Quick Link: Committee
In 1996 a meeting was arranged at the Vauxhall Heritage Centre in Luton for the clubs that represented the Vauxhall, Bedford and Opel marques in the UK. Because Vauxhall was unable to give individual support to the growing number of owner's clubs, they suggested the formation of an intermediary body which could also liaise with other trade and industry bodies.
A second meeting of the clubs was convened by John Law of the Cavette Owner's Club at Telford where a committee was established and a name agreed for a new association of owner's clubs. The founding committee of the Vauxhall, Bedford, Opel Association was Terry Cobbold, Chairman, Ron Ruggins, Secretary and Gordon Davies, Treasurer. It was also agreed that the main combined club event of the year, the All Vauxhall Rally at Billing Aquadrome, should come under the wing of the VBOA as the long term organisers of this popular event, Alan and Peter Pope, were finding it increasingly difficult to cope on their own.
With Mandy Sanderson replacing Ron Huggins as secretary, the VBOA moved forward to organise its first event, Billing 1997. Their efforts were rewarded by a turnout of 800 cars which increased to 1500 the following year. These early years put a personal financial strain on the Committee, so it was agreed that clubs would pay a small one-off fee on affiliation. Welcome support also came from Peter Blincow and others at Vauxhall. The Association's efforts were rewarded that year by an award for the best new car club/association of a yard of ale, which is proudly displayed in the Vauxhall Heritage Centre.
Having put the association on a firm footing, Terry and Gordon stood down at the end of their term in 2000 and were replaced by the former Vice Chairman, John Ankerman and Anne Norris, with Colin Robbins stepping in as the new Vice Chair. With the formation of Vauxhall Heritage Services, the VBOA received welcome additional support and expertise from Deborah Atkins and her team. Billing was further developed to become a source of revenue for the association, via a thriving autojumble and trade area. In 2003, the VBOA put on a special Vauxhall Centenary event at the Billing rally, complete with souvenir programme and special displays. The VBOA was also active in the organisation of the Vauxhall Centenary 1000 Mile Trial.
In 2004, ex-Vauxhall director Ian Coomber became Chairman and Barry Harvey, also ex-Vauxhall, became Secretary.
In 2005 Billing was renamed the VBOA National Rally in recognition of the growing Opel club presence and we welcomed CCC Insurance Limited as the first sponsor of the event.
In 2016 we moved from Billing to our new show home at Market Harborough Show Ground in partnership with LMF.
The VBOA now organises or co-ordinates four events a year and continues in its role as liaison with Vauxhall and other organisations to further the work of the clubs and the growing interest in Vauxhall, Bedford and Opel cars and commercial vehicles.