2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of World War One, with the country commemorating the event in a number of different ways. Vauxhall is Britain's oldest car manufacturer that still produces cars today, and will be wheeling out its D-Type staff car to appear at a number of different events across the country.
Vauxhall played a part in World War One, as one of a small number of car manufacturers who provided vehicles to help to support the war effort. More than 1,500 D-Type cars were produced by Vauxhall to be used as military vehicles, and were shipped as far afield as Palestine, Russia, the Western Front and South Africa.
Now, however, there are only two D-Type staff cars that are known to survive - one of which is being used by Vauxhall in the World War One centenary commemorations. This car has the military number IC-0721, and was saved from destruction from a scrapyard in London in 1946. The car was then restored, and now back in its original condition, lives at the Vauxhall Motors headquarters.
The D-Type first went into production in 1915, after World War One had already begun. It took its design inspiration from the Vauxhall A-Type, and was designed in such a way that it would withstand many of the conditions of the war. It featured a 3969cc side-valve engine with four cylinders and a sturdily built chassis, and had a high top speed at the time of over 60 miles per hour. It was also designed to be able to cope with the shocking road surfaces that it had to contend with at the time, with a performance that could rival many of today's off-road vehicles.
Some of the key uses of the Vauxhall D-Type during World War One include the transportation of King George V to Vinny Bridge in the north of France, as well as holding the achievement of being the first vehicle to cross over the Rhine after the 1918 Armistice. Together with companies such as Rolls Royce and Sunbeam, Vauxhall provided important support to the British Army in terms of mobilising key military personnel.
During the World War One commemorations this year, the D-Type appeared at the Farnborough International Air Show in mid-July, took up residence at the Brooklands Museum, took part in the Brooklands Great War 100 event at the start of August and travelled to London on August 4th for the Great War Centenary Parade.