World’s First Sports Car Sells for over £500,000

Dubbed as the world’s first true sports car, this 1914 Vauxhall 25HP ‘Prince Henry’ Sports Torpedo Coachwork is one impressive vehicle. A real part of motoring history, it’s no wonder it has recently changed hands for more than half a million pounds.

Prince Henry’s are rare, and the 25HP version even rarer. It was manufactured at a time when motor sport was in its infancy but becoming more popular.  It made sense for Vauxhall to create this model and enter into reliability trials. It brought them some good publicity and it was a great way to show the public just what their cars were capable of.

This particular vehicle, registration OI 2467 has an impressive provenance. It’s history can be tracked from the day or manufacture to the present day. In the 102 years since it came off the production line, it’s had just four (possibly not so) careful owners.

The first owner was motor enthusiast T.W. Badgery. He fell in love with the ‘Prince Henry’ Vauxhall, designed by  Laurence Pomeroy. Not only was it stunning looking, it was also powerful and fast. Badgery drove the vehicle until 1931, in that time he had clocked up 140,000 miles. After 1931 the car was put into storage, until in 1945 it was acquired by Laurence Pomeroy Jnr, the son of the original designer. He had always had a soft spot for this particular model, having had a pedal car version of it when he was a child. This was his dream car and he spent the next 21 years regularly competing in it.

When Pomeroy Jnr died in 1966, it was important to his family that his beloved ‘Prince Henry’ Vauxhall find a good new home. The next owner was Nick Ridley, who later became President of the Veteran Car Club. The car was again to spend a lot of time on the road, at veteran and vintage events. In 1970 the car changed hands again and ‘Henry’ went to live with Reg Long, another veteran car enthusiast from Lincolnshire. ‘Henry’ stayed with Reg Long for the next 46 years! Long took the car on many continental journeys where it always drew a crowd of admirers.

This magnificent piece of motoring history is even a film star, having featured in the 1973 film ‘An Aspidistra in Babylon’.