Britain's First 100 MPH Car Turns 100

You know Vauxhall today as Britain's Opel with the steering wheel on the right, but back at the beginning of the motoring era, they made cars that were faster than Bentleys. The OE-type 30-98 was one of those.

In 1913, Vauxhall presented the C10 "Prince Henry's" successor at the Waddington Fell hillclimb. The 30-98 was developed in just 71 days, and the first cars had a 4,525cc side-valve four cylinder engine, producing 90 horsepower. Ten years later, they introduced the OE-type with a more modern overhead valve engine producing 112 hp.

Being almost 900 pounds lighter than a Bentley 3.0-Litre and having a high axle ratio, the OE-type was fast from the beginning, but when Major L. Ropner wrote a letter to The Autocar about how he was fed up with the lack of 100 mph cars on the market, Vauxhall responded by producing a two-seater 30-98 for him in polished aluminium and a full set of road equipment.

Britain's First 100 MPH Car Turns 100

Britain's First 100 MPH Car Turns 100

On March 28, 1923 factory test driver Matt Park took the car to Brooklands and achieved a flying lap at 100.7mph, before delivering the car to Ropner, who used it extensively for competition, continental touring and commuting to London from his home in Yorkshire.

To celebrate the centenary, Vauxhall Motors will bring their own 1926 OE-Type (OE268) to join around 50 other 30-98s in Lancashire to celebrate the model’s competition debut at Waddington Fell. Sounds like a party!

Britain's First 100 MPH Car Turns 100

Britain's First 100 MPH Car Turns 100

Photo credit: Vauxhall