Once Captain Haddock had been deposited into the rear seat of a Cadillac Type 75 taxi after his chaotic ride on the back of a cow, the duo rushed towards the airport in order to catch their flight to Kathmandu. On the way they passed another green car. This was the Vauxhall Velox. This was a large car manufactured by Vauxhall in UK which competed against other similar large six cylinder cars like the Ford Zephyr.
The Velox was manufactured from 1948, when it was introduced at the London Motor Show till 1965. These cars mirrored the American styling more closely as compared to other European manufacturers. Especially from 1957 onward when the Velox PA was introduced. The car which Captain Haddock and Tintin passed on their way to the airport was a Vauxhall Velox EIP which was the second generation car introduced in 1951. The Velox, which means rapid of swift, was manufactured in UK, Australia and New Zealand. The EIP was manufactured from 1951 to 1957. These were offered in a number of body shapes like: –
- 4-door saloons.
- 2-door tourer.
- 2-door coupe utility which was a pickup.
The Velox EIP had a modern integral construction and had a traditional three box shape. The Australian built utility vehicles had a separate chassis and body construction for more ruggedness. These cars were called the EBP instead of the EIP. One of the important facelifts came in 1955 when the trafficators were replaced with flashing indicator lights. Keeping with American design philosophy, the indicators at the rear were red as in American cars instead of amber. For people who may not know, trafficators were manually operated metallic arrows mounted near the front windows which were used to indicate the direction in which one intended to turn. One could use hand signals instead. Traffic was less dense and speeds were low, so one did not need a flashing light to attract attention of the other drivers.
Though this was an upmarket six cylinder model, such basic amenities like wind-up windows were introduced only in 1956. It took yet another year for Vauxhall to introduce electric wipers for the windscreen. The Vauxhall Velox was a large car at 4,382 mm (172.5″) long, 1,702 mm (67″) wide and 1,613 mm (63.5″) tall. It weighed in at 1,021 kg (2,251 lbs).
The car was powered by a 2,276 cc (138.89 cu-inch) naturally aspirated six cylinder inline petrol engine that produced 55 BHP at 3,000 rpm. The engine breathed through 2 Over Head Valves per cylinder. All the power and torque produced by this front mounted engine was transmitted to the rear wheels through a three speed gearbox using a single dry plate friction clutch. This engine could push the Velox to a top speed of 129.4 km/h (80.4 mph). It could accelerate the Vauxhall Velox from 0 to 60 mph (0-96 km/h) in a leisurely 21.4 seconds. Stopping power was provided by hydraulically operated drum brakes on all four wheels.
This car has been shown in one of my favourite movies – “The World’s Fastest Indian”, which is a biopic on the New Zealander Bert Munro. He worked against all odds to set the world record on an “Indian” bike on the salt planes of Bonneville. The car that he is seen driving around in New Zealand is a Vauxhall Velox. These cars also made quite an impact on the punk rock scene in New Zealand.