW, Renault etc. Despite this sales of the HA Viva soured, the Victor’s however didn’t and overall Vauxhall sales continued to slide for three consecutive years, even after the launch of the HB Viva, and ended 1967 with 5,789 cars finding customers and gave Vauxhall 35th spot in the Canadian sales charts just ahead of Renault.

The completely new FD series Victor was just that – virtually new from the ground up with only the gearbox and the 1600 front drum brakes carried over from the FC Victor 101.  The car was launched in Canada during January 1968 but the brochure was a single sheet, colour on the front with black and white specifications on the rear and press advertising was minimal, concentrating far more on the popular Viva HB, the car did have an ace card to play – style and masses of it. It looked prestigious and was initially priced at $2,332 for the base 4 door 1600 Saloon and the 5 door Estate for $2,552. The Victor borrowed many styling cues from the HB Viva, the “coke bottle” design, the rear lights and bumper were similar and was rounded off with a 4 headlight grille which gave the car an acceptable “meaty” look. It was also significantly lower than the FC 101 which gave the impression the car was longer than it actually was.

Customers could order the new Victor with the 1600cc version of the new slant 4 ohc engine giving 84bhp (gross) or the 2000cc version giving 104bhp (gross). The 3 speed manual column shift was standard with a 4 speed floor mounted shift optional along with the Borg Warner 3 speed Automatic. The brochure claimed “sedan riding comfort with sports-car-like handling.” To back this up the car featured rack and pinion steering as well as coil rear suspension riding on 6.90x13 four-ply, low-profile tires, mounted on wide rims (for the time). Bench seating was standard but for minimal extra cost individual bucket seat could be ordered and included individual rear seats as well. A total of 9,357 Vauxhalls were sold in 1968, giving the brand 26the place in the Canadian sales league, behind the Ford Cortina but surprisingly ahead of the Chevrolet Nova.

1970 would be the last year the FD would be sold in Canada and because of emission control and crash regulations introduced at the beginning of the year only the one model would be offered the being introduced only one model was offered, the 2000 4 door Sedan which now came fully equipped with most of the previous extras being included as standard such as the floor mounted 4 speed manual transmission and the optional Automatic was now a GM designed 3 speed unit. The Vauxhall name was dropped and all models, even the Viva, were now advertised as Viva & Victor by General Motors. This trend would continue in 1971 when the HC Viva, badged as Firenza from General Motors, was launched and everything started to go very badly wrong!

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THE VICTOR FD CANADIAN GRILLE PROTOTYPE 10.06.66, FOR COST & PARTS DIFFERENTIATION THIS ENDED UP BEING ADOPTED FOR ALL FD VICTORS WORLDWIDE. D-70446 © GM ARCHIVE

VICTOR FD BROCHURES CANADA

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THE 1969MY VAUXHALL VIVA & VICTOR RANGE BROCHURE GM-1895 12.68

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THE SAME BROCHURE PRINTED IN FRENCH FOR CERTAIN PARTS OF CANADA

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VAUXHALL VIVA & VICTOR 1970 RANGE BROCHURE 

ENVOY FD

For the many people who have often wondered why the Vauxhall VX4/90 models from the FD onwards had a white cross grille this section will provide the answer amongst other things. The Envoy FD was launched at the same time as the Vauxhall version, January 1968, and with same low key publicity as well. The previous two incarnations of Envoy had been basically a LHD version of the UK & European VX4/90 but without the twin carburettor engine and additional instruments and interior appointments. When the Victor was launched there were no plans to market a VX4/90 version as the 2000cc model equalled the performance of the previous FC VX4/90. So for the Envoy FD the differences to the Vauxhall version were restricted to different badges, “ENVOY” spelt out on the front of the bonnet and the same front grille as the Victor but with a white cross fitted in the middle. All other specifications and options were identical to the Victor. Despite a new a new Epic HB launching in 1967 total Epic sales had dropped to 5,177 cars but it still beat GM Canada’s home produced Acadian marque with its 4,927 total. With the launch of the new Envoy plus Estate versions of the Epic and SL versions boosted 1968 sales to 8,620 which moved the brand from 42nd place to 25th. The sales boom didn’t last long though, for 1969 sales fell to 6,542 units dropping back to 35th place in the sales charts.

Vauxhall could see the drop off in sales early in on in 1969 particularly of the Envoy and they also knew that 1970 would be the last year the FD would be sold in Canada. In the UK & Europe Vauxhall had launched the Viva GT in 1968 using a twin carburettor version of the 2.0 litre ohc Victor engine and dealers had been pressing Vauxhall for an VX4/90 since the FD launch. So with a stack of Envoy spare grilles with a white cross in the middle Vauxhall fitted the Viva GT engine along with Ventora II style seats and instruments and created the FD VX4/90.

Back in Canada the 1970 Envoy, like the Victor, featured additional equipment as standard but to no avail and even with the launch for one model season the Epic & Viva GT failed to improve sales which fell to 3,640 cars giving the brand 39th place. Chevrolet dealers would have the Vega to sell in 1971 and Pontiac dealers would have ill-fated Firenza.

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THE ENVOY FD GRILLE PROTOTYPE 10.06.66 D-70447 © GM ARCHIVE

BROCHURES:

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THE RATHER LIMP ENVOY FD LAUNCH BROCHURE 01.68

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EPIC & ENVOY 1969 RANGE BROCHURE

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EPIC & ENVOY 1970 RANGE BROCHURE