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30/98 OE Velox Tourer
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  Vauxhall 30/98 OE Velox Tourer      

  Article Image gallery (19) OE115 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1922 - 1927
Numbers built:313 (All versions)
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 03, 2018
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIntroduced in 1913, the Vauxhall 30/98 is generally considered one the first great British sports cars. Designed by the legendary Laurence Pomeroy, the first example was commissioned by Joseph Higginson, who immediately used it to win the Shelsley Walsh hill-climb, setting a new record on the hill and cementing the 30/98's reputation.

The 30/98 was built on a steel ladder frame with leaf-sprung axles on both ends. The first cars featured brakes on the rear axle only. These were hand-operated through a large lever. From 1923, brakes on the front wheels were added. Unlike the rear brakes, these were operated by a pedal through cables. This setup was replaced by a hydraulic system in 1926.

It was powered by a straight-four engine with the cylinder and block cast in a single piece. It featured push-rod actuated side-valves. With a bore of 98mm and stroke of 150mm, the big 'four' had a displacement of just over 4.5 litres. Breathing through a single Zenith carburettor, it produced 90bhp. The engine was mated to a four-speed gearbox.

Vauxhall offered the 30/98 as a rolling chassis for bespoke coachwork but most were delivered with factory fitted bodies. The standard bodywork was the 'Velox' tourer, which was a lightweight open four-seater that best suited the high performance chassis. During the 1920s, Vauxhall also offered a boat-tail speedster, fittingly named the Wensum after the Norwich river.

In 1922, the 30/98 evolved into the OE, which featured a revised overhead-valve engine designed by Clarence Evelyn King. It had a shorter stroke and a detachable cast-iron head. Initially, this new engine produced 112bhp, while ultimately, it was good for 120bhp thanks to a balanced crankshaft. Along with the introduction of the overhead-valve engine, the wheelbase was slightly lengthened.

Production of the 30/98 would run through to 1927 by which time close to 600 examples had been built. Its price and performance were on par with the best Bentley and Rolls-Royce had to offer. Sadly, Vauxhall had been acquired by General Motors and the American company had little interest in building high-performance, exclusive cars, so the 30/98 had no successor.

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  Article Image gallery (19) OE115 Specifications