Paul King, Ron Ruggins and David Whitely founded the ‘F Victor Owners Club’ in 1981. Paul met David through David’s sister who was at the same East London College as Paul, and they later met Ron and Kevin Greenwood who were keen Autojumblers at various shows. Kevin is well known to our longer standing members as a good source of spares.
Having been members of the PA Owners Club, which at the time catered for all E, PA, PB, PC, F & FB Vauxhalls under the stewardship of Simon Walker, they felt there was a need to establish a club that catered solely for the F type Victor. The demand for such a club was tested by the placing of editorial advertisements within Exchange and Mart, and Practical Classics, which was also in its infancy. Conveniently all three lived in the South East corner of England, Southend on Sea, Mitcham, and Brentwood respectively, and coincidentally all owned maroon Series II Victors. Their roles within the club were spilt as Secretary, Spares, and Register and between them they already had a wealth of knowledge of the F type Victor.
The first magazine or newsletter was issued in October 1981 to a membership that totalled 61, which within a year had reached around 100. The first newsletter included an introduction to the principal founder and life member, Paul king and his 1960 Series 2 car, XOT362.
Club entries at the Bristol and Brighton shows boosted membership, and FB Victors were admitted to the Club in 1984 after a streamlining of the PA Owners Club to cater solely for the Cresta models.
The first ‘Billing’ meeting was organised for Sunday 9th May 1982 which is effectively the first time the club got together en masse and is considered to be the real start of the Club. Having polled suggestions from the membership, it was Andy Hull from Kettering, and then owner of HEN 108, a Gypsy Red Series I with a white roof and white flutes, that suggested the venue of Billing Aquadrome near Northampton which benefited from a central location, easy access and provided entertainment for all the family. It was then left to Andy to organise the event, which he did admirably, thus effectively making him the founder of the hugely successful annual Vauxhall event held to this day at the same venue with an unbroken chain.
The first to arrive on the day was Andy Hull, followed by Gareth Shaw (TNP 705 – Series 1 in Empress Blue with white roof) and then by me in 333DNM then in all over ‘Havana’ brown. The next to arrive were Paul King in XOT 362, and David Whitely in WHJ 599 accompanied by Paul’s brother Graham, Ron Ruggins whose car 1565VF was in the paint shop being finished, and Bob Dobinson, erstwhile Essex based supplier of obsolete Vauxhall parts.
Other attendees included:
There were 3 other victors there including a rare Series I standard model, but I cannot see the registrations from the pictures I have, nor are there any other records, and my memory is fading!
There were numerous spares for sale, mostly chrome, including a number of series I bumper sections that were snapped up in minutes. It was decided at the show to choose a name for the magazine, there were 12 suggested names including ‘Wraparound Round Up’ which I suggested (and which to this day still believe to be credible!) 1 vote, ‘Victor News’, no votes, ‘The Victor’ which received 6 votes, ‘Centre Section’ which received 6 votes, and ‘Victory V’ which received 7 votes. Having decided on Victory V, the following day it was realised that we may be in breach of copyright, and so at a rally at Ringwood later in the year we decided on ‘The Victor’ to then again realise this was the name of a famous comic. ‘Centre Section’ came second at both votes and so was declared the winner, and has remained since magazine No.7 in October 1982. The name is derived from the front and rear bumper sections of the F Type victor.
In October 1983, Paul King emigrated to Israel having converted XOT to left hand drive, which led to Ron Ruggins taking over the helm as secretary and editor, and Neil Chenery taking over as spares secretary for a short while. When Ron stood down, Steve Ford took over, again shortly followed by Derek Holder as secretary and editor. In summer 1987, Stuart Delahoy took over the editorship and latterly the secretary’s job as well, before Mike Knowles took over in Spring 1991 for a 10 year tour of duty during which time the Club progressed significantly, winning awards in 3 consecutive years for quality of the Club and Magazine.
The Club is now in the safe and capable hands of those you see listed on the contacts page supported by a number of loyal members. The Club continues to improve and progress providing members with a wealth of experience and expertise.