• VAUXHALL PD - CRESTA & VISCOUNT PROGRAMME
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OVERVIEW:

The Cresta PC Series, and later the extra luxury Viscount, were a quantum leap over the previous PB Velox & Cresta both in terms of space, style and dynamics. The cars offered a time proven formula of offering a lot of size, power & comfort for a very reasonable outlay. The only direct competition at the time was from the Ford Zephyr & Zodiac. In order to retain the model cycle renewal timetable that Vauxhall had established meant work on the replacement PD Series began in May 1965, before the PC had even been anounced, with a target introduction of October 1969. In total there were 5 full size styling mock-ups made before the project was cancelled.

DESIGN & ENGINEERING:

The main goals for the PD Series were more interior room, particularly in the rear, better ride & handling and an interior & exterior style to move the car further upmarket in price & specification. To achieve the extra room a 5 ins longer wheelbase was necessary. The upcoming FD Series was already planned to incorporate a 3.3litre luxury variant and was another factor in the need to move the new PD range further upmarket. One plan for the PD was to use a lengthened PC chassis but modified with a rear axle from the upcoming FD using with coils replacing the leaf sprung rear suspension of the PC. The engine choice was to be an upgraded version of the 3.3litre 6 cylinder engine giving a target output of 150bhp (gross), and a 5.4litre Chevrolet “Small Block” V8 to be standard for the Viscount and optional on Cresta models. Another plan was to combine the PD programme with the upcoming Opel Diplomat B replacement programme.

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THE FIRST VAUXHALL PD CLAY MOCK-UP ON THE LUTON VIEWING TERRACE 18.05.65 D-63516 © GM ARCHIVE

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THE VAUXHALL PD CLAY MOCK-UP ON THE LUTON VIEWING TERRACE COMPLETE WITH PB CRESTA WHEEL TRIMS 18.05.65 D-63517 © GM ARCHIVE

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THE VAUXHALL PD CLAY MOCK-UP ON THE LUTON VIEWING TERRACE, THIS USED THE SAME WHEELBASE AS THE UPCOMING PC MUT A MUCH LONGER FRONT OVERHANG & A 3 SIDE WINDOW DESIGN WHICH COULD HAVE MEANT THAT THE FD DOOR COULD HAVE BEEN USED 18.05.65 D-63519 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL 22.03.66, NOTE THE PAPER COVERING THE REAR QUARTER TO EVALUATE THE 3 SIDE WINDOW STYLE. D-68927 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL SUBMITTED BY THE ADVANCED DESIGN STUDIO WHICH COMBINED THE KINKED REAR WINDOW LINE WITH AN ALMOST HILLMAN AVENGER REAR END SHAPE. 22.03.66 D-68929 © GM ARCHIVE

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THE SAME VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL AS IN THE FIRST PICTURE WITH THE PAPER REMOVED BUT STILL RETAINED THE COKE BOTTLE STYLE OF THE PC BUT WAS ALSO HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY GM US BIG CAR STYLING CUES OF THE TIME. 22.03.66 D-68928 © GM ARCHIVE

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IN THIS VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL SOME DESIGN CUES WERE INCORPORATED FROM THE PREVIOUS TWO BUT ADDED A REAR DOOR QUARTER WINDOW 24.03.66 D-68981 © GM ARCHIVE

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A VAUXHALL PD CRESTA FRONT END LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL SHOWING A CURIOUS DESIGN STYLE 24.03.66 D-68982 © GM ARCHIVE

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AN ALTERNATIVE VAUXHALL PD CRESTA FRONT END LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL WHICH IS A FAR CLEANER DESIGN STYLE 24.03.66 D-68982 © GM ARCHIVE

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A LATER VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL WHICH BROADLY RETAINED THE STYLE OF THE PC SERIES WITH A COMLETELY DIFFERENT FRONT END & REVISED REAR 3.08.66 D-71371 © GM ARCHIVE

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THIS VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL WAS LITTLE DIFFERENT FROM THE PC DESIGN BUT WITH A LENGTHENED WHEELBASE 03.08.66 D-71372 © GM ARCHIVE

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ANOTHER VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL WITH SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT REAR WINDOW ARRANGEMENT 03.08.66 D-71373 © GM ARCHIVE

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THIS VAUXHALL PC CRESTA LINE DRAWING WAS USED FOR COMPARISONS 03.08.66 D-71374

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ANOTHER VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL WHICH WAS ESSENTIALLY A STANDARD PC WITH A STRETCHED WHEELBASE AND LENGNGTHENED REAR DOORS 03.08.66 D-71375 © GM ARCHIVE

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A VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL WHICH USED FD FRONT DOORS & INCORPORATED THE "COKE BOTTLE" DESIGN THEME WITH AN ADDITIONAL SIDE WINDOW 03.08.66 D-71376 © GM ARCHIVE

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ANOTHER VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL WHICH WOULD HAVE COMBINED THE CRESTA AND OPEL KAPITAN REPLACEMENT PROGRAMMES 03.08.66 D-71377 © GM ARCHIVE

