SEC­OND-OLD­EST VAUXHALL TAKES ON LON­DON TO BRIGHTON RUN

1903 5HP is joined by 1904 6HP

Performance Vauxhall - - NEWSFEED -

Prov­ing Vauxhall’s cur­rent mar­ket­ing slo­gan, Bri­tish Brand since 1903, runs more than skin­deep, two of the com­pany’s old­est ve­hi­cles – one of which was built in the year Vauxhall was founded as a car man­u­fac­turer – re­cently took to the road for the an­nual Bon­hams Lon­don to Brighton Vet­eran Car Run.

Ac­knowl­edged as the world’s sec­ond­old­est sur­viv­ing Vauxhall, the 1903 5HP em­barked on the sixty­mile drive for the first time since 2015. Vauxhall’s Manag­ing Di­rec­tor, Steve Nor­man, took the driv­ing seat along­side re­cently re­tired Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Di­rec­tor, De­nis Chick. Reg­is­tered BS8213, this par­tic­u­lar 5HP is the forty-fifth ve­hi­cle built by Vauxhall. It’s a rare four­seat model, with pas­sen­gers sit­ting over the en­gine in front of the driver. Vauxhall Her­itage pur­chased and re­stored the car two decades ago. Orig­i­nally bought for £154 3s 3d by a Scot­tish ship­builder, it fea­tures a wa­ter­cooled 983cc en­gine (sorry, no Z20LET here) pow­er­ing the rear wheels through an epicyclic gear­box and chain drive. Top speed is 20mph and fuel con­sump­tion is around 38mpg, im­pres­sive fig­ures for the time of man­u­fac­ture, al­beit not as as­ton­ish­ing as your mate’s VXD-­badged Vec­tra C, which he swears blind can out­run a Vey­ron, even with the en­gine switched off.

The 5HP didn’t have to com­plete its south­bound trek alone – it had the Her­itage Cen­tre’s 6HP model for com­pany! Reg­is­tered JNM 400 and fea­tured in the Aug/Sep 2017 is­sue of Per­for­mance Vauxhall (or­der a copy of the mag­a­zine at bit.ly/is­sue­spv), it was one of seventy cars pro­duced in 1904 at Vauxhall’s orig­i­nal man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in South Lon­don.

Vauxhall is the only sur­viv­ing Bri­tish car brand el­i­gi­ble to en­ter the Bon­hams Lon­don to Brighton Vet­eran Car Run, a chal­lenge open to cars built be­fore 1905, the year Vauxhall’s base switched from Lon­don to Lu­ton. The com­pany has built more than four­teen mil­lion ve­hi­cles in its 115­year his­tory.

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