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Steve Butler is not afraid to make serious road trips in his 1923 Vauxhall 30-98 E-Type

Steve lives in the UK, but usually travels to Australia twice a year for driving holidays, participating in rallys. There is a strong vintage and classic car scene in Australia.

Steve Butler and his 1923 Vauxhall 30-98

Steve reports that driving in Austalia is a joy as the drivers are courteous and don’t exceed the speed limits. There is no aggression like the nightmare daily experiences in England. Driving in Oz is such a pleasant experience and whether it’s car or truck drivers, everyone is just as considerate & helpful. 

1923 Vauxhall 30-98 E Type.
The E Type is the earlier 4.5 ltr 4 cylinder side valve model, producing about 90 bhp.  The overhead valve version (OE) was launched in 1923. The Duchess is the youngest remaining  E Type (sidevalve) and one of only 4 remaining in Australia and one of only 30 remaining worldwide.

The Vauxhall 30-98 was made in Luton from 1919 – 1927. A total of 283 E Types were made between 1919-23 and 313 OE models between 1923 and 1927. It has been described as the last of Edwardians and the first great British sports car.

The later OE (overhead valve) is generally accredited with being the first British-manufactured motor car to guarantee the new owner 100 mph in standard form, a scary thought considering the crude brakes.

Steve’s car was shipped directly from the factory in 1923, most likely in engine & chassis form as was the norm in those days. Steve bought the car in 2019.

The Nullarbor Plain – an epic road trip

1923 Vauxhall 30-98 crossing the Nullarbor Plain, Australia

The Eyre Highway – 1,024 miles linking Western Australia and Southern Australia

Steve had wanted to drive across The Nullarbor Plain ever since he was young so, he decided to do just that in The Duchess in November 2022.

After preparation at John Kent’s workshop (Crank Start Engineering) – a specialist in vintage Vauxhalls and vintage/Edwardian specials, in Wangaratta (NE Victoria), Steve began his journey to Perth in WA. The Nullabor Plain is almost 1,700 km long, but his total journey was over 4,500 km (over a 4-week period) including detours all around the Eyre Peninsula and visits to the coastal towns of Esperance & Albany in the SW of WA .

The Nullarbor Plain
The Nullarbor Plain is a 77,000 square mile area of flat arid or semi-arid desert. The name (from latin) is literally “no trees”. The Eyre Highway follows the southern edge and was not a fully sealed road until 1976. The highway features the longest completely straight section of tarred road in Australia , 91 miles.

 

Gallery – Slideshow

Tucker Sno-Kittens Model 222. 1958 & Round-door 1956

Thanks Steve for sharing your adventure in such an iconic British Car

End of the road

After reaching WA in late November, Steve needed to find somewhere to store the car until his next visit. A member of the Victoria branch of the VSCC he followed various leads, but felt resigned to getting a storage unit near Perth airport.

Then, one night, he decided to email 3 museums in WA, and one of them offered to take the car and look after it. Bunbury Geographe Motor Museum about 200km south of Perth have put the car on display. The museum is right in the centre of town and it’s a typically friendly coastal town in the south west of WA . The ideal solution for Steve and The Duchess!