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Murray Walker tells of his love of all things retro

Early this March 2013, Murray Walker OBE, considered by many as one of the country’s greatest treasures and a legend in the world of motoring, was nice enough to grant his admirers an interview while at Race Retro. Younger readers might not be aware that Walker is credited for coming up the name “Ventora” for Vauxhall back in 1968.

In discussing his most famous achievement, Walker was happily inclined to share the story behind the name. Initially, Vauxhall Motors, a subsidiary of the American firm General Motors, had wanted to name the model Ventura. However, management from Pontiac moved to block this as it had already claimed the name for one of its other models.

This could have been a major setback for many advertisers, but Walker readily came up with a simple alternative: Ventora. The name would quickly become a legend as at the time of its release no other vehicle was able to come close, not even other models from Vauxhall Motors, to its performance.

The name change came “easy” to Walker, although this he only admitted in quite a modest tone. He also recalled how excited he had been with the marketing campaign that followed, particularly with using the phrase “lazy fireball” to describe the vehicle in its brochures.

When asked which Vauxhall Models car had made him feel a success, Walker shared how his wife had fallen in love with their Vauxhall Viscount. More specifically, his wife liked how the car offered lots of space, wood and leather trimming, and electric and wireless windows.

But when asked about his personal preferences, Walker admitted to preferring his Pirelli Cinturatos in those days. Of course, he also switched to using the Ventora once the model was officially made available in the market. And in those days, he wasn’t alone as the car had been one of the most popular models in that decade.


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