Me and my motor - Mike Edwards - Vauxhall Firenza

Mike Edwards has lavished years of love and attention on his Vauxhall Firenza

My first car was a Vauxhall Viva, which I bought shortly after passing my driving test, then progressed onto a selection of other cars until I acquired this Vauxhall High-Performance (HP) Firenza in 1986, writes Mike Edwards who lives near Crewe.

It was a special model produced in small numbers – just 204 – by Vauxhall in the mid-1970s, and although it received good reviews in the motoring press it was launched at the time of the energy crisis and the three-day week, and suddenly no-one wanted a coupe with a large engine.

The car quickly gained the nickname of the “Droopsnoot Firenza”, because of the sloping shape of the aerodynamic nosecone. A highly-developed version of the car was raced very successfully by the late Gerry Marshall in the 1970s.

I bought mine from an ad in the Auto Trader in 1986, and it appeared to be in reasonable condition on first inspection. But as the MOT expiry date approached, a closer look revealed rust in much of the car.

I took it off the road and spent the next ten years gathering replacement parts and stripping the car down, then sent the bare body-shell to my local Vauxhall dealer to be repaired and painted. On its return in 1997, I put the car back together over the next twelve months and have been taking it to classic car shows ever since. The car certainly attracts attention, I think mainly because it’s unusual and an eye-catching shape.

I am a member of two different car clubs – the Droopsnoot Group is a national club specialising in the HP Firenza, the Sportshatch estate and the twin-cam Chevettes, and provides specialised technical advice and spare parts as well as attending shows all around the country.

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I mainly display at shows in the North West as a member of the South Cheshire Collectors Car Club, which was formed in the late 80s by a group of local enthusiasts to concentrate more on the social side of owning a classic car, and has been going strong ever since. We have a monthly meeting in a local pub, an annual car show, and various social events during the year including skittles evenings and trips to other car club events.

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And for more information about the Droopsnoot Group and the South Cheshire Classic Car Club, go and

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