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1974MY: From September 1973, the Victor range was badged either 1800 or 2300, the Deluxe & SL designations were dropped, all models now featured a colour keyed interior with reclining front seats, new soft padded door trims & arm rests, passenger sun visor vanity mirror, low pressure brake warning light, electric screen washers, twin horns and matt black wiper arms. Victor 1800 models were fitted with 175SR X 13 radial tyres; the rear panel was now body colour on all Victors with a Griffin badge mounted in the centre and new style engine badges on the boot lid. A new exterior colour range was introduced with a choice of 10 for 1800 and 12 for 2300 models. The Victor 3300 Estate was discontinued – replaced by the Ventora Estate. A new thermostatically controlled air intake system was fitted to all engines, a new viscous coupling cooling fan, a revised gearbox with slightly lower intermediate ratios, the final drive ratio for the Victor 1800 Estate was raised from 4.1:1 to 3.9:1, new emissions compliant carburettors – Stromberg 175CD-2SE (SET for automatic transmission) for 2300, and Zenith 36IVE for 1800 models. Power & torque outputs remained the same. The VX4/90 models included the Victor revisions plus perforated Ambla seat trim, continental style front door armrests, a new gear lever centre console, a matt black rear panel, overdrive transmission was deleted, the rear axle ratio was raised from 3.7:1 to 3.455:1 and from engine number 3138265 a new cylinder head was introduced with the areas around the valves machined away, this change raised power output from 110bhp @ 5200rpm to 116bhp @ 5000rpm & torque from 140ft.lb @ 3000rpm to 145lb.ft @ 3000rpm. Inertia reel seat belts were fitted in place of the manual versions. Colour choice was increased from 9 to 13 and the lower chrome body moulding was deleted, at the same time rubber inserts were fitted to both front & rear bumpers and chrome wheel arch mouldings. The Ventora Saloon was joined by a new Estate version which replaced the Victor 3300SL Estate, the lower part of the new door trim were carpet covered and fitted with map pockets. The front grille was now black with a smaller centrally mounted Griffin badge in red instead of black, a brushed aluminium rear panel used a small centrally mounted Griffin badge as per other models, the carburettor was revised to a Zenith 42WIAET (ETD with automatic transmission) and the option of overdrive was deleted. The choice of colours increased from 9 to 13.

1975MY: Apart from minor colour changes there no updates to the specification of any models

1976MY: Only produced for 4 months with no changes to specifications.

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6. VAUXHALL V72 - 94000 FE VICTOR & VENTORA SPECIAL EDITIONS

When the Vauxhall Transcontinental range was launched the level of standard equipment was generally meagre across the whole Victor range, almost anything a customer would want was available but only as an extra cost option. Vauxhalls stated policy at the time was, supposedly, if an optional extra was specified by more than 50% of buyers then it should be made standard fitment, this was bit hit and miss but it did mean from October 1972, for the 1973 model year, all Victor Deluxe models came with the SL interior with individual front seats.

In November 1971 Vauxhall produced its first “white sale” car – the Viva Gold Riband, followed in 1972 with the Viva X14. The formula was simple, take a standard model and then add in some popular extras and offer the car at a special discounted price. Both the Viva models were extremely successful and sold out quickly so with FE sales hardly setting the world alight Vauxhall decided to try the same thing with the Victor & Ventora.

The first of the special edition FE models was the “Transcontinental ES”. Although it was badged as a Victor it was marketed without mentioning the Victor name directly and was, launched in March 1973. The ES was based on the Vauxhall Victor 1800 Deluxe Saloon with the addition of 10 extras to the package, these were: brushed nylon seating with reclining front seats & head restraints, a cigarette lighter, hazard warning lights, side repeater flashers, a vinyl roof covering, electric screen-wash, reversing lights, SL wheel trims and 175SR x 13 radial tyres. It was also offered as an ES 2300 Automatic even though the standard Victor 1800 was available with automatic transmission as an option, perhaps this was because Vauxhall knew the Victor 1800 automatic was painfully slow as well as being very thirsty. The ES was available in a choice of two colours, the rather gaudy Sunspot (yellow) or Garnet Starmist metallic (at no extra cost).

The Ventora V.I.P. was launched in May 1973 and was limited to a production run of only 250 cars with each one having a specific numbered plaque on the dashboard. It was only available in black and came as standard with black wheels with chrome wheel trim rings with standard Ventora hub caps, front fog lamps, brushed nylon trim with reclining front seats & head restraints, special fabric headlining, map reading light, locking fuel cap, factory fitted mudflaps and a factory fitted radio with electric aerial and drivers & passenger side door mirrors. Only one press advert was published and the brochure was a not very high class 2-page folder (if anyone has a copy and can scan it I will upload it). The VIP Ventora today is very rare indeed, only 6 are known to have survived.

Neither of these limited-edition versions of the FE were as successful as the Viva Gold Riband or the X14 but they were considerably more expensive and the market for any large cars was depressed because of the prevailing economic conditions. The last few VIP Ventora models were registered by Vauxhall and then sold off through trade auctions in December 1973.

There was, however, a television commercial which included the Transcontinental ES and the VIP Ventora, the problem was it was Vauxhalls first television advert and was quite possibly the worst commercial ever - for anything - have a look for yourself! 

