Concept Car Of The Day: 1963 Vauxhall HAS Piper Roadster - AllCarIndex

Concept Car Of The Day: 1963 Vauxhall HAS Piper Roadster

Apr 18, 2024

In the early spring of 1963, Vauxhall embarked on a groundbreaking project known as the Piper Roadster. Nestled within the final stages of the Viva HA-Series program, this secretive endeavor was spearheaded by the Styling Department under the guidance of David Jones. The goal was to carve out a new niche in the market for Vauxhall, drawing inspiration from the success of Austin's Frog-Eyed Sprite.

With remarkable swiftness, the development of the Piper Roadster evolved from initial sketches to clay scale models, eventually culminating in a full-sized mock-up by the summer of 1963. This revolutionary design, influenced by iconic vehicles like the Jaguar E-Type and Lotus Elan, stood out from its competitors with its sleek and modern appearance, overshadowing similar models such as the Austin Sprite.

Following overwhelming praise for the clay model, the project quickly progressed to the creation of a full-size glass-fibre styling model. Adorned in a striking light blue exterior finish, the Piper Roadster exuded sophistication reminiscent of renowned Italian design houses, showcasing Vauxhall's expertise in automotive styling.

Key features of the Piper Roadster included fared-in headlamps, chrome quarter bumpers, and a distinctive front grille adorned with the Griffin logo. The interior boasted a simple yet elegant dashboard design and a meticulously crafted steering wheel bearing the Vauxhall insignia.

Despite its impressive presentation and favorable reception during test drives, the fate of the Piper Roadster took a turn for the uncertain. David Jones' bold move to showcase the prototype to GM VP of Design, Bill Mitchell, during a visit in December 1963 did not yield the expected outcome. Despite Mitchell's interest, the project was dismantled shortly thereafter, marking a missed opportunity for Vauxhall to expand its product range and compete in a burgeoning market segment.

Although the Piper Roadster never made it to production, it stands as a testimony to Vauxhall's design innovation in the early 1960s. While its legacy may be one of unfulfilled promise, the car continues to captivate automotive enthusiasts and historians alike, sparking discussions about what could have been in the realm of automotive history.

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