1920 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type TourerSOLD


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Registration No: VM 387
Engine No: E256
CC: 4500
Colour: Maroon / Black
Trim Colour: Black
MOT: Nov 2012

Reference Number 189492

as of 9/24/2012

Car 1920 Vauxhall 30/98 E-Type Tourer
VIN E267 
Transmission Manual Shift 
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Known History

"The 30/98 is a remarkable example of a successful type which came into existence by accident and which was never planned for production" Laurence Pomeroy, 1948


As incongruous as it may seem to today's motorists, Vauxhall was once among Britain's most aristocratic marques. Under the guidance of chief engineer Laurence Pomeroy, the Luton-based manufacturer produced a series of models that were synonymous with speed, flexibility and good roadholding. As well as winning the 1908 RAC 2000 Miles Trial outright, Vauxhall distinguished itself on the prestigious Prince Henry Trial in Germany some two years later. A celebratory C-Type Prince Henry sports model appeared in 1911 with a more touring-focused but bigger-engined D-Type following a season after. A force to be reckoned with in circuit racing and speed events too, Vauxhall was the company that Joseph Higginson turned to when he wanted to break the Shelsey Walsh hillclimb record. A prosperous textile engineer whose other business interests included car sales, Higginson was able to give Pomeroy a generous developmental budget. The latter's decision to install an enlarged D-Type engine (up from 4- to 4.5-litres) aboard one of his 1912 Coupe de l'Auto racing chassis proved inspired. The resultant machine allowed Higginson to smash the Shelsey Walsh record by eight seconds during 1913.


That same year saw Vauxhall introduce a productionised version of the hillclimb special, the E-Type 30/98. Boasting an improved crankshaft and stronger cylinder block, the newcomer's four-cylinder sidevalve powerplant displaced 4525cc (bore 98mm x stroke 150mm) and developed 90bhp @ 3,000rpm. The use of a sub-frame to cradle the engine not only enabled the chassis to be kept commendably light and whippy but also ensured that it made best use of its all-round semi-elliptic leaf-sprung suspension and rear wheel drum brakes. Just 13 E-Type 30/98s were made before the outbreak of World War One. Revived for the 1919 Olympia Motor Show, Vauxhall's flagship - which it described as 'a sporting car which has never known a superior' - featured a compact 9ft 8in wheelbase (shorter than the contemporaneous but less potent Bentley 3 Litre) and four-speed manual gearbox. Total E-Type production amounted to just 274 cars before the 30/98 evolved into the OE during 1923. Interestingly, Vauxhall Motorcars scored 75 wins, 52 seconds and 35 thirds in motoring competitions between 1920 and 1923.


This particular E-Type left the Luton factory in 1920 and was one of a number sent to Australia without coachwork. Ron Gaudion who owned the Vauxhall in Australia for many years wrote: 'these cars were imported as bare chassis with only radiator, aluminium bonnet, scuttle and lighting equipment'. The 30-98 was then bodied by Damyon Brothers in Melbourne. A family firm of high repute, they were founded in 1885 by three siblings: Joseph (bodymaker), Charles (painter) and John (smith). The company clothed numerous cars of note including Rolls Royce and Bugatti but ceased operation in 1937.


The E-Type's body was of an attractive, Velox-style design but steel-skinned making it robust enough to withstand the unmade roads which proliferated Down Under. During the late 1960s, the Damyon Bros coachwork was restored by the car's then keeper Ron Gaudion. Crafting a new wooden support frame by using the old timbers as patterns, he also repaired and retained much of the original steel body skin. Since entering the current ownership in 2005 the tourer has undergone a photographed, bare metal respray. Nic Portway believes this to be one of the few remaining cars to retain its original Australian coachwork. Complimenting the original body is an original griffin mascot so often found to be replica on many Vauxhalls today.


The first records of ownership show a tobacco farmer named John Calvert of Victoria, Australia purchased the car upon leaving the Army in 1945. He drove the 30-98 for the next nine years or so. Barn stored thereafter, the four-seater was got running for its sale to Ron Gaudion in 1959. Sidelined by the latter's need to tackle the grounds of his new house in Tasmania, the Vauxhall lay dormant again until 1966 when Ron Gaudion embarked upon a 'body off, chassis up' restoration. The Tourer was complete in time for the 1st International Rally from Sydney in 1970 during which Mr Gaudion achieved an average of 103.5 mph over a four mile distance (a feat he later recorded in writing).


Ron Gaudion sold the Vauxhall in 1988 after nearly thirty years of ownership. Repatriated to the UK and issued with the appropriate registration number 'VM 387', the car then passed through a dealer to John Day Esq. Purchased in June 1994 by the Hon. G. H. Wilson who in turn sold it to Quentin Chases Esq. in November 2002, the 30-98 entered the current custodianship during 2005. Renowned Vauxhall historian Nic Portway has described the four-seater as 'having a nigh-on continuous history and being a well known genuine car'.


The 30-98 is rated by the vendor as being in "excellent working order" having had a considerable amount lavished on it during his tenure including a full rewire. This is not to mention the circa ú42,000 that the Hon G.H. Wilson estimates was billed by Arthur Archer Ltd for a mechanical overhaul not long after the car's return to the UK. A further ú9,000 seems to have been spent from 1991 till 2003 including a new radiator. Amongst other things the car benefits from having full weather equipment, an original Auster screen, a luggage grid and correct instrumentation. The tourer comes with an extensive history file dating back to Ron Gaudion's ownership.


The 30-98 was widely regarded as the finest all round sporting car it was possible to own during the early 1920s. Richard Twelvetrees for Motorsport wrote of Vauxhall 30/98s in September 1925 that they are 'the closest approach to mechanical perfection in modern automobile design and construction as applied to sporting car practise'.


A rare opportunity to buy such an attractive and special motor car.