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Vauxhall

C10 'Prince Henry', 1911

Image copyright © BMIHT
Make
Vauxhall
Manufacturer
Vauxhall Motors
Location Made
Luton
Accession Number
L2021:105
Collection
Vauxhall Heritage Collection
Type
Car
Status
On loan from a private collection
Engine
4 cyl, 3054 cc, 60 bhp
Fuel
Petrol
Top Speed
75 mph (120 km/h)
Body Style
Sports
Price When New
£580
Materials
metal, glass, textiles
Dimensions
(l), (w), (h)
Location
Museum

Before the 1920s, cars were very expensive and out of reach for most people. Cars often reflected their owner’s tastes, with their own choice of style, materials and colours. Manufacturers soon realised that they could attract new customers for their cars from those who had been impressed by their success in motor racing.

One such model was the Vauxhall C-type ‘Prince Henry’, developed from Vauxhall’s three litre car. It was designed for the Prince Henry trials, a race named after the motoring fanatic Prince Heinrich Hohenzollern of Prussia. Vauxhall put a powerful engine (by contemporary standards) into a special short chassis and created what was Britain’s first proper sports car.

The model combined the crafted coachwork of an Edwardian car with much better performance than the average touring model.     It was completed by a distinctive pointed nose and Vauxhall’s trademark fluted bonnet and radiator. It appealed to the rich, gentleman racer, a market which Vauxhall cultivated at the time. The ‘Prince Henry’ was capable of speeds up to 75 mph. Vauxhall scored many victories in trials and hill climbs with the car, including the gruelling Swedish Winter Trail of 1912. This is the earliest of only nine surviving ‘Prince Henry’ models.