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Concept Car of the Week: Vauxhall VX Lightning

Fri, 16 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0800

Both Ford and Vauxhall celebrated their 100-year anniversaries in 2003, but despite much of the attention being focused on the American giant, GM's UK subsidiary unveiling its own birthday present: the VX Lightning.

Revealed at the Dorchester Hotel in London in May, the Vauxhall Lightning concept was a joint project between the GM North America (GMNA) Advanced Design Studio in England and the Opel/Vauxhall Design Center in Rüsslesheim, Germany.

The Vauxhall ‘V' brand motif is a recurring theme throughout the car, despite the company's relative lack of global recognition. The proudest application is on the low, central grille, emphasized by a pair of hood feature lines that create an arrow-like form.

While the VX Lightning was a development of the VX200/Opel Speedster form language, it featured softer surfacing and very different proportions thanks to its front-engined layout. The polished metal air vent panel ahead of the front door is a particular highlight.

Inside, red and black leather dominated, used on the dashboard and seats, which are inspired by Italian motorcycle racing gloves. Dark charcoal pads are fitted over the red leather and an ebony piano lacquer is used to accent the center console and frame the instrument dials.

The VX Lightning program was initiated by Wayne Cherry, vice president, General Motors Design, and carried out under the overall direction of Anne Asensio, Executive Director of Advanced Design, and Martin Smith, GM Europe Director of Design.

While the car did make it to production it was never sold in its spiritual home, the UK. Instead it was sold as the Opel GT in mainland Europe, the Saturn Sky in the US and the Daewoo G2X in South Korea.


First seen London 2003
Designers Simon Cox, Stefan Arndt, Dale Grewer (exterior) and Jochen Werner (interior)
Designed and developed at GMNA studio, Birmingham, UK
Length 3,888 mm
Width 1,803 mm
Height 1,143 mm
Wheelbase 2,413 mm


By Rufus Thompson