The Vauxhall Cresta PA estate by Friary, a mess?

The Vauxhall Cresta PA estate by Friary, From 1959 until 1962 Vauxhall produced an estate version of the PA Cresta. The design was done by Vauxhall but tooling costs did not justify making them in house. Consequently, the work was subcontracted to Friary motors in Basingstoke.

The Vauxhall Cresta

The Vauxhall Cresta was made between 1954 and 1972. During this time it went through some radical design changes.

The Cresta E

The Cresta E had a 1950’s look, that mimicked American cars of the time. The E version launched in 1954 with a 2262 cc six-cylinder engine. The Cresta E had a good specification, with leather upholstery, an optional two tone paint job, heater, electric clock and boot light. Top speed was 82mph.

The Cresta PA

Perhaps the most radical design shift occurred with the PA. Notably, the late fifties was the era of fins on everything and the PA was no exception.

The Lockheed brakes had 9″ drums all around. Drum brakes meant that you had to make an appointment to stop.

Motorway cruising with a three speed gearbox was a nightmare. Unfortunately ,they still used the earlier six cylinder engine. Notably, the enormous front bench seat meant that the handbrake and gear change were dash mounted. These were stylish and attractive cars, however the fins dated pretty fast.

The Vauxhall “Fry-up” Estate.

The Vauxhall Friary Estate was a bit of a car crash, to coin a phrase. They had an enormous cargo capacity but the grafted on rear did the look of the car no favours. Apparently the Queen had one…. they were only produced for a few years, however quite a few have survived, unlike some other 1950’s rot boxes.

Vauxhall Friary models

Models of the Friary are fairly scarce, Oxford models have released them in 00 and 0 Gauge. Otherwise it is down to limited run and expensive models by Pathfinder.

Oxford models Cresta Friary models

The Oxford models are £5.95 for 1/76 scale and £30 for 1/43 scale.

Pathfinder Friary models.

The Pathfinder models are £175 for 1/43 scale

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