1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420

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Lot 369
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer
Coachwork by Mann Egerton Registration no. BJ 7138 Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420

Sold for £ 197,500 (US$ 241,599) inc. premium
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer
Coachwork by Mann Egerton

Registration no. BJ 7138
Chassis no. E312
Engine no. E420

*The quintessential Vintage sports car
*One of only 287 made
*Long-term ownership by Archer's of Dunmow
*Restored during the 1990s

Footnotes

  • This is a most handsome 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 before The Great War) had produced a car that could run rings around 3-Litre 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 in 1913 at the behest of car dealer and motor sport competitor, Joseph Higginson. 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 4.5-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, although this increase made little difference to the car's performance.

    Legend has it that this 30/98 came to light when Arthur Archer's father bought garage premises in Great Dunmow, Essex in the mid-1930s. He enquired about an old car in a corner of the building and was told that it went with the premises and had been left by a customer who had never returned to pay the £7 10s owing on it! The car was not run between 1934 and 1990, during which period it was dismantled and stored by Archer's. The body was used on 'OE250' for many years but is now back on its original chassis.

    The current vendor acquired the 30/98 from Stuart Baxter in 1991 as a rolling chassis and body parts following a lengthy search for an E-Type Vauxhall. Restoration was completed in time for car to participate in Vauxhall's centenary celebrations in 2003, centred on Prescott and Shelsley Walsh. Restoration invoices are on file and the car also comes with a V5C registration document.

    The car has never, during the vendor's ownership, been used competitively, being reserved for family and VSCC social events such as the Oulton Concours. The most recent maintenance jobs completed have included the installation of new intermediate gears, while the water pump and fan have been reconditioned by Arthur Archer.

    Finished in blue/black with red leather interior, 'E312' represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a most handsome example of what is considered by many knowledgeable enthusiasts to be the finest British sporting car of the Vintage period.
Contacts
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
1921 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer  Chassis no. E312 Engine no. E420
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