Chassis No. OE 103
Engine No. OE 103
Registration No. XU 1214
+44 (0)1869 244 255
Vauxhall 30-98, The Finest of Sporting Cars by Nic Portway opens with a foreword by The Late. William “Bill” Boddy. In this Boddy writes “For me no car of the vintage period has the same appeal as a 30-98….” For a man who had the opportunity to drive, or at the very least be a passenger in, almost every single motor car made before The War this is praise indeed. The Vauxhall 30-98 in all its various forms is quite simply one of the most exciting and iconic cars of the 1920s and one of only a handful of cars that can genuinely be described as a sports-tourer.
Chassis no. OE 103, offered for sale here, is one of the desirable “low radiator” overhead valve models. It was completed by Vauxhall Motors in 1924 and fitted with their Velox-type four-seater sports touring coachwork – the most popular type for the model. The very early history of ‘OE 103’ is not noted in Nic Portway’s The 30-98 Vauxhall Centenary Index. Interestingly the first known owner is noted as Kenneth Neve in 1939. The author of A little Behind the Times Kenneth Neve OBE was one of the forefathers of the vintage motoring scene, by all accounts a superb raconteur, amateur restorer and a bit of an all-round hero (and former president) of the Vintage Sports Car Club. A man of considerable class and elegance, he famously towed his beloved 1914 TT Humber to race meetings behind his Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental by Barker – a proper sort of chap! He also happened to be Nic Portway’s father in law and an inspiration in Portway owning and subsequently recording the history of “The Finest of Sporting Cars.”
Being a proper sort of chap, Neve had a string of 30-98s, and his daughter Judy has many memories of travelling in them from an early age. Always travelling at high speed and often towing a trailer, Judy’s job was to watch out for policemen! It is suggested that ‘OE 103’ could be the ex-Knox-Thompson 100mph car as Neve did acquire this car at some stage. The images that Portway retains of the car with Neve in 1939, show it to be in rather modified racing form, with an outside exhaust, cycle wings and a modified rear end, making it appear to be a two-seater. The index records subsequent owners as: Blake (1939-47,) O’Neil (1947-49) when it was purchased by John Unsworth.
John Unsworth was to keep OE 103 for over 50 years before passing to Peter Street in 2001. During the former’s ownership ‘OE 103’ was treated to two restorations. The first was carried out by Clifford Gaskin during the 1960s, and a handwritten letter on file from Gaskin to Peter Street tells the story of restoring ‘OE 103’ for John Unsworth. In this letter Gaskin describes the restoration process and also tells us that the car had a two-seater body, but that in the course of the restoration was fitted with an original Velox body that had come from another car in Norfolk (presumably OE 17, the body it retains now.) In the 1980s ‘OE 103’ was restored to more original specification by Arthur Archer’s of Dunmow, Essex. During this period ‘OE 103’ was well known to David Marsh and The Vauxhall 30-98 Register and, when Peter Street purchased the car from Unsworth in 2001, Marsh wrote to him welcoming him to The Register and pointing out what a good car he had purchased.
Peter Street was an avid motoring enthusiast and had worked for Vauxhall Motors. In his later life, he set up a successful brokerage business for vintage cars, namely Forest Vintage. He was well known for selling Vauxhall 30-98s and found numerous homes for Austin Sevens, of which he was also particularly fond. Aside from his professional dealings in the old car world he was a great organiser of events and did a huge amount for The Register, organising the annual pre-Prescott run and assisting with the organisation of the centenary celebrations. A hugely popular man, he was held in high regard by all who knew him, your author included.
Peter Street, like many Vauxhall owners very much enjoyed driving his cars and used OE 103 on numerous events with the VSCC and The Register. To this end he maintained OE 103 to a very high standard and numerous invoices of file attest to works carried out and parts obtained. The most important of these invoices relate to the quite recent engine overhaul carried out by Formhalls, Brewster Mudie and Peter himself in 2011. The car drives brilliantly and the oil pressure reading is highly satisfactory after the engine overhaul, which included the re-white metalling of the bottom end.
We are proud to have been entrusted with the sale of this fine Vauxhall by the family of The Late. Peter Street. A car so loved by its last two long-term owners and a car that appears to have been driven so enthusiastically throughout its life. This fine example of a 30-98 Vauxhall is ideal for long distance touring, competitive events with the VSCC and The 30-98 Register as well endurance rallies such as The Flying Scotsman and 1000-Mile trial. As the owner of a very similar example, completed at the Vauxhall Motor’s works at the same time as ‘OE 103” the author can attest to the car offered for sale being a very fine example The Finest of Sporting Cars. Inspections and spirited demonstrations are welcome by appointment.