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THIS IS A PREVIOUS VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL BUT HAS A PAPER SHEET COVERING THE UPPER REAR QUARTER AND SHOWS A REAR DOOR WITH THE QUARTER WINDOW REMOVED 03.08.66 D-71378 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD CRESTA LINE DRAWING PROPOSAL 05.08.66 D-71379 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No1 15.12.66, IN THE BACKGROUND IS A FORD ZODIAC FOR COMPARISON. D-74118 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No1 15.12.66 D-74119 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No1 15.12.66, TO THE RIGHT IN FRONT IS A MERCEDES W108 FOR COMPARISON D-74120 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No1 15.12.66, WITH A SLIGHTLY HOLDEN LOOKING REAR END. D-74121 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No1 15.12.66 D-74122 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No1 15.12.66 WITH A VERY PONTIAC LOOKING FRONT END STYLE. D-74123 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No1 15.12.66 D-74124 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No2, THE FONT GRILLE WAS LESS IMPOSING. 21.12.66 D-74165 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No2, VIEWED FROM THIS SIDE THE CAR HAS AN ALMOST ROLLS ROYCE SILVER SHADOW LOOK TO IT. 21.12.66 D-74171 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No2, THE LH SIDE OF THE SAME CAR HAD AN ALTERNATIVE SIDE TREATMENT. THE REAR END WOULD HAVE FITTED IN WITH THE VICTOR FD STYLE. 21.12.66 D-74172 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No2, RH SIDE. 21.12.66 D-74173 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No2, THE LH SIDE TREATMENT WAS LESS ELEGANT THAN THE RH. 21.12.66 D-74174 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No2 RH, ONE OF THE BEST ANGLES. 21.12.66 D-74178 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE STYLING MODEL No2, THE NEAT REAR STYLE MIRRORED THE HB VIVA & UPCOMING FD VICTOR 21.12.66 D-74178 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE GLASS FIBRE STYLING MODEL No3 IN THE GLASSFIBRE WORKSHOP. 17.03.67 D-75027 © GM ARCHIVE

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A PROPOSAL FOR THE VAUXHALL PD CRESTA INSTRUMENT CLUSTER 23.01.67 D-76402 © GM ARCHIVE

What marked a radical change was that the PD Series was planned to be sold in Vauxhalls biggest single export market – Canada – where the car would be sold through Pontiac dealers. This was reflected in some of the full size mock-ups which used distinctly Pontiac influenced front end design.

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE GLASSFIBRE STYLING MODEL No3 ON THE DESIGN TERRACE VIEWING AREA 05.05.67 D-76958 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE GLASSFIBRE STYLING MODEL No3 ON THE DESIGN TERRACE VIEWING AREA 05.05.67 D-76959 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE GLASSFIBRE STYLING MODEL No3 ON THE DESIGN TERRACE VIEWING AREA 05.05.67 D-76960 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE GLASSFIBRE STYLING MODEL No3 ON THE DESIGN TERRACE VIEWING AREA, NOTE THE DIFFERENT HEADLIGHT ARRANGEMENTS 05.05.67 D-76961 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE GLASSFIBRE STYLING MODEL No3 ON THE DESIGN TERRACE VIEWING AREA 05.05.67 D-76962 © GM ARCHIVE

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A FULL SIZE VAUXHALL PD CRESTA STYLING BUCK WITH 2 DIFFERNT FONT HEADLIGHT ARRANGEMENTS HENCE THE CENTRAL MIRROR FOR THE PICTURE. NOTE THE VERY PONTIAC STYLE. 11.05.67 D-77057 © GM ARCHIVE

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A FULL SIZE VAUXHALL PD CRESTA STYLING BUCK WITH 2 DIFFERNT FONT HEADLIGHT ARRANGEMENTS HENCE THE CENTRAL MIRROR FOR THE PICTURE 11.05.67 D-77058 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE GLASSFIBRE STYLING MODEL No3 WITH THE VAUXHALL LETTERING ON THE BONNET IN THE VIEWING AUDITORIUM 05.05.67 D-777841 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE GLASSFIBRE STYLING MODEL No3 WITH THE VAUXHALL LETTERING ON THE BONNET IN THE VIEWING AUDITORIUM 05.05.67 D-777842 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE GLASSFIBRE STYLING MODEL No3 IN THE VIEWING AUDITORIUM 05.05.67 D-777843 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE GLASSFIBRE STYLING MODEL No3 IN THE VIEWING AUDITORIUM 05.05.67 D-777844 © GM ARCHIVE

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VAUXHALL PD VISCOUNT FULL SIZE GLASSFIBRE STYLING MODEL No3 IN THE VIEWING AUDITORIUM 05.05.67 D-777845 © GM ARCHIVE

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THE LAST VAUXHALL VISCOUNT PD STYLING MOCK UP IN THE LUTON DESIGN STUDIO 04.68 © GM ARCHIVE

Ultimately the PD project was cancelled because of a number of factors – the main was the investment needed to bring the car to production, Vauxhall was making a profit during this period but much of the spare capital investment had been used for the FD Victor which was new from the ground up, including a completely new engine. Whilst the PC Cresta had got off to a good start in late 1965 by 1968 sales had tailed off and the upmarket Viscount had failed to dent prestige car sales from competitors such as Jaguar and Rover. It's unfortunate because the car was far more elegant & attractive than the PC. The project was officially cancelled in 1969 which was not a good year for Vauxhall – it lost over £9m and was the reason David Hegland was removed as Managing Director.