Vauxhall was founded in 1857 by Scottish marine engineer Alexander Wilson in Vauxhall, London. It was first named Alex Wilson and Company until 1897 and then it became Vauxhall Iron Works until 1907 when it became Vauxhall Motors - as it is still known today. After starting out building pumps and marine engines it built its very first car in 1903 and in 1905 it moved all production out of London and up to Luton where it was able to expand its operations.
Vauxhall attributes a lot of its early success to the quality of its early engine designs which did extremely well in the old RAC and Scottish Reliability Trials where it their engines performed strongly uphill and was way ahead of other vehicles in speed trials on a circuit.
In spite of its pedigree and reputation for making excellent cars, after World War One, the business found demand was down for expensive vehicles and they looked for a major strategic partner to help them continue to thrive.
On 16 November 1925, Vauxhall was acquired by General Motors Corporation for US$2.5 million.
During the Second World War car production at Luton was replaced with the business working on the new Churchill tank which they successfully took from design to production in under 12 months.
Across the war period, the Luton operation produced around 5,600 Churchill tanks and 250,000 lorries to support the war effort.