Vauxhall's D-Type Staff Car at The Cloth Hall, Ypres, earlier in 2014 (© GM Company)

Historic Vauxhall staff car on show for the First World War Centenary

Posted on on 21 July 2014
Share |

A veteran military staff car has been made ready for display by Vauxhall during the UK's First World War Centenary commemorations in the summer of 2014.

The Vauxhall D-Type, currently at Brooklands Museum in Surrey, is one of just two examples of the car known still to exist.

Earlier this year, it returned to Ypres in Belgium, where it was photographed for a feature in  Classic & Sports Car magazine.

 ‘IC-0721’ (its military number) has also 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's headquarters ever since.

Britain's oldest surviving car manufacturer was among a handful of companies which supplied vehicles for the 1914-18 war effort.

More than 1,500 D-Type models were produced  for military use in theatres as diverse as the Western Front, East Africa, Russia and Palestine. King George V visited the Vimy Bridge battlefield in northern France in a Vauxhall.

With its sturdy chassis and durable four-cylinder, sidevalve 3969cc engine, Vauxhall says the D-Type could achieve over 60mph (97kph), and deal with appalling road surfaces that would tax today’s most high-tech off-roaders.

Regarded by many historians as the ‘First Automobile War’, the 1914-18 conflict saw companies like Vauxhall, Rolls Royce and Sunbeam work closely with the British Army to mobilise key personnel.

The Morning Post newspaper 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.’

The D-Type will feature at the Brooklands Great War 100 event in Surrey on 3rd August 2014. More details can be found here.

Source: Vauxhall

Images courtesy of Vauxhall © GM Company

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News