Vauxhall and Classic & Sports Car magazine are teaming up to support one of the 1960’s most important Griffin-badged competition cars in a variety of historic touring car races this season.
The well-known Vauxhall VX4/90 started life on Vauxhall’s press fleet, before making its debut at Goodwood’s St Mary’s Trophy in 1963 driven by tuning legend, Bill Blydenstein, one of the key players in Vauxhall’s subsequent glory-years in Touring Car competition.
Current owner and gentleman racer, Paul Clayson had the car restored to its near-original state in 2013 and Vauxhall Heritage has since provided race support. For 2015, Paul and the car will make their season debut at Silverstone on Saturday, April 4 in the Touring Greats Allstars race. They’ll then be back at Silverstone on April 25 for the BTCC ’58-66 race and at Donington Festival from May 2-4. Other venues are under review, including Goodwood Revival.
James Page, Editor of Classic & Sports Car magazine is a huge fan of the historic VX4/90 and was one of the first drivers to test it on track: ‘We’ve followed the Vauxhall for two seasons now and have been impressed by the way Paul has developed its chassis and powertrain, while staying faithful to the car’s originality. C&SC is looking forward to covering Paul’s progress this season, and we wish him the very best success.’
Denis Chick, Vauxhall’s Communications Director, was equally excited about supporting the car once more: ‘We’re passionate about Vauxhall’s heritage and its long and successful history in motorsport, so we have a great combination with Paul and his iconic Vauxhall race car. Vauxhall Heritage will be behind Paul through the season, and between ourselves and C&SC we’re sure that this car will receive the recognition it deserves.’
After its Goodwood debut in 1963, 812 FNM was campaigned successfully in the European Saloon Car Championship, before being transformed into a rally car for the 1964 season. In 2013, after a painstaking restoration, 812 FNM was on the grid once more for the 50th anniversary of the St Mary’s Trophy at Goodwood Revival, driven by Paul and former Vauxhall Touring Car driver, John Cleland.
Paul Clayson acquired the car looking rather the worse for wear some years ago and he and ex-Vauxhall/Blydenstein man, Gerry Johnstone, embarked on a mission to bring it back to its ’63 Touring Car appearance. Now producing 140bhp, the car retains its Lawrencetune inlet and exhaust manifolds, twin Weber 42DCOEs and bespoke cylinder head.
‘When I took on the project,’ said Clayson, ‘I never aimed to win races, but I did want to do justice to what is a very important car, both to Vauxhall’s racing heritage, and the history of Touring Cars. I’m hoping that 2015 will really put us on the map.’