1923 23-60 Vauxhall Kington Tourer

Dave Stuart

Car Details

This 23-60 is chassis No OD494 and is fitted with engine OD493. It was built at the Vauxhall Motors factory in Luton England and fitted with a factory “Kington” five seater body. The body, mudguards and