The week-end of the Veteran Car Run necessitates a spacious vehicle able to transport the driver to Hyde Park and then make the pilgrimage to Brighton, preferably avoiding the veterans’ route, to convey him home afterwards, always assuming his motor car of at least 57 summers has enabled him to arrive at the historic watering-place. This year, mine did—and I was pleased to have as tender-car the latest Vauxhall Cresta Friary estate car.
This is not only a splendidly spacious vehicle but one of the most handsome of its breed, its low build being further enhanced by recent improvements to the rear-end styling. It is also a well-equipped and finished car, in which heater and screen-washers are provided as standard. The new power front disc brakes are very reassuring and so light to apply that it is advisable to back off on the pedal to ensure a smooth stop. They are available as an extra for £21 17s. 6d. and I should imagine everyone will specify them automatically.
The Vauxhall Cresta’s 2.6-litre 6-cylinder engine gives a maximum output of 113 b.h.p. (increased earlier this year from 82 b.h.p.) and this provides a middle-gear indicated maximum of 60 m.p.h. and ample speed in top for this type of vehicle, obtained smoothly and silently. Three types of transmission are available—a 3-speed all-synchromesh gearbox, ditto with Laycock overdrive providing two extra speeds, or Hydra-matic automatic transmission. My Crests had the first-named, with steering-column lever giving rather lumpy changes. The steering is light if somewhat spongy, road-holding good and visibility excellent. The back seat folds away to give 68 in. of floor space and loading is made easy by a top-hinged tail door only 25 in. above ground level. Normally this good-looking Cresta Friary is a comfortable 6-seater with 30 cu. ft. of luggage space but with the back seat folded down you have 52 cu. ft. for luggage, or sleeping space for two tall people.
If I were able to fill my garage with “a dozen ideal cars” a Vauxhall Cresta Friary would be amongst them. It is really an extraordinarily useful car, very nicely finished, and ranks in my opinion as a good purchase at the all-in price of £1,348. A great many approved extras are available for it and the test car had a good radio, fog-lamps, reversing lamps, Britax safety belts for two front-seat occupants and an anti-mist panel in the back window.