Coachwork by. Vauxhall Motors
Chassis No. E394
Body No. E394
Engine No. E395
+44 (0)1869 244 255
The Vauxhall 30-98 E-Type Velox Tourer offered for sale here, chassis no. E 394, is a particularly special and rare example of the breed for it is one of only a handful of examples of the pure-bread E-Type 30-98s that retains all of its original running gear and coachwork. It is offered with a fully documented and photographed history and 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 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. Commissioned by Joseph Higginson and designed by Laurence Pomeroy (Snr.) the new model promptly broke the class hill-climb 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. After The First World War, during which time Vauxhall Motors had contributed greatly towards the British war effort with the D-Type Vauxhall, the E-Type 30-98 went back into production. Lightweight and with effortless low down power the model became a regular feature on the hill-climb 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 overhead valve OE-Type models) made great use of the simple formula of a good power to weight ratio and plenty 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 Index by 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’ right up until 1952 when it passed to a Mr. L. W. Rawlings of Essex for a five-year period. 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. 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 he completed in 2007. What is apparent from the correspondence is both how much knowledge is available regarding the cars and how original ‘E 394’ remains. Photographs on file show some of the events in which Peter Quenet took part, with most dated at 2008. 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. Recently re-patriated into the UK, the Vauxhall will require re-registering for the road, but all local taxes have been paid. Minor re-commissioning works have been carried out and the car has been test driven on the private test track at Bicester Heritage with the car pulling extremely well and the engine showing strong oil pressure.
It is worth noting that, while very few original E-type 30-98 Velox models survive, they are considered by the cognoscenti to be the purest and most elegant form of the 30-98. Few have resided in America, but those that do are held in high esteem, with both The Collier Collection and The Simeone Collection counted amongst their owners. This E-type 30-98 remains one of the most original and rare examples of its kind and offers the new owner the opportunity to enjoy and enhance appearance of the car over time and ultimately to revel the fabulous driving experience a Vauxhall 30-98 provides. Viewings and test drives on the private track at Bicester Heritage are welcomed by appointment.