The Most Valuable Car in Norfolk
A rare classic Vauxhall E-Type, bought second-hand for £115 in 1952, has recently sold at auction – for a staggering £242,300.
Built at Luton in 1920, the Vauxhall E-Type sold at Bonhams on Saturday 6th September has a long and interesting history.
A Vauxhall E-type, similar to the one sold at auction
The rare car was originally purchased second-hand for £115 on 30th June 1952, and has spent the past 60 years in Norfolk. Former owner Murray Ferguson, of Happisburgh, said that he rarely took it beyond the county boundary during the years he owned it.
It was Mr Ferguson’s brother, Ian, who originally bought the car, before passing it on to him soon afterwards.
Although it has enjoyed a relatively quiet retirement, the car has a rather chequered history. According to a Bonhams’ spokesman:
“Although the complete history of this car is not known, it was first registered in Westmorland (now Cumbria) and it is believed that in its early days it was owned by the Lings family of Bollington in Cheshire.
“In or around 1930, the car passed into the ownership of a Mr Jeffreys, remaining in regular use.
“It later served King and Country in World War Two, being requisitioned for service with the Home Guard.”
In 1952, following its retirement from the front line, the car was bought in Manchester for £115, before being passed from Ian to Murray, who commented that he had only ever taken the aged warrior on occasional outings.
It was only this year that the car, one of Norfolk’s rarest and most valuable, was pushed into the spotlight once more, after it was listed with Bonhams auction house.
The expert team originally valued the car at £150-180,000. However, the vintage motor shocked everyone when the hammer eventually fell, selling for £240,000.
A Truly Special Motor
A Vauxhall E-Type in action
Auctioneer Bonhams original ambitious list price was prompted by the peculiar rarity of the vehicle. Only 30 early models of the Vauxhall E-Type 30-98 are known to have survived, making Mr Ferguson’s vehicle worthy of a place in the garage of every collector across the globe.
It is also one of only two surviving examples of the type of coachwork it displays, manufactured and assembled by Grosvenor Carriage Co. Ltd., of Kilburn, London.
Nic Portway, Suffolk-based author of the definitive book Vauxhall 30-98, The Finest of Sporting Cars, commented:
“About 30 of the early side-valve 30-98s survive worldwide, so yes, this is a fairly rare survivor.
“The Grosvenor-built two seater was considered by Vauxhall as the standard two-seat coachwork for the 30-98 hp model.
“The car’s virtue is the fact that nobody has modified it and it is in substantially original condition and in good order.”
Buyers at the auction, hosted on the 6th September at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire, undoubtedly agreed with his assessment, and they were willing to put down the money to prove it. After all, you can’t put a price on history – well, not unless it’s a very, very high one.
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