Running the car on period-type beaded-edge tyres, Rea revelled in the robust performance of the big ‘four’, following the wheeltracks of Latin legends around the famous mountain course.
After its restoration, the Vauxhall 30-98 Wensum underwent 1000 miles of testing around the Bath hills
The Sicilians applauded the oldest car on the event all around the route.
Michael Kadoorie had long wanted a Wensum for his collection, and acquired OE141 after an approach to Rae in 2007.
Ever the perfectionist, Kadoorie instructed Keith Bowley of Ashton Keynes Vintage Restorations for a full rebuild.
During the stripdown, it was discovered that the chassis was out of true and the front axle was twisted, so the frame was dispatched to 30-98 guru Julian Ghosh for straightening.
While the running gear was being fettled, Bowley’s coachbuilders set about the bodywork.
The Vauxhall’s skin was carefully removed from the frame and sand-blasted during the restoration
The skin was removed from the wooden frame and carefully sand-blasted.
The car’s history was revealed, including evidence of a cutaway door modification made by Beasley-Robinson in the early ’30s.
“The steel wire around the aluminium had corroded badly and was replaced by stainless, while the panels were carefully cut, repaired, and welded up,” says Bowley, who was determined to preserve as much of this historic machine as possible.
“The handbuilt ash frame had stood up remarkably well after 85 years’ active life.
“The planked teak decking that so defines the Wensum only required polishing.”
Keith Bowley’s modifications include rear-view mirrors, plus boxes for the hood and frame
A stickler for authentic detail, Bowley replaced all of the incorrect round bolts with hexagonal fittings.
The seats were retrimmed in horse hide with proper stuffing.
And all the plating was re-done with nickel.
Mechanically, the car was tired.
The engine was overhauled with new bearings and a special four-branch exhaust, while the worn ’box was fitted with a fresh gear set.
The Vauxhall 30-98 Wensum offers a commanding view of the road ahead