Vauxhall’s veteran D-Type re-enlists for WWI commemorations

Vauxhall is preparing its venerable warhorse, the D-Type, for a string of summer shows to commemorate the First World War.

With just three weeks to go before the 100-year anniversary of the breakout of World War One, Vauxhall, Britain’s oldest surviving car marque, is preparing the car for its outings.

Farnborough International Airshow

The first run the D-Type will see will be as part of the display stand at the Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire this week, before moving on to Brooklands Museum for the duration of the school holidays.

Following that, the car will conclude its tour by taking part in the Brooklands Great War 100 event on August third, a prelude event to the Great War Centenary Parade which will take place in London on the 4th August.

In addition to re-introducing the veteran D-Type to the public eye, Vauxhall will also assist in an authentic flying of the Biggles BE-2 biplane.

At the time, the biplane was assisted by the D-Type, but this time round Vauxhall will be providing one of their Zafira Tourers to take its place.

The D-Type was the successor to the Vauxhall C-Type, which was one of the most prosperous sports cars of its time, and went on to become one of the most prominent fixtures on the Western Front.

Vauxhall was one of just a handful of manufacturers who supplied vehicles to the war effort between 1914 and 1918, and over 1,500 D-Types were used as staff cars for use by the military’s top brass.

In addition to seeing action on the Western Front, the D-Type also was deployed in Eastern Africa, Russia and Palestine.

With a sturdy chassis and four-cylinder engine that was powerful for its day, the car could achieve speeds of over 60mph and efficiently deal with the difficult terrain surfaces that presented themselves during the war.

At the time, London paper The Morning Post noted the importance of Vauxhall’s D-Type after hostilities had ceased, saying: “The four-cylinder Vauxhall cars have proved to be the most generally satisfactory of any British make for staff service.”

Vauxhall also played other vital roles in the war effort; King George V was transported across Vimy Ridge in Northern France in a Vauxhall, while the D-Type was also the first car to cross the Rhine following the 1918 Armistice.

The carmaker also played an incredibly vital role in the Second World War as well, suspending car production and dedicating their lines to making the Churchill tank when the British Army were down to only 100 tanks.

Vauxhall’s Luton factory went on to produce 5,000 of the Churchill tanks, as well as a quarter of a million trucks and also helped lead the British development of the jet engine.