The 30-98 was manufactured between 1913 and 1927, with the best-known configuration being the Velox 4-seater open tourer. (‘Velox’ in Latin being ‘swift/fleet-of-foot’). Described as Britain’s first sports car, it is affectionately known as the ‘Last of the Edwardians’.
Although the body is light, elegant, slim and low-sided, the rear is not very comfortable. And the sides are so low, passengers might be warned to travel at their own risk! The overhead valve engine of 4,224cc provides 115bhp at 3,300rpm. A four-speed gearbox with right-hand change drives the rear wheels through a 3.3:1 spiral bevel rear axle. Brakes are not strong though they are at least, on all four wheels and include a transmission brake behind the gearbox. This is usually full of oil leaking from the rear bearing: so any pedal pressure just produces a bad smell. Best to use just the handbrake, as the handbook recommends.
OE193 was purchased new in February 1925, it is believed by Mr CRS Summers, for approximately £1,300. [The average weekly wage at that time was £5.00.] In 1936, Mr Summers sold the car through the London agents of Vauxhall, Shaw & Kilburn, to Mr Ivor Read of Westgate-on-Sea for £20. Maintenance was entrusted to the Phoenix Garage at Hartley Witney and Archers at Great Dunmow.
Mr Read kept OE 193 for the rest of his life; in 2002, some 66 years after the car was purchased, OE193 was sold by Bonhams. The car had remained largely unaltered and passed to the current owner in 2014.
During 2015-16, Fairbourne Carriages undertook an exacting restoration to the original specification with body and chassis separated for the first time. Cellulose spray paint—Vauxhall had one of the country’s first spray booths—and anything up to seven coats of brush varnish were applied bringing it up to a coach-built finish as new.
Therefore believed to have had just four owners in its life, OE193 is a highly original ‘matching numbers’ car in regular use.
Car displayed courtesy of Club member, John Worth, from Monday 5 to Sunday 18 March 2018.