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Vauxhall PC Cresta & Viscount

Published: 16th Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Vauxhall PC Cresta & Viscount

Fast Facts

  • Engine: 3294cc/6-cyl
  • Power (bhp/rpm): 140/4800 bhp/rpm
  • Torque (lb ft@rpm): 130/1500 lb ft@rpm)
  • Top speed: 105mph
  • 0-60mph: 10.6sec
  • Fuel consumption: 22mpg
  • Transmission: 3/4sp man/2/3-sp auto
  • Length: 15ft 7in (4.75m)
  • Width (inc mirrors): 5ft 10in (1.77m)
  • Weight: 2709lb (1229kg)
  • Books: The Vauxhall File by Eric Dymock. ISBN 978-0-9554909-0-3
  • Clubs: Vauxhall Cresta Club, 01604 870 740, http://www.vauxhallcrestaclub.co.uk
  • Websites: Vauxhall Cresta Club, 01329 283 817, http://www.vauxhallcrestaclub.co.uk
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If you’re looking for a left-fi eld luxurious classic saloon that’s great for towing and will cover even the longest journeys in complete comfort, welcome to the Vauxhall PC Cresta and Viscount. Launched in late 1965 to replace the Cresta PB as a rival to Ford’s Zodiac and Rover’s P5, the PC was a slice of pure Americana, just like its predecessor. With its big, brash and boxy lines, the PC was a true executive motor for those who had money and power and weren’t afraid to shout about it. For those on a relative budget, there was the well-equipped Cresta – but for those who could blow £1458 on something truly luxurious there was the Viscount, which came with just about everything possible as standard when launched in June ‘66. It’s getting on for four decades since the last PC rolled off the production lines, and in that time these big barges are generally now out of favour, so you can pick one up amazingly cheaply – when you can fi nd one. If you do buy one, make sure it’s as complete as possible because it’s now getting tricky to source some parts even on a used basis – and you can’t rely on fi nding much new-old stock at autojumbles any more. Joining the Vauxhall Cresta Club is essential if you want to track down your own example, but if you decide to take the plunge, just make sure your garage is of the XXL variety to cater for it.

What to look for?

Unsurprisingly, it’s corrosion that’s the Cresta’s biggest enemy, which is why you need to check all the usual areas for corrosion. That means analysing the sills, wheelarches, valances, door bottoms and bootlid edges; it’s likely there’ll be fi ller in some of these areas. The bonnet hinge boxes can also rot out, along with the seam between the inner and outer front wings. Lift the bonnet and check the scuttle, as it tends to rot on either side; the headlamp surrounds also corrode, so see what state they’re in. Viscounts got a vinyl roof, so check for bubbling, which could mean major corrosion is hidden from view. If the bodywork is solid, there’s little else to worry about; engines are strong and the back axles are pretty much bombproof. Transmissions are also incredibly durable, whether auto or manual. However, while missing or damaged trim won’t keep a PC off the road, it can cause headaches, as sourcing replacement bits isn’t easy. Exterior brightwork is especially problematic to fi nd, as is interior trim; on this point, expect to see cracking of the wood-effect plastic trim that adorns the dash, plus shrinking of the headlining. At least the leather fi tted to most cars is very tough, but if there’s any damage you’ll probably need to get a trimmer in – and that’s when things can get costly.

Values

Restoration projects change hands for around £500, but cars that are beyond saving are usually priced closer to £150, assuming they’re more or less complete and capable of yielding plenty of useful parts. A decent roadworthy Cresta or Viscount is around £2500; there’s no difference in values between the two trim levels. At the top end, you wouldn’t expect to pay any more than £5000 – but to secure that sort of money the car will have to be something pretty special. Incidentally, most Crestas were De Luxe; a single headlamped, bench seated model was made but virtually extinct now.

Driving one

If you’re after an agile, sporty number for enjoying empty B-road blasts, this won’t be the car for you. However, if you want a classic that’s a slogger; something that can soak up long journeys without murmur, the PC could be just what you’ve been looking for. That old Chevrolet-derived straight-six is smooth and torquey and will go on forever, but it’s hardly what you’d call frugal; you’ll be doing well to see much over 20mpg even on a run (although overdrive helps). Crestas and Viscounts could be ordered with manual or automatic transmissions; in the case of the former it was a three-speed column (rare) or four on the fl oor unit (plus optional overdrive on all) while the auto was originally a lacklusture two-speed Powerglide unit until October 1970, when a more responsive and better suited three-speed GM-built gearbox came along. Vauxhall ace tuner the late great Bill Blydenstein used to produce modded cylinder heads, which along with a 28/36 Weber carb, used to make this old wartime lump fl y. Bits can be found at autojumbles!

Evolution

Oct 1965

Cresta PC replaces the PB edition, with a 3.3-litre straight-six engine only.

Jun 1966

Viscount arrives; it’s a high-spec Cresta with vinyl roof, leather trim automatic gearbox (with optional manual), power steering and electric windows.

Jan 1967

Good looking Martin Walter estate car conversion is now offered.

Feb 1968

Estate conversion is discontinued.

Aug 1970

Minor changes to interior and exterior trim.

Jul 1972

Final Cresta and Viscount are built.



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