On Saturday 7th September, the Royal Automobile Club awarded its Club Trophy to the magnificent 1920 Vauxhall 30-98 E-Type Tourer 4.5 Litres at the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace.
Owner, Jennifer Ann Lees was awarded the Trophy by Club President HRH Prince Michael of Kent, despite stiff competition made up of the best of the best from invited UK car clubs.
After receiving the trophy, Jennifer said: ‘Winning this award was a complete surprise and a real honour. Our Vauxhall 30-98 has an amazing history and we as a family love her to bits. She is used for shopping trips, family holidays, sprints, races and rallies. The Vauxhall is the perfect all round car and this award is the icing on the cake.’
Each year a hand-picked panel of expert judges are assembled to judge displayed cars across four categories: Pre-War, Pre-1960, Pre-1980 and Post-1980, with an overall winner also chosen.
Peter Read, Chairman of the Club’s Motoring Committee, was the Chair of the panel of judges which included HRH Prince Michael of Kent, David Lillywhite (Editorial Director, Magneto Magazine), Ed Wiseman (Assistant Motoring Editor, The Telegraph), Alastair Clements (Editor, Classic & Sports Car Magazine) and 2017 Club trophy winner, Katie Forrest.
On Saturday, the judges spent several hours reviewing entries before agreeing on a worthy overall winner.
The 1920 Vauxhall has a captivating story. Its first owner was an Argentinian horse breeder who purchased it from Harrods in Buenos Aires at a time when Harrods was the agent for Vauxhall in South America. After this it was used by the family for many years including local race events in its later life. Colin Crabbe repatriated it to the UK in 1994 and, after restoring it, won a Vintage Sports-Car Club (VSCC) concours before immediately setting off on a series of world-wide rallies across Russia – where it was driven by HRH Prince Michael of Kent – India and San Francisco.
Its current owner purchased the vehicle in 2006 and since then it has been frequently used for motoring activities which include family holidays abroad and VSCC racing, sprints, rallying, hill climbs and more.
To further celebrate the Vauxhall’s win, ‘H-85455’ will be making an appearance in the Royal Automobile Club’s Pall Mall clubhouse before the end of the year and, having won the Club Trophy, is automatically entered into the main Concours display in 2019.
Winners of each category were:
Pre-War Class Winner
Owner – Jennifer Ann Lees
1920 Vauxhall 30-98 E-Type Tourer 4.5 Litres
Pre-1960 Class Winner
Owner – Charles Joice
1951 Frazer Nash Le Mans Rep
Pre-1980 Class Winner
Owner – Anton Raaymakers
1966 Jensen C-V8 MK III
Post-1980 Class Winner
Owner – Peter Boita
1984 Lotus Turbo Esprit S3
Peter Read, Chairman of the judging panel said: ‘The breadth of vehicles which arrive on the gravel at Hampton Court each year never fails to impress me. Picking a winner is always a daunting task, but with our judging team we’ve chosen a really special car. With an intriguing story that mirrors its wonderful design, I’m looking forward to seeing it showcased in the Club’s rotunda.’
Spirit of Motoring Trophy
On Saturday evening at the Concours of Elegance Gala dinner at Windsor Castle, the Club also presented its ‘Spirit of Motoring’ trophy.
Peter Read presented the Trophy to Club member Clive Beecham, 166 owner and Ferrari enthusiast, for his passion and initiative in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta winning both Le Mans and the Mille Miglia.
Clive organised for a unique tour of several famous 166’s, taking them to the Club’s Woodcote Park clubhouse for a special celebratory dinner before travelling to Hampton Court via Brooklands where they became the main feature of the Concours of Elegance over the three days.
Following this the cars will drive on to Italy, joining a further ten cars to revisit the birthplace of the 166.
Members Display at the Concours
On Owners day Club members enjoyed a day out at the Concours, with 12 cars parked up in the Club’s section of the display. Members enjoyed teas and coffees before getting the chance to wander around the grounds, seeing other cars arriving and watching the marvellous display building throughout the day. A three-course lunch was also organised, giving members the chance to chat about their cherished vehicles with fellow enthusiasts.
The Dewar Trophy
Over the weekend the Dewar Trophy made a special appearance at Hampton Court Palace in the Dewar’s whisky stand.
The Dewar Trophy was presented to the Club by Sir Thomas Dewar MP (later Lord Dewar), a member of Parliament in June 1904 owing to his active interest in the automotive industry. It has been awarded since 1906 and today recognises outstanding British technical achievement in the automotive industry.
With the trophy on display, it was the perfect opportunity to highlight the prestige of an award whose previous winners include Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines, McLaren Automotive and Gordon Murray Design.
On the Friday, Peter Read and Dewar’s Jonathan Wilson took the opportunity to share the rich heritage of the trophy with the Concours audience. Besides them a Lotus Evora was displayed, featuring the manufacturer’s exemplary Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) chassis technology which won the group the 2008 Dewar Trophy.