While it may have long been an integral part of the GM empire, Vauxhall holds the distinction of being Britain’s oldest surviving car maker. It is old enough to have played a key role in World War One, a point that will be made as part of forthcoming commemorations to mark 100 years since the start of the conflict.
More than 1500 D-type staff cars were built in Luton to support the war effort, and they saw action in regions as diverse as the Western Front, Russia and Palestine. Its four-cylinder 3969cc sidevalve engine made it good for speeds of over 60mph and it could cope with terrain that would make a modern SUV shudder.
Only two are thought to survive, the one in these photographs having been saved from a London scrapyard in 1946 before eventually going on to movie stardom in the 2011 film War Horse.
Vauxhall’s D-type staff car is being prepared for public outings throughout the summer, starting with the Farnborough Airshow (19-20 July) and going on display at the Brooklands Museum. WW1 is regarded by many as the first automotive war, and Vauxhall, together with Rolls-Royce and Sunbeam, played an important part in mobilising allied forces.