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Little Classics News: 14 July 2014

Classic Vauxhall D-Type Staff Car Ready for War Centenary

Classic Vauxhall D-Type Staff Car Ready for War Centenary

With just three weeks to go before centenary commemorations take place to mark the start of World War One, Vauxhall – Britain’s oldest surviving car manufacturer – is preparing its classic D-Type Staff Car for events and shows through the summer.

Vauxhall D-Type Staff Car at The Cloth Hall, Ypres, Belgium

Its first outing will be as part of Brooklands Museum’s display stand at the Farnborough International Airshow, which runs between 14 – 20 July (public days: 19 – 20 July). From there it will reside at Brooklands Museum during the school holidays, before taking part in Brooklands Great War 100 event on 3 August – a prelude to the Great War Centenary Parade in London on 4th August.

The Vauxhall 25 h.p. staff car

Vauxhall was one of a handful of manufacturers who supplied vehicles to the war effort during the 1914-18 conflict. The Luton company produced more than 1500 D-Type Staff Cars for military use, which saw action in theatres as diverse as the Western Front, East Africa, Russia and Palestine.

Derived from the A-type model and built from 1915, the classic D-Type Staff Car played a vital role during the conflict. With its sturdy chassis and durable four-cylinder, sidevalve 3969cc engine, the D-Type could achieve over 60mph and deal with appalling road surfaces that would tax today’s most high-tech off-roaders.

Vauxhall D-Type Staff Car at The Cloth Hall, Ypres, Belgium

Regarded by many historians as the ‘First Automobile War’, the ’14-18 conflict saw for the first time companies like Vauxhall, Rolls-Royce and Sunbeam work closely with the British Army to mobilise key personnel. King George V was transported to Vimy Bridge in northern France in a Vauxhall, and the Staff Car was also the first vehicle to cross the Rhine following the Armistice in 1918.

The Morning Post summed up the importance of Vauxhall’s D-Type soon after hostilities had finished: ‘The four-cylinder Vauxhall cars have proved to be the most generally satisfactory of any British make for Staff service.’

Vauxhall D-Type Staff Car at The Cloth Hall, Ypres, Belgium on the road

The car in seen here is one of just two D-Type Staff Cars known to survive. ‘IC-0721’ (its military number) appeared in the Steven Spielberg film War Horse, along with Vauxhall Heritage Collection’s ‘Prince Henry’ model. Saved from a London scrapyard in 1946, the car was restored to its original condition and has resided at Vauxhall HQ ever since.



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