Posts Tagged ‘Australian Transcontinental Car Record’

The Vauxhall 30/98 was an iconic high performance, light touring car despite the relatively small number, circa 596, built.

Such was the build quality and the fact that ’old car people’ saw the intrinsic merit of the Laurence Pomeroy design a large proportion of those constructed between 1923 to 1927 still exist. They were popular in Australia, we have a lot of 30/98’s in Oz in relative terms, the cars are a very welcome and admired part of the historic car scene. This short article is about two Velox bodied fast tourers shipped to Australia in 1924, chassis numbers OE86 and OE100.

In some of my history of Australian motor racing articles i’ve mentioned the grip on the publics imagination transcontinental or city to city record breaking had in the formative motoring years of this great sun-bleached land. Vauxhalls featured heavily in these achievements in the hands of Boyd Edkins and others.

30/98 at the Queensland/Northern Territory border fence (unattributed)

John Balmer was the scion of a well to do Victorian family, his mother acquired 30/98 chassis number OE100 as a gift for him. He competed in various motorsport events with it, and together with co-driver Eddie Scott set the transcontinental Darwin to Adelaide, Fremantle (Perth) to Adelaide, and Adelaide to Melbourne records during 1936 in the car.

OE100 was somewhat bruised by this experience so its core components- 4224cc 112 bhp four cylinder engine, gearbox and front end wheel to wheel were fitted into OE86, another 30/98 owned by RS Robinson, a friend of Balmer’s from their Melbourne University and Citizen Air Force training days.

With sponsorship provided by Shell, Dunlop and Repco, Balmer and Richard Kent established a new 9326 mile circumnavigation of Australia record of 24 days, 11 hours and 58 minutes in 1938. The Repco advertisement at this articles outset recognises that remarkable achievement of grit and endurance.

Crossing the Katherine River in the Northern Territory (unattributed)

John Balmer was killed on a bombing mission over Berlin in 1944 but left his share of the car to Robinson’s wife Janet. The car was retained by the Robinson family in Victoria’s Warrnambool area, little used other than in occasional VSCC events until sold in 2016- and restored by Paul Chaleyer in Blackburn, Victoria.

Bibliography…

ausauto.com, MossGreen auctions

Tailpiece: The transcontinental adventurers, John Balmer and Richard Kent, ‘Boys Own’ stuff isn’t it? Blackall is in central Queensland…