Not that long ago, Vauxhall’s factory at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire was facing closure. Today, its 5,000,000th car rolls off the production line.
The factory opened 50 years ago to build the then-new Viva. It has produced all three generations of Viva, the Chevette and every generation of Astra.
As it turns out, a single worker at Ellesmere Port has single-handedly conducted an unusually rigorous quality test on randomly selected cars built at the plant, ever since it opened. The man in question is known only Ellesmere Pete.
Ellesmere Port’s current Plant Director, Stefan Fesser, was sceptical about the testing when he arrived in 2013. “Of course, Ellesmere Pete is a legend in GM circles, but I wasn’t convinced until I saw the breadth of his high-speed testing in the plant, and the detailed reports he generates.
“And you know what? After 50 years, he still does a fantastic job of validating the great quality that comes with every car we produce. Long may he continue.”
So there you go. If you’ve owned an Ellesmere Port-built Vauxhall in the last half century, you can thank Pete for the build quality.
Either that, or this is a viral marketing campaign, with stunt driver Paul Swift ragging round in some of the cars from Vauxhall’s heritage collection.