Chassis No. E 394
Body No. E 394
Engine No. E 395
Registration No. NM 1880
+44 (0)1869 244 255
We are proud to present for sale here an incredibly important and original example of one of the most highly regarded vintage sports touring cars ever produced.
The Vauxhall 30-98 E-Type Velox Open Tourer offered for sale here, chassis no. E 394, is a particularly special and rare example of the breed. It retains all of its original running gear and coachwork, is offered with a fully documented and photographed history and has had just four owners from new – a quite extraordinary fact and proof, if ever it were required, of how much enjoyment can be had from 30-98 ownership. Furthermore, it represents an increasingly rare opportunity to purchase a highly original and genuine E-Type 30-98, of which, less than 40 survive in total worldwide. Of those survivors, the number that can claim such original features such as original numbered floorboards and the original factory painted chassis number on the inside of the bonnet is in single figures. Although the car has received some of the usual minor 1960s modifications (windscreen included) it remains under the surface a phenomenally original “time-warp” piece.
With the introduction of the E-type 30-98 model in 1913, Vauxhall had produced one of the world’s first true sports cars. Commission by Joseph Higginson, the new model promptly broke the class hillclimb record at Shelsley Walsh clearly demonstrating the model’s performance capabilities. Astonishingly quick on the road, they must have been an absolute revelation to those lucky few able to afford them, especially when one considers that most of the cars they shared the road with would have had a top speed of less than half that of the Vauxhall and the numerous horse and carts that were still in service less than a tenth. After The First World War the cars became a regular feature on the hillclimb circuits and competed successfully at Brooklands on numerous occasions, often reaching speeds well in excess of 100mph in racing trim. Although a remarkably simple design, the Vauxhall E-Type 30-98 (and indeed subsequent OE-Type models) made great use of the simple formula of a good power to weight ratio and plenty of low down torque. The overall driving experience of a well sorted example remains one of the most exciting and engaging driving experiences of any four-seat sporting car produced to this day.
According to The Vauxhall 30-98 Centenary Indexby Nic Portway, Chassis No. E 394 left the Vauxhall Motors erecting shop on 22nd May 1922. It was fitted with engine number E 395 and sold new, possibly via Mann Egerton, to a Mr. Richard Fowell and registered NM 1880. A very early photograph of ‘E 394’ kindly supplied by Nic Portway and on file (thought to have been taken by Bill Body) shows the car, then fitted with a rather fine rear Auster screen. According to The Register Fowell retained ownership of ‘E 394’ until 1952 when it was owner for a five-year period by a Mr. L. W. Rawlings of Essex.
A set of photographs contained within the accompanying history file show ‘E 394’ during Rawlings’ tenure. By this stage the windscreen had been modified to a fold-flat arrangement with twin aero-screens, the running boards had been removed, a hydraulic four-wheel braking system installed and the car fitted smaller well-based wheels – these modifications resulting in a sporty “up to date” look for the time. It is worth noting that, such was the performance of the 30-98 Vauxhall that many were used as daily transport even into the 1960s, being as they were a cheap way of out accelerating and outperforming standard family saloons and thus many Vauxhall 30-98s received similar minor modifications at this time.
In 1957 ‘E 394’ was purchased by Peter Quenet, who, at the time was based in Sussex. An engineer by trade, Quenet worked for the Ford Motor Company and, when the company moved him to America he took ‘E 394’ with him, making it one of comparatively few Vauxhall 30-98s to have resided there. Rather out on a limb, the history file is packed with correspondence between Peter Quenet and various Vauxhall 30-98 cognoscenti including: Nic Portway, David Marsh, Julian Ghosh, Alistair Templeton, Arthur Archer and even Vauxhall Motors in Luton. Most of the correspondence relates to information required for the lengthy rebuilding process that. What is apparent from the correspondence is both how much knowledge is available regarding the cars and how original ‘E 394’ is. Photographs on file show some of the events in which Peter Quenet took part. Also included with the sale is his custom cased car mascot from the Ancient Order of Froth Blowers. Quenet retained ownership of ‘E 394’ until he passed away last year. Recently re-patriated into the UK, the Vauxhall will require re-registering for the road, but all local taxes have been paid. The car has been to vintage Vauxhall specialists Brewster Mudie for a general check over and minor service but will really require a thorough restoration.
This E-type 30-98 is ready to be restored to its former glory to the most correct and highest standards. It remains one of the most original and rare examples of its kind and offers the new owner all the opportunity to restore the car over time and ultimately enjoy the fabulous driving experience a Vauxhall 30-98 provides.