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Vauxhall Prince Henry & 30/98

Vauxhall Prince Henry & 30/98 Published: 1st Jun 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Vauxhall Prince Henry & 30/98
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Luton’s Legends were every bit as good as the very best


A Vauxhall you cry – which means you don’t know the carmaker’s history! Before it was taken over in the mid 20s by General Motors, Vauxhall was more a Bentley rival than Ford, producing some of the finest tourers in the world, best epitomised by the 100mph Prince Henry and the 30/98 (Velox).


The Prince Henry was first made in 1910, a 3-litre tourer later expanded to 3.5-litres, although not sold to the public until 1912, after notching up considerable success in competition and reliability trials. The alter C-type could top 75mph but this was beaten by the new 30/98 ‘E-type’ which was also known as the Velox which lapped Brooklands at 108mph. Bodywork specialists such as Mulliner and Grosvenor plus there was also the boat-tailed Wesnum.


Vauxhall made the first E-type before Jaguar and while they are half a century apart, Luton’s car was similarly hailed in its day as one of the best cars in the world. In its final incarnation, the 30/98 had a mighty 4-litre four-cylinder engine rated up to 120bhp – pretty impressive in its day. With hydraulic brakes from 1920 it was advanced, too. In optional high axle ratio Vauxhall guaranteed that its 30/98 could top the ton straight off the showroom floor. “Super efficient and speedy” is how The Autocar described the Prince Henry.


Expensive when new with a Prince Henry costing £565 in 1910, these are hardly inexpensive buys a century on, if for no other reason than their sheer rarity. Octane dubbed the 30/98 “the McLaren of its day”, so a late model equipped with hydraulic front brakes can sell in the region of £200,000, with the Prince Henry priced a bit lower. A 30/98 with an Australiandesigned body recently went for £169,500.


Don’t look to your local dealer for help… and bear in mind that all classic Vauxhalls are never the easiest cars to repair or restore, so you’re going to need the help of the VBOA owners’ club. In Australasia, pre-WW2 Vauxhalls were extremely popular and a good number of the 200 survivors may reside so you may find rare parts here.

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