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1924 Vauxhall 30-98 OE Velox Tourer For Sale

Coachwork by Vauxhall Motors
Registration no. NM 6189
Chassis no. OE178
Offered here is a well-known example of what is considered by many knowledgeable enthusiasts to be the finest British sporting car of the Vintage period.
Vauxhall 30-98 adherents will maintain that while Bentley generated greater publicity - thanks largely to their victories at Le Mans - the Vauxhall company (which raced at both Grand Prix and Tourist Trophy level) had produced a car that could run rings around Bentleys on cross-country journeys.
The 'big engine/lightweight car' formula has been repeated to good effect many times throughout the history of the sporting motor car, and Vauxhall's famous 30-98 was one of its earliest successful applications. As has so often been the case, the spur behind this particular combination was the desire for competition success; the first 30-98 being constructed at the behest of car dealer and motor sport competitor, Joseph Higginson, in 1913. Higginson's first objective was victory in the Shelsley Walsh hill climb in June of that year, and the Laurence Pomeroy-designed 30/98 duly obliged, setting a hill record in the process which was to stand for 15 years.
Laurence Pomeroy's tenure as Vauxhall's Chief Engineer saw the Luton-based concern produce some of the truly outstanding designs of the Edwardian period, commencing with the 20hp Prince Henry in 1910. A larger version of the Prince Henry's four-cylinder side-valve engine was developed for its successor, the D-Type, which, with some 70bhp on tap, was good for 70mph-plus when not overburdened by formal coachwork. Pomeroy's 30-98 was powered by a 4½-litre, four-cylinder, side-valve engine - in effect a stretched version of the Prince Henry/D-Type's - mounted in a conventional but lightweight chassis; suspension being by beam axle at the front and live axle at the rear, with semi-elliptic springs all round. Power was transmitted via a multi-plate clutch to a robust four-speed gearbox, and thence via a short prop-shaft to the straight-cut bevel rear axle. The braking system consisted of a foot-operated transmission brake and a handbrake operating on the two rear drums, the front wheels being un-braked.
At first glance this unremarkable specification seems an unlikely one for a performance car - even an Edwardian example - but the 30-98's 90bhp-plus power output, combined with a weight of only 24cwt (with the factory-built, four-seater 'Velox' tourer coachwork) gave it a formidable power-to-weight ratio for the time. A fully road-equipped 30-98 was capable of around 85mph, and when stripped for racing, the company guaranteed a top-speed in excess of 100mph for the later overhead-valve models, a capability demonstrated at Brooklands on numerous occasions.
Only a handful of cars were sold before the outbreak of WWI interrupted production, and when manufacture resumed in 1919 the model was given the designation 'E-Type' - its Prince Henry predecessor having been the 'C' and the 25hp Tourer the 'D'. Manufacture of the E-type ceased in September 1922 after 287 cars had been constructed, there then being a slight hiatus in production before its successor, the overhead-valve 'OE', commenced delivery to customers in early 1923. Despite a reduction in capacity to 4.2 litres, the power of the OHV motor went up to 110bhp-plus with far more scope for further development and greater power still, making the OE a true rival to the 4½ Litre Bentley.
The OE was not to gain front-wheel brakes until late 1923, when a cable system was introduced. This was operated, along with the transmission brake, by the foot pedal, with the linkages and compensating mechanism - the inaccurately-termed 'kidney box' - mounted in front of the radiator. Total production of OEs numbered 312 cars.
According to highly respected 30-98 authority, Nic Portway, this particular OE left the Vauxhall factory in December 1924 (as shown in surviving factory records, copy on file), adorned with Velox coachwork and fitted with engine number OE187 both of which it retains today. Interestingly it was also the prototype production 30-98 for fitment of the counterbalanced crankshaft - a great improvement (original crankshaft still with the car). The car’s first UK owner was Lex Buckle, as recounted by Buckle to later owner Barry Ford he purchased the car from Vauxhall Motors and it was understood at the time that the car had competed at Brooklands, since at one stage the car was fitted with two dashboard plaques one of which recorded a Brooklands lap speed of 108mph - sadly these have since been lost. As the car’s original UK registration number is not known it has currently not been possible to verify the cars Brooklands appearance, but since many 30-98s did compete at Brooklands it is highly likely.
The first records of the car being in Australia go back to 1934, there is a photograph on file showing the car with Buckle’s friend Hugh Crauford behind the wheel taken in the mid-1930s. The car remained with Buckle by then a motor trader based in Sydney (who evidently was responsible for taking the car to Australia) until 1952 when he sold it to Barry Ford. A Mr J. Cuthbert may then have owned the car briefly, before he in turn sold the car on to Brian Marsland in 1955 and from Marsland OE178 then passed later in 1955 to the Braid family of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. The car remained with the Braid family until 2009 when it passed to the current owner. Throughout its time in Australia OE178 had been recognised as generally correct and original, for example being described as “original throughout” in a 1954 road test by Wheels magazine (copy on file). It was cosmetically restored between 2007 and 2009 by Barry Ford on behalf of the Braid family including painting, re-trimming and fitment of a new hood (see invoices on file) but other than that remained largely undisturbed. . It was cosmetically restored between 2007 and 2009 by Barry Ford on behalf of the Braid family including painting, re-trimming and fitment of a new hood (see invoices on file) but other than that remained largely undisturbed.
The current owner is undoubtedly one of the foremost specialist restorers of the 30-98 Vauxhall, having been involved with every facet of the restoration, racing, trialling and rallying of the model for in excess of 50 years. In OE178 he recognised a most correct example of the most sort after variant of the model and importantly retaining its original engine and body along with many other elements (see as purchased photos on file), albeit one that was mechanically tired. As such he began a mechanical restoration of the vehicle to his own high standard, for his personal use. With this in mind the following work was carried out both in house and by trusted specialists;
Full engine rebuild by highly respected 30-98 engine specialist Phil Hill of Vintage Motor Sport, including fitment of new cylinder block, head, crankshaft, con-rods, crankshaft, valves and re-white-metalled bearings
Front axle - new hubs, bearings, steering joints
Rear axle - new internals, half-shafts, hubs
Gearbox - new bearings, new prop-shaft flange,
Steering box - new gears, new drop arm
Chassis frame - re-aligned, new radiator cross member, new shackle pins, new bushes, springs re-set
New 21 inch wheels all round
Shock absorbers rebuilt
See invoices on file for much of the work involved and parts
As can be seen from the above an enormous amount of mechanical work has been done on OE178 to turn an original but tired car into one which fulfilled the owner’s high standards regarding vintage Vauxhalls. The finishing touch of which was finding an original 1924 Luton registration number to go on the car ‘NM 6189’.
Reluctantly offered for sale due to a change of plans. As such ‘NM 6189’ requires running in, final set-up and some detail items finishing. Once this has been taken care of, it will, as when new, provide the new owner with the finest of sporting cars, able as in period to take the fight to the hordes of Bentleys on events such as the Flying Scotsman, 1000 Mile Trial and Shamrock Rally.
Price POA
Ad Type For Sale
Category Classic Cars
Make Vauxhall
Model 30-98 OE
Year 1924
Country UK
Town Suffolk
Telephone 07493 897975
Status Trade
E-mail
Date 30-Dec-2019
Ref C1184856
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