Part 4 of Vauxhall’s Decade-a-Day series focuses on an inoffensive-looking pre-war model that introduced technology to mainstream buyers that we now take for granted.
VAUXHALL H-TYPE TEN-FOUR
In 1937, Vauxhall’s H-type ‘Ten-Four’ model turned the booming 10hp (RAC rating) market on its head. It was the first British unitary construction car, and the first mainstream British car to have synchromesh gears. It also had hydraulic brakes and independent front suspension, so quite a technical tour de force in its day.
In fact, The Motor was moved to say: ‘No exaggeration…the Vauxhall Ten is one of the most brilliant pieces of design that has been seen in Britain for ten years.’
The H’s technological advances – the result of a million-pound investment by Vauxhall – proved instantly popular with British drivers, and five months after its launch 10,000 models had been sold. The price was right, too: at a highly competitive £159, it became the default choice in class for many buyers.
By 1940, when production ceased due to the start of hostilities, the little ‘H’ had found its way into more than 42,000 British households.
This Deluxe model in the colour photographs is owned by Vauxhall Heritage and was restored to its original specification, including an application of polychromatic cellulose paint.
Body: 4-door saloon & 2-door coupe
Engine configuration: 4-cylinders in-line
Engine capacity: 1203cc
Top Speed: 60mph
Acceleration: 0-50mph 18.0 secs
Fuel Consumption: 36-42mpg