Rarest Sports Cars in the World
WORLD'S FIRST SPORTS CAR
The open-top Vauxhall Prince Henry Sports Torpedo had a four-litre engine which developed 25bhp
A CLASSIC 102-year-old Vauxhall is expected to sell for more than £600, 000.
The rare motor – regarded as the world’s first sports car – was capable of a top speed of more than 80mph when it left the factory in 1914.
SWNS:South West News ServiceThe vintage car built in 1914 was last sold almost 50 years ago The open-top Vauxhall was developed by engineer Laurence Pomeroy The impressive motor had a four-litre engine which developed 25bhp
This was a time that technology in cars was in its infancy and the average road car would be lucky to hit half this speed.
The open-top Vauxhall Prince Henry Sports Torpedo, developed by engineer Laurence Pomeroy, was given coachwork by Hoskison Ltd of Birmingham and delivered new to T.W. Badgery, a keen cyclist and businessman who worked in the leather industry in Worcester.
Mr Badgery ran the Vauxhall on castor oil second pressings from his leather factory and kept it until 1931, by which time the car enthusiast and his chauffeur, Witts, had clocked up an impressive 140, 000 miles.
The car’s quick performance was sourced from a 4-litre engine which developed 25bhp – with many highly regarded historians claiming the Prince Henry is the first ever sports car.
It earned the moniker because it was essentially a re-bodied racing car, capable of being driven at high speeds while carrying four people and a boot-load of luggage.
The car’s second owner was Laurence Pomeroy Jnr, whose dad was the famous Vauxhall designer and engineer who came up with the Prince Henry.
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As a child, Pomeroy Jnr had a pedal car version of the Prince Henry which was built for him by his father and he always wanted the real thing.
He jumped at the chance to own C97 and kept it until his death in 1966 when it was bought from the estate by another enthusiast.
The car will be sold by Bonhams at its Bond Street sale in London on December 4.
It is expected to sell for between £500, 000 and £600, 000.
It is being sold by the family of Reg Long, an engineer from Lincolnshire who bought the car in 1970 and passed away earlier this year.
During the 46 years Mr Long owned the car, it has been driven around Europe and featured in numerous books and magazine features.
Rob Hubbard, senior motor car specialist at Bonhams said: “The Prince Henry is considered to be the first sports car and came from Vauxhall’s various racing successes.
“It was a racing car with wings and headlights and it could comfortably seat four. This variant of Prince Henry is the rarest Vauxhall – I think there are just seven left in existence.
“It was owned by Reg Long, who passed away earlier this year, and was the jewel in his crown.
“He competed in many events and travelled the whole of Europe over the years. It is a very important car and because they are so rare, very few come to the market.”
It was last driven in July, covering 30 miles and is presented with a “delightful patina” acquired through its 102 years.
Much originality has been carefully preserved, including, Bonhams believes, the leather upholstery.
The auction house described the Prince Henry Vauxhall as a “scarce” car which is highly prized by their knowledgeable owners.
It added: “This car, with its outstanding provenance, unchallengeable continuous history and connection with such ‘establishment’ figures in the veteran motoring world.”
“With its high waistline, narrow torpedo coachwork and raked windscreen it is arguably the most handsome by far of all the surviving cars and, with the required recommissioning which it undoubtedly now deserves following 102 years of enthusiastic use, it will worthily take its place high on the stage of the world’s great cars.”