Cohort Outtake: Vauxhall Firenza – Euro Road Runner

Robadr found something rather out of the ordinary in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s a Vauxhall Firenza, made between 1971 and 1975. It was a somewhat pathetic attempt by Vauxhall to compete with the Ford Capri, which was a huge hit in Europe. But unlike Ford, which gave the Capri a completely new body with proper sport coupe proportions, Vauxhall just put a semi-fastback coupe roof on its rather pedestrian Viva, which was closely related to the Opel Kadett.

At least Opel’s Capri-fighter, the Manta, was based on the new Ascona platform, even if it didn’t get a proper new body either.

As was the case with the Capri, the Firenza was available with a wide range of engines, everything from the basic 1159cc pushrod four from the Viva (virtually identical to the Kadett engine), a larger 1256cc version, and a variety of sizes of the newer OHC Vauxhall four, from 1598 to 2279cc. The latter made it a hot car, given its light weight. It was a bargain considering its performance.

The Firenza was also sold in Canada, but as just Firenza, minus the Vauxhall, sold at GM Canada’s Pontiac-Firenza dealers. We covered that here.

Given its status as a budget Euro-muscle car, and its post-coupe body, this comes off something like a European Road Runner.