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Classic Cars

Vauxhall 30-98, Britain's First 100mph Car, Touring UK

Not yet confirmed for Goodwood Festival of Speed

The car was the first British car to hit 100mph

VauxhallVauxhallVauxhallUnited Kingdom, 1857 > present31 models
801 photos
6 videos
plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its 30-9830/98Vauxhall 30/98United Kingdom, 1922 > present1 photo
, which was the first production British car to hit 100mph. The major celebration will be about 50 cars at Waddington Fell in Lancashire where the car’s had their first competition success in 1913. Vauxhall has not confirmed whether it will bring the car to the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The 30-98 was created in 71 days and was based on the C10 Prince HenryPrince Henry Type CVauxhall Prince Henry Type CUnited Kingdom, 1911 > present1 photo
. Its success came for several reasons. The car was aimed against Bentley’sBentleyBentleyUnited Kingdom, 1919 > present37 models
1470 photos
5 videos
at the time, but the 30-98 weighed 400kg (882lbs) less than a Bentley 3.0-Litre3-LitreBentley 3-LitreUnited Kingdom, 1921 > present1 photo
. Power came from a 4.5-liter side-valve four-cylinder engine with 90hp and later 112hp. Many were sold in Australia because the car had a high rear axle ratio, which made it extremely good for cruising. Vauxhall built about 600 of them over 14 years.

Vauxhall created the 100mph version after a major in the army complained that he could not find a car that could hit 100mph. Vauxhall modified a 112hp version of the 30-98 with a two-seat body with aluminum panels. On March 28, 1923, the car hit 100.7mph around the Brooklands circuit. Standard versions had a recorded top speed of 82.57mph because of a full windscreen, steel panels and four seats.

An Autocar review from the time said: “Few cars have such graceful lines yet at once suggest unlimited strength allied to speed…and very, very few can take a corner stiffly with absolute certainty as this one can.”

Vauxhall is working with owner’s clubs around the UK to display the cars around the country this summer. In addition to the hill climb at Waddington Fell, it will also be at Brooklands, Oulton Park and there will be a three-week tour through Australia and Tasmania for the Australian owners. 

Straight 4
258 cu in
Top Speed
Maximum power
114 hp @ 3400 rpm
Fuel consumption (combined)
annual ownership cost




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