Vauxhaull through the ages: Britain's fastest car

By: Mark Higgins, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

Vauxhall history part 3 Vauxhall history part 3

70 years before the Lotus Carlton shocked Britain, Vauxhall's 30-98 Series of 1919 claimed the country's fastest car.

Continuing our journey back through the Vauxhall archives today we are taking a close up look at the 30-98 Series that was built from 1919 to 1927.

At the time it was the fastest catalogued production car in Great Britain and came with a factory-warranted top speed of 100mph, (imagine that these days), when it was ordered with a high axle ratio and unique minimalist bodywork.

However the majority of Vauxhall 30-98s were sold with a tourer body as seen in the image. This particular boy was made by the made by in-house coachbuilder, Velox. A name to remember for the future.

Another of Vauxhall’s in-house builders, Wensum created a striking body that had no doors, no roof, flared guards and with it a £150 (A$300) premium, a sizeable increase of over 10 per cent of the total price of the standard Tourer that cost around £1200 (A$2385). Later in the century other carmakers turned this strip out and charge more into an art form. 

Over its eight-year production life around 600 E and OE-Type (for ‘Overhead-valve) 30-98s were built, and incredibly around 170 survive to this day, with many remaining in regular use on road and track.

In its day the OE-Type 30-98 displayed exceptional performance with 112hp extracted from its 4224cc engine. There were drawbacks though that made the 30-98 a challenge to drive despite its exceptional speed.

These included a centre throttle, extremely heavy flywheel and extremely weak brakes. So a big dose of bravery was handy. 

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part I - Vauxhall's first car

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part II - Britain's first racecar

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part IV - The H-Type Ten-Four

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part V - The Cresta

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part VI - The XVR Concept

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part VII - The Firenza HP DroopSnoot

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part VIII - Vauxhall's first hot hatch

Vauxhall Through the Ages: Part X - The Australian finale



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