Vauxhall's bid to

outshine the Cortina

Vauxhall Victor 101 FC

IN the mid-1960s things were beginning to take on a more modern look in the car showrooms, especially in the Vauxhall fold which was basking in its success with the little Viva.

But in the mid-sized saloon market something of a quantum leap took place with the launch of the Victor 101 FC series.

The Victor line had experienced some troubled times with some dire corrosion problems with the FA series and, to some extent, the succeeding FB model - so something better had to follow.

Utilising the same track and wheelbase as the FB, the 101 was completely restyled with a four-door body which was wider by half and inch and longer by one-and-a-half inches.

A prominent feature was the curvature of the body side, including the glass which was included for two important reasons, these being four inches more shoulder width and a considerable increase in the body's torsional rigidity.

The design was remarkably advanced with use of box section fore and aft roof rails, resulting in the all-welded structure being an impressive 70 per cent more rigid than the preceding model.

To try to leave behind the old rust problems that had beset the Victor, Vauxhall applied sealant to both sides of the floorpan and sprayed a similar concoction into the box section sills.

An innovative feature was the provision of detachable splash shields behind the front wheels which stopped road dirt from building up at the rear of the front wing against the front door pillar where it had done so much damage in the past.

The bodystyle was a strange mix of European and America and featured that sharp-suited look that went with the times. Under the bonnet was the familiar 1,594cc four-cylinder petrol engine which had 86mph in its sights.

However, fuel consumption was a sad 23.8mpg which could have been better.

But did Vauxhall get rid of the rust? Not really, because although the car was well protected underneath the red ruin hit the tops of the wings near to an almost knife-edge strip of anodysed aluminium bright trim which ran the length of the car.

Casting my mind back to my early days in motoring I remember driving one of these cars when it was a couple of years old and can recall how the old glitzy and quirky Vauxhall way of doing things had been toned down to a more sober approach.

The curved doors were very thin and never closed with the reassuring clunk of the older Victors.

Howeverit was a capable drive, but certainly did not measure up to its main rival, the Ford Cortina.

The range expanded with the addition of a VX4/90 performance version and a veryuseful estate.

The 101 FC was replaced by the much better looking FD series Victor in 1967 and few survived the onset of terminal corrosion.

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