Vauxhall first started out as the "Vauxhall Iron Works" based in London, specialising in marine engineering. By 1903 Vauxhall had branched out into making cars, its pre-WW1 models being luxury grand tourers. Famous Vauxhall cars from this era included the Prince Henry and 30/98 models.
General Motors acquired Vauxhall in 1925 and so the cars started to become more "mass market" and were built in greater numbers. Following WW2 Vauxhall launched a series of successful models such as the Velox, Victor, Cresta and Viva. Today the Vauxhall name is only used in Britain, all export models being badged as Opel.
The Vauxhall Iron Works was established at Vauxhall in 1857 to supply steam engines for the working boats on the River Thames. Experimental work with petrol engines began in 1902 and the first motorcars were made the following year. These were light vehicles, more American than European in concept, with front-mounted single-cylinder horizontal engines, side-tiller steering and single chain drive. Output was about car one per week. A more substantial 12-14hp car with a 3-cylinder vertical engine was brought out towards the end of 1904, and this was joined by a 7-9hp 3-cylinder model the following January.
Vauxhall moved to Luton during 1905 and was soon making cars of decided sporting potential of which the 'Prince Henry' model, precursor of the vintage 30-98 sports car, was the prime example. General Motors of America took control of Vauxhall in 1926, thus securing the firm's future.