c.1926 Vauxhall 14/40/30-98 Racing Special

“The Rowley Special”

Engine No. OD 784

Registration No. GIG 8664

+44 (0)1869 244 255


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In the world of the Vintage Sports Car Club, the Vauxhall 30-98 has many fans and admirers, being as they are “The Finest of Sporting Cars”. Along with the cars, there have been many owners over the years who have inspired the younger generations to take up competition and to drive their cars with verve. Julian Ghosh is one such driver, a former VSCC president he is somewhat of a legend in the world of Vauxhalls and in turn was inspired to some degree by John Rowley, another former president, hard driving Vauxhall protagonist and whom this splendid vintage special is named after.

Constructed for VSCC competitions and taking some inspiration from the Vauxhall Villiers in its earlier, prettier form, The Rowley Special was built up using an amalgam of original vintage Vauxhall parts, and initially featured a 14/40 chassis with a mixture of 23/60 and 14/40 running gear and an original 30-98 engine. In the early 1980s, the 30-98 engine was removed and fitted to another car and an OD 23/60 uprated to 30-98 specification was fitted. With lightweight streamlined two-seater pointed tail bodywork, the Vauxhall certainly looks the part.

The car was initially completed in 1978 and Ghosh competed successfully at both Prescott and Cadwell Park. As well as the fitting of a different engine in 1981/2 the chassis was shorted by eight inches at the front and the radiator plus bulkhead moved rearward to balance the car. Rowley passed away shortly after this second tranche of work was completed and Julian Ghosh sold the Rowley to Peter Warne. From Warne, the Rowley passed to David Biggins, a well-known Vauxhall and Edwardian VSCC man, and Biggins competed at numerous events over many years, your author clearly remembering the car impressing on the long straights at Cadwell Park. From Biggins, the car passed to Geoffrey O’Connell before spending a number of years oversees.

The current owner purchased the Vauxhall racer in 2015 and has enjoyed use of the car immensely, writing an article for the 30-98 Register Magazine and most recently competing at the 2018 VSCC Prescott Hill climb. During his period of ownership, The Rowley has been treated to a re-paint and two exhaust systems have been made for road and track use. Having recently purchased a standard OE 30-98 Velox from us, the current owner is offering The Rowley Special for sale. A vintage Vauxhall special, constructed in the best traditions of the Vintage Sports Car Club the Rowley Special was built by a legend and former president of said club. With a little work, it could be returned to a car capable of travelling at well over 100mph and a very viable “Bentley beater”, as recently proven so successfully by Gregor Fisken in his Major Hughes, Brooklands modified 30-98 Vauxhall. The Rowley Special also makes for a tractable road car and could therefore be used just as easily to scare modern traffic on the road as Bentleys on the track.