The first new Vauxhall model, the 30/98, was built in 1913 as a better, faster and more practical development of the Prince Henry, but its career, as a production car, really belongs to the years after the end of the First World War.
The original 30/98 was solidly built, which made it heavy, but it was also fast, and combined impressive performance with good road holding by the standards of the 1920's.
The first owner of this D-Type was Mr. E.K. Bowan of 'Wargundy,' Craboon, New South Wales, Australia. The car was sent Down Under as a rolling chassis and bodied locally with special coachwork and an extended top to provide shade from the intense Australian sun.
For over three decades it was at the outback sheep station Barkly Downs in the ownership of Mr. Joe Draper. It was acquired by Mr. Frank Aston in the late 1960s. Mr. Gavin Campbell purchased the car in 1989. A comprehensive restoration soon followed.
Since the late 1990s, the car has been well preserved by collectors in the U.K. and the U.S. it is painted in its original colors of green with black fenders, black Rudge Whitworth center-lock wire wheels, green leather upholstery and a black top with green piping. There are period accessories including bullet market lights, nickel-plated drum headlights, a single right-hand sidemount spares, Vauxhall gauges, Smiths clock, Watford speedometer, CAV switchbox and a radiator mascot of the flag-carrying Vauxhall griffin.
Power is from a side-valve inline four-cylinder engine that develops 60 horsepower. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed gearbox.
In 2010, this car was offered for sale at the Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia auction presented by Bonhams. Unfortunately, the car would leave the auction unsold, as a buyer willing to satisfy its reserve was not found. The car had been estimated to sell for $60,000 - $80,000.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2010
Alexander Wilson founded the company in Vauxhall, London in 1857. Originally it was named Alex Wilson and Company, then Vauxhall Iron Works. The company built pumps and marine engines. In 1903, the company built its first car, a five horsepower model steered using a tiller, with two forward gears and no reverse gear. In 1925, Vauxhall was bought by GM for $2.5 million.
The performance era of Vauxhall really came into form when L.H Pomeroy was made chief engineer. He had a passion for racing and was able to convince his bosses that they should try their luck in the racing area. By 1910, the company had built their first hand-built sporting vehicle and raced in the German Prince Henry trials. The cars endured amazing success. To commemorate, a series of road going cars, dubbed the 'Prince Henry', were created.
In 1913, the Vauxhall 30/98 was introduced. Within time, it evolved into one of the fastest road-going cars available, with a large and powerful engine that was able to carry the vehicle to speeds reaching 100 mph. The car came with an expensive price tag, making it very exclusive and rare.
After World War I, the 30/98 E-Type model was introduced. During the pre-War era, the company had produced the B, C, and D-Type versions of the 30/98. The E-Type had a side-valve engine that produced around 90 horsepower. The performance was good and the car was well constructed; the main drawbacks was its weight.
Production of the E-Type continued until 1922, with around 270 examples being constructed. Vauxhall introduced the OE-Type; the main changes were improvements to the engine. The 'O' represented the new overhead-valve operated engine, which helped boost horsepower output to 115. Later, power was increased again, now to 120 bhp.
Production continued until 1927, with a total of 312 examples being constructed.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2008