In article No. 3 in a series looking at significant Vauxhall models through the decades, we highlight Britain’s very first catalogued 100 mph car, the iconic Vauxhall 30-98.
(All information and photographs from Vauxhall).
Built in series from 1919 to 1927, the 30-98 was, in its day, the fastest catalogued production car in Great Britain, with a factory-warranted top speed of 100 mph when fitted with a high axle ratio and pared-down coachwork.
The majority of 30-98s were sold with a tourer body (the Vauxhall-owned example in today’s images sports one made by in-house coachbuilder, Velox), but the most dramatic-looking was made by Wensum – another of Vauxhall’s in-house creations – with no doors, no hood, flared wings and carrying a £150 premium; a sizeable increase when a standard Tourer cost around £1,200.
During its production life, around 600 E- and OE-Type (for ‘Overhead-valve’) 30-98s were built, and it says much for its legacy that today around 170 still survive, many of which remain in regular use on road and track.
The OE-Type 30-98 model had exceptional performance in its day, producing around 112 bhp from its four-cylinder, 4224cc engine. But a centre throttle, extremely heavy flywheel and weak brakes by today’s standards make this a challenging – if very fast – car to drive on modern roads.
Nevertheless, Vauxhall’s ‘OE268’ – built in the penultimate year of production – has accrued some 25,000 miles as a press and events car in the last 12 years alone.
Colour: Primrose Yellow
Interior colour: Blue
Engine Capacity: 4224cc
Top Speed: 85 mph (100 mph in performance guise)
0 – 60 mph: 29.8 seconds
Fuel Consumption: 14 – 18 mpg
They tell us:
Vauxhall Motors started making vehicles in the UK in 1903. Today, as the oldest and most familiar of Britain’s automotive manufacturers, its philosophy is to build vehicles that are relevant to all. Vauxhall’s two manufacturing plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton produced 206,000 cars and vans in 2018, and its sales accounted for nine per cent of the UK market.
Vauxhall has been a Groupe PSA brand since 2017. By 2024, each of its models will offer an electrified version, part of the company’s PACE! plan to become sustainably profitable, global and electric. www.vauxhall.co.uk