H&H Classics- 1938 Vauxhall 12hp Supercharged Trials Special

H&H Classics- 1938 Vauxhall 12hp Supercharged Trials Special

1938 Vauxhall 12hp Supercharged Trials Special

 

A BUTCHER’S VAN, THEN A MILITARY TRUCK, AND THEN A RACE WINNING TRIALS CAR

1938 Vauxhall 12hp Supercharged Trials Special Has Had Three Lives

A race winning Vauxhall trials car estimated to sell for £11,000 £13,000, with H&H Classics, started life as a humble butcher’s van, was then commandeered for active service during WW2 and then transformed into a race winning trials car. That is some serious shape shifting. The car will be offered for sale at the nextH&H Classics auction at the Imperial War Museum Duxford on September 8th.

 

It was converted into a Trials Special by Cyril Crosby, foreman of Vauxhall’s Experimental Engine Test Department, during the 1940s, and uprated with a 1500cc, 12hp engine in 1948 which was then supercharged and it went on to win multiple class awards from 1947-1955.

Race Winning 1938 Vauxhall 12hp Supercharged Trials Special

 

Starting life as a Bedford HC 10hp 5 cwt butcher’s van, this very successful trials special has a fascinating history which the vendor has been able to unearth since acquiring it in 1965. 

When war was declared in 1939 the van was commandeered by the Government for active service. In 1942 it was returned to the baker with 20,000 miles recorded resplendent in a khaki colour scheme. It was subsequently acquired by Cyril Crosby, a Vauxhall employee (foreman of the Experimental Engine Test Department) who had competed in motorcycle events since 1925 and was looking for a suitable donor in order to create a special that would be able to compete with Morgans and MGs in trials. 

In competition trim the car weighed in at 1800lbs which was about equal to the MG T Type two-seaters it regularly competed against. Between 1947 and 1955 it was entered in numerous events and was extremely successful gaining many class awards and outright first places including: 1st 1948 MCC Exeter Trial, 1st 1949 MCC Land’s End Trial, Triple Award 1950 Land’s End Trial, 1st 1952 Land’s End Trial, 1st 1952 1-hour Silverstone, 1st 1953 Land’s End Trial etc. A detailed list of its awards is contained in the accompanying history file.

The chassis sidemembers were modified and a crossmember installed that allowed the engine to be moved back some seven inches. A strong tubular crossmember was added to the rear to cope with the twin-mounted spare wheels. The brakes remained standard although an MG fly-off handbrake was modified and fitted as well as a remote-control gear change. 

At first, the original engine of 1203cc was retained but after being damaged in 1948 on a difficult trial stage it was replaced by a 1442cc 12hp unit bored out to 1489cc to get as close as possible to the 1500cc maximum permitted.

Mr Crosby eventually sold the car in the mid-1950s and the vendor purchased it from a lady in Luton in 1965. On passing her driving test she had asked her husband for a sportscar and was said to be somewhat in awe of the available performance! By now the car had deteriorated and a considerable amount of work was needed to restore it properly although this was mainly mechanical as the body had remained in good order. 

Before work commenced Mr Crosby got in touch having heard about the project and some of the gaps in its story were filled. Upon completion of the mechanical side the body colour was changed from red to white, the seats welded in and refurbished, and the chrome work replaced. No longer campaigned in trials, it was enjoyed on the road and became a regular on the Kent vintage rally circuit.

 

 

FOR MORE PRESS INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT THE H&H CLASSICS PRESS OFFICE:

Julian Roup ON +44(0)7970563958

OR email [email protected]

FOR MORE PRESS INFORMATION ABOUT H&H CLASSICS CLICK HERE

 

H&H Classics- Oscar Winner Rex Harrison’s 1943 Ford GPW Jeep

H&H Classics- Oscar Winner Rex Harrison’s 1943 Ford GPW Jeep

H&H Classics- Oscar Winner Rex Harrison's 1943 Ford GPW Jeep side view

 

FORMERLY THE PROPERTY OF OSCAR WINNER REX HARRISON, 1943 FORD GPW JEEP, FOR SALE WITH H&H CLASSICS AT THE IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, DUXFORD, SEPTEMBER 8TH ESTIMATE £25,000 – £30,000

This WW2 survivor, formerly the property of Oscar-winning actor Rex Harrison. still retains many genuine WW2 parts. It comes up for sale for an estimate of £25,000 to £30,000 with H&H Classics at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, on September 8th.

It is understood to have served with the 6th US Armoured Division in World War 2and finished its war in Italy. It subsequently became the property of Rex Harrison, the Oscar-winning film star who played Professor Henry Higgins in ‘My Fair Lady’ (Lerner and Loewe’s great musical masterpiece) and Dr John Doolittle in ‘Doctor Do Little’. Copies of Italian paperwork and a logbook relating to Rex Harrison’s ownership, two images with Rex Harrison in the Jeep including one depicting himself and Rita Hayworth accompanies the vehicle.

Oscar Winner Rex Harrison and Rita Hayworth in his 1943 Ford GPW Jeep

 

Paul Cheetham of H&H Classics comments: “We are delighted to offer such an iconic WW2 Jeep with its links to the film world. Professor Henry Higgins it seems had an appreciation for tough and robust qualities, be it in vehicles like this Jeep,or indeed the Cockney character of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.”

It has been subject to a full service and mechanical fettling in July 2021.

Arguably more iconic than a Sherman Tank or P-51 Mustang, the Jeep is for many the definitive WW2 vehicle. Equipped with a torquey L-headed 2.2-litre engine driving all four wheels via a three-speed manual box and two-speed transfer case, the tough, go-anywhere four-seater did its job exceptionally well. By the end of the war, 647,870 Jeeps had been produced – 281,448 of which were manufactured by Ford.

This 1943 example of the Ford GPW is thought to have ended its war in Italy after the end of hostilities, being registered ‘GE 62652’. The Jeep is subsequently understood to have been painted in Green over the original paintwork, which is being carefully removed in areas and revealing the original wartime painted decals. 

The Ford GPW still retains many of its genuine WW2 features including the body-tub, front bumper, early bonnet, combat wheels shod with Firestone Bargrip tyres, very scarce lubrication bags, rare USA shovel and the canvas and frame are thought to be original too. Fitted with a period Willys MB unit (with engines commonly changed during WW2), the GPW has been subject to a 12-volt conversion. 

 

Incorrectly declared as manufactured in 1947 by the DVLA, ‘XBV 227’ will be supplied with a letter from the IMPS (Invicta Military Preservation Society) and MVT (Military Vehicle Trust) stating the correct date of manufacture as 1943 for the DVLA rectification.

Imported into the UK in 2015, the Ford GPW will have  UK-plates in time for the sale. and a current V5C. It has been the subject of much mechanical fettling in July 2021 including engine and ignition system service, a new master cylinder, fuel system flush and new points, plugs and condenser.

 

FOR MORE PRESS INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT THE H&H CLASSICS PRESS OFFICE:

Julian Roup ON +44(0)7970563958

OR email [email protected]

FOR MORE PRESS INFORMATION ABOUT H&H CLASSICS CLICK HERE

 

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