War Horse showcases Britain's first sports car

Updated: 
1911 Vauxhall C-Type
Nag themed Steven Spielberg drama 'War Horse' is to feature Britain's first ever sports car, the 1911 Vauxhall C-Type "Prince Henry".

An apparent fan of the vintage Vauxhall, Spielberg was eager to have one in the movie. The trailer for the film shows both the car and horse racing across Dartmoor.

Thanks to the car's tricky controls and period mechanics (leather lined clutch, anyone?), experts were on hand throughout the shoot to ensure no-one confused the car's centre mounted throttle for a brake pedal and that it didn't expire in a cloud of steam.

On sale for £485 (excluding coachwork) between 1911-1914, the Prince Henry produced a mighty 30bhp from its 3.0-litre engine. Racing versions had enlarged cylinders, pushing power up to a heady 60bhp.

Such wanton power mongering earned it the title of Britain's first sports car, after Prince Henry of Prussia subjected it to a number of reliability trials and motorsport events.

It had a successful career too, winning many hill climbs, including the Swedish Winter Trial in 1912.

Also featured in War Horse is a 1918 Vauxhall D Type Army Staff Car, of which 2,000 were built by Vauxhall for the War Office. It had the honour of being the first car to cross the Rhine after the 1918 armistice.

War Horse opens at cinemas on 13th January 2012.