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The final limited edition FE was the Vauxhall 2300S which was launched at the London Motor Show in October 1974. It was marketed as a separate model and had no Victor badging anywhere on the car. It was based around the standard Victor 2300 but was offered in a choice of Light Blue Metallic or Bright Green Metallic, both unique colours at the time, with contrasting twin coach-lines, black wheels with chrome trim rings and hub caps, chrome wheel arch mouldings, passenger & driver’s door mirrors, Ventora style seats with fabric seat facings, a vinyl roof, manual or optional automatic transmission and a radio cassette player with 2 foot well mounted speakers. Endorsed by James Hunt in the brochure & advertising the car was one of the best looking of the FE models up to this time and sold out much quicker than the earlier special editions. It was also the first Vauxhall to be factory fitted with a Radio / Cassette player. Inflation in Britain was getting out of control at the time, so much so that the special price list for the 2300S issued in October 1974 had to be reprinted in December.

Vauxhall Victor, VX4/90 & Ventora engine power & torque output:

 

1759cc = 77bhp (net) @ 5200rpm / 97lb-ft @ 3000rpm (Comp Ratio = 8.5:1)

1759cc = 90bhp (gross) @ 5500rpm / 104lb-ft @ 3000rpm (Comp Ratio = 8.5:1)

1759cc = 73bhp (net) @ 5200rpm / 94lb-ft @ 3000rpm (Comp Ratio = 7.3:1) Export model option
1759cc = 86bhp (gross) @ 5500rpm / 101lb-ft @ 3000rpm (Comp Ratio = 7.3:1) Export model option

2279cc = 100bhp (net) @ 5200rpm / 138lb-ft @ 3000rpm (Comp Ratio = 8.5:1)

2279cc = 114bhp (gross) @ 5500rpm / 148lb-ft @ 3000rpm (Comp Ratio = 8.5:1)
2279cc = 89bhp (net) @ 5200rpm / 130lb-ft @ 2900rpm (Comp Ratio = 7.3:1) Export model option
2279cc = 101bhp (gross) @ 4800rpm / 138lb-ft @ 2900rpm (Comp Ratio = 7.3:1) Export model option

2279cc = 85bhp (net) @ 4800rpm / 115lb-ft @ 2800rpm (Comp Ratio = 7.3:1) Canadian version – not produced
2279cc = 100bhp (gross) @ 4800rpm / 126lb-ft @ 2700rpm (Comp Ratio = 7.3:1) Canadian version – not produced
2279cc = 110bhp (net) @ 5200rpm / 140lb-ft @ 3000rpm (Comp Ratio = 8.5:1) Twin carburettors >08.73
2279cc = 122bhp (gross) @ 5500rpm / 150lb-ft @ 3200rpm (Comp Ratio = 8.5:1) Twin carburettors>08.73
2279cc = 116bhp (net) @ 5000rpm / 145lb-ft @ 3000rpm (Comp Ratio = 8.5:1) Twin carburettors 09.73>

2794cc = 105bhp (net) @ 4600rpm / 162lb-ft @ 2600rpm (Comp Ratio = 8.5:1) Export model option
2794cc = 121bhp (gross) @ 4800rpm / 171lb-ft @ 2600rpm (Comp Ratio = 8.5:1) Export model option

3294cc = 123bhp (net) @ 4600rpm / 176.1lb-ft @ 2400rpm (Comp Ratio = 8.5:1)
3294cc = 140.2bhp (gross) @ 4800rpm / 185.7lb-ft @ 2400rpm (Comp Ratio = 8.5:1) 
 

7. VAUXHALL V72 - 94000 FE VENTORA IN SALOON CAR RACING - BIG                                                                                                                                   BERTHA:

Vauxhall had planned for some time an even more luxurious top flight version of the FE Series to sit above the 3.3litre Ventora, these plans included the use of a Holden 4.2litre V8 engine in place of the Vauxhall inline 6-cylinder power unit. The concept was the Vauxhall Viscount V8 Show Car and the completed, roadgoing, vehicle was scheduled to be the star attraction on the Vauxhall stand at the October 1973 Earls Court Motor Show and to gauge public reaction to the concept. However, the looming fuel crisis and Britain’s dire economic situation persuaded Vauxhall Management to withdraw the car at the last moment and it was the very last moment, the car was in the back of a truck parked in a compound at the back of Earls Court. Unfortunately, the Viscount FE was never publicly shown at all, a great shame, and not knowing how long the fuel crisis would last or what the long-term effects would have on car buying habits the idea for the V8 car was dropped. Hastily arranged to take the place of the Viscount concept was a V8 racing version of the Ventora. The idea for the race car had been to use the concept for a “Super Saloon” car to raise the profile of the proposed V8 production car. John Taylor, Vauxhall Assistant Director of Design, had drafted some sketches of a proposed race car and these were passed to an outside designer and aerodynamic expert, as well as a friend of Bill Blydenstein, Frank Costin. He progressed the Taylor sketches into an almost wholly glass fibre replica of the Ventora body shell but one that was 10 inches wider. Bill Blydenstein then engineered the car with a 5 litre Repco Holden V8 producing just under 500bhp driving through a Borg-Warner T10 gearbox to a 3.5:1 Salisbury Powrlok differential. Suspension was double wishbone at the front, with a De Dion axle at the rear; brakes were from AP racing, and wheels were 12 x 15 front, 15 x 15 rear. The finished silver car looked sensational and was indeed a major attraction on the Vauxhall stand at the 1973 Motor Show. It had been christened “Big Bertha” by the car’s driver, the late great Gerry Marshall. On the track the car was a real handful to drive even for an ace driver like Marshall, it did however convincingly win three out of the six races it entered but a near fateful 140mph accident due to brake failure wrote the car off and the parts were then used to build what would be nicknamed “Baby Bertha” which was a smaller car based around the Firenza body shell. 

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