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Vauxhall 30/98
Vauxhall drainpipe special


Vauxhall drainpipe special


Click to view Full Picture of Drainpipe Special at Hilclimb

The Vauxhall 30-98 was in 1924 a sports 4 seater open tourer powered by a four cylinder engine with a displacement of 4 1/4 litres. It is an overhead valve engine operated by duralumin pushrods. The conrods were also made of duralumin. Petrol is provided by a vacuum tank operating off the inlet manifold to a 48mm updraft aircraft zenith carburettor.

Pistons were hourglass style in aluminium. Spark is by single magneto driven off the timing gears/chain. Ignition advance and retard was manually controlled from the quadrant on top of the steering column as was the hand throttle (vintage cruise control?) Gearbox is 4 speed right hand gate change with no syncro. Rear axle ratio is 3.3:1, and wheel size is 20" diameter. This rev ratio was approx 30 miles per thousand and top speed in the area of 100 Mph.

The gearbox, crankcase, body panels, bonnet and mudguards were made from aluminium, the body frame was timber. Total weight of the car was around 28 hundredweight, just under 1.5 ton. Instrumentation comprised speedo, clock, amp meter and oil pressure gauge. The original brakes were mechanical. The front brakes used an equalising device called a kidney box which were operated by the foot pedal and the rear was from the hand brake.

The Drainpipe Special was built from an original 1924 Vauxhall 30-98 (OE 221) that had crashed some time in the late 1940's / early fifties. The wreck was acquired by Bill Chadwick who scrapped the chassis and body & built a totally new & more rigid chassis of his own design. The new chassis frame was made from steel tubing thus its nickname of Drainpipe Special. To this he also designed & fitted independent front suspension with torsion bars. For stoppers he used vintage FIAT 519 finned alloy drum brakes on all four wheels, converted to hydraulics. These brakes are absolutely HUGE!!! and suit the car really well. The original 30-98 engine, gearbox, and differential were in good 'low mileage' condition & were installed into the replacement chassis. Bill also made a new aluminium racing body for the DPS but according to him, he hated the look of it so put the axe through it & thereafter drove it in chassis form.

Bill Chadwick ran a motor engineering business at Bathurst and was a founder member of the Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia & foundation President of the Bathurst Light Car Club. He used the Vauxhall in competition club events, hillclimbs etc in the Bathurst area Mount Panorama during the fifties. From all accounts of those who drove it, the car performed exceptionally well and handled superbly. According to Bill Chadwick, itís performance was as good as XK120 Jaguars of the period. Not bad for a 1924 motor car.