In the early 1970s Vauxhall knew of no better way to inject a little flair into its drab range of passenger cars than to build and market a high-performance version of the Firenza two-door coupe. The HP Firenza ‘Droopsnoot’ – a reference to the car’s restyled aerodynamic nose – was spectacular to look at and breathtaking to drive, it being the very first road-going Vauxhall that was capable of hitting 60mph in less than 10 seconds. The car was expertly judged and quite brilliantly executed, except that it arrived in 1973 and was therefore doomed from the outset to be an unmitigated sales disaster. In the face of the 1973 oil crisis the HP Firenza – well executed though it undoubtedly was – stood little chance of being a commercial success. The original business case for the Droopsnoot reckoned on 1000 units being sold each year, but during a two-year lifespan no more than 204 were ever built. What that means, of course, is that Vauxhall’s pretty little coupe is now a very rare machine, one that’s become highly sought-after.