World's first sports car goes up for auction

Updated: 


A stunning Vauxhall that is arguably the first sports car ever produced is set to go under the hammer next month.

The 1914 Vauxhall 'Prince Henry' Sports Torpedo might be more than 100 years old and produce less than 25bhp, but at the time it astonished the public with its performance.

1914 VAUXHALL 25HP 'PRINCE HENRY' SPORTS TORPEDO

1914 VAUXHALL 25HP 'PRINCE HENRY' SPORTS TORPEDO


A test car had been clocked at 80mph at the Brooklands circuit, meaning it was capable of twice the speed that most cars could manage at the time. According to Bonhams, where the car will be auctioned, many 'respected and pre-eminent motoring historians' claim this to be the first true sports car because of its performance in time trials and hill climbs.

The car got its name after three specially prepared examples raced at the 1910 Motor Trials named after Prince Henry of Prussia. Replicas were then built and became known as Prince Henry Vauxhalls.

This particular car has only been owned by four people. The first was a man called T.W. Badgery, who took collection of the chassis in March 1914 before commissioning Messrs Hoskison Ltd of Birmingham to build the body.

Badgery and his wife travelled far and wide with the Torpedo and covered around 140,000 miles with their chauffeur 'Witts'.

In 1931, the car was put in storage where it would remain for 14 years. It was then that it was bought by the son of the chassis designer, who had always wanted to own a car of his father's design.

Two more owners came and went and the Torpedo continued to be used regularly in vintage car events. It is offered for sale with regular maintenance papers and details of a recent restoration.

The 'Prince Henry' will be up for auction at The Bond Street Sale in London on December 4, with a guide price of £500,000 to £600,000.