1915 VAUXHALL 25hp D TYPE STAFF CAR
Registration No. NO 2353
Chassis No. D 471
Engine No. D 889
Khaki with brown leather interior
Engine: Four Cylinder in line, L-head sidevalve, 3964 cc; Gearbox: four speed right hand change; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: hand brake to rear wheels, foot operated transmission brake. Right hand drive.
Introduced in 1912, the 25hp D-Type was the touring version of the sporting Prince Henry Vauxhall, it had a larger, 4 litre engine, than its successful sporting counterparts and predecessors and was produced to cater for the luxury market, offering a strong chassis that was capable of carrying the best coachwork. When war broke out in 1914, it was these sturdy characteristics that made the model so suitable for military use. The 25hp provided a versatile Staff car, and the company would build 8 cars a week at the order of the War Office throughout the conflict. In their advertising Vauxhall were keen to point out that this was 'The finest car in Active Service' and reported that it had 'those qualities of design that make for liveliness, ease of handling, ample power, high efficiency and general distinction of performance'. Earning its colours in the field, the company advised that 'The after-war Vauxhall will be the rage among buyers of the best-class English car, and you will do well to book your order in advance'
Post-war demand was indeed healthy and when they had finished their service many Staff cars returned to England to Vauxhall Motors to be refurbished and sold. Although registered for the road in May 1921, this car was retained by the factory until 1926, when it was sold as 'ex-Government surplus'. Later used by some students on a trip to the continent who just managed to return before the outbreak of World War Two, it spent that war unceremoniously in an implement shed in Nottinghamshire, where it was found in the late 1940's.
When discovered the engine was seized but otherwise the car had worn well, and was virtually complete. A sympathetic rebuild was undertaken, during which the engine was stripped and found otherwise to be in relatively good order. The distressed upholstery was matched and copied to the correct pattern, and the coachwork repainted in period khaki livery. A vintage style Vauxhall windscreen was fitted at this time.
On completion of the four year restoration it spent some time on exhibition at The Montagu Motor Museum, and was later sold to the Lomas Bros. Motors Group, main agents for Vauxhall in the Peak District. In 1968, during their ownership the car was used extensively by the Royal Air Force for various ceremonial occasions of their 50th anniversary, and carried The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh at the Earls Court Royal Tournament, and Princess Margaret on another occasion at RAF Wittering. Other notable service at that time included use in the film 'Woman in Love' and in 'The Avengers' series.
Isle of Wight based collector Norman Ball purchased the D Type at auction in 1970, and that year it again saw royal service, transporting Princess Anne and Lord Mountbatten at Carisbrooke Castle. It later became one of the principal features of his collection at the museum on the island, and it was acquired by the present owner at the dispersal sale of Mr Ball's Transport collection in 1991.
In the last eight years the Vauxhall has seen regular use being exercised on VCC events and has been taken to the Isle of Man for the Gordon Bennett run. In this ownership a starter motor and correct Edwardian CAV head and side lights have been fitted, the hood renewed, and the windscreen put back to correct period style. Equipped with a side-mounted spare wheel, auster screen, and side screens the car is completed by its distinctive raised radiator cap and flag pennant.
Ready for the road, the Vauxhall offers an excellent entry for VCC, VSCC and other events. It is sold with the old style log book, VCC Dating Certificate (No. 873), and file containing a number of photographs and press cuttings of the car in use, literature on the model, and old MoT certificates.
The survival rate of these cars is extremely poor, a mere two Staff cars being known to exist, and this the only example in private hands. The car therefore represents a unique opportunity to purchase a charismatic Edwardian Vauxhall, with a long and interesting history, and that now carries a charming patina of age.