Vauxhall’s Corsa Griffin

29 October 2018

VAUXHALL is introducing a highly-specified version of its Corsa that boasts many of the features more normally associated with premium executive models.

The newcomer takes the name of Corsa Griffin, after the Vauxhall emblem with which the brand has been synonymous for more than 100 years.

The company, which is now owned by Peugeot-Citroen, has introduced the Griffin model to celebrate a quarter of a century of the Corsa.

Tracing its history all the way back to its creation by a Vauxhall employee in 1915, the Griffin badge remains a uniquely British heraldic symbol, unlike the company’s Opel-badged models elsewhere in the world.

The new limited-edition version is distinguished by striking 16-inch black alloy wheels plus a black roof, door mirrors, front grille logo bar and dark tinted rear windows.

There are Griffin badges on the front wings and a set of Griffin-branded floor mats for the driver and front passenger. Additional equipment fitted as standard includes satellite navigation, front fog lights, air conditioning, heated front seats, leather-trimmed and heated steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers and an automatic anti-dazzle rear view mirror.

Although Vauxhall says it is keen for all Griffin versions to be instantly recognisable as such, as part of a personalisation package the exterior colour of the car becomes customisable.

There are four versions, with a choice of three or four door body styles and a 1.4-litre petrol with two power outputs.

These are a 90bhp version and a less powerful 75bhp engine that can achieve 50mpg economy with a CO2 rating of 130g/km.

The Corsa’s Griffin name has origins dating back to the 12th century

when the Plantagenet mercenary, Fulk le Breant, was granted lands by King John.

 It was his property that became known as Fulk's Hall, then corrupted into Fawkes Hall, later Foxhall and ultimately Vauxhall where the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens were opened in 1661.

In 1857 Alexander Wilson set up a business making marine engines, the Vauxhall Iron Works, named after its location near the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.

Then in 1903 the firm embarked upon the manufacture of cars, two years before Vauxhall Motors relocated to Luton in Bedfordshire in 1905.

Vauxhall adopted the Griffin as its logo in 1915. The chief engineer and designer, Laurence Pomeroy, offered the prize of two guineas for the design of a new symbol. The brief was for a heraldic design and the prize was won by a young apprentice called Harry Varley who proposed the image of a griffin, a mythical creature depicted on the coat of arms of Fulk le Breant, driving a “V” flag into the ground.

Once the Griffin had been selected, the logo itself evolved over the years, with the design becoming progressively simpler and more graphic.

Under the ownership of General Motors of America there were strong moves to persuade Vauxhall to adopt the universal name of Opel but it remained stoically British with a strong sense of history.

The Corsa Griffin aims to carry on that tradition despite General Motors being American, and new owner Peugeot-Citroen being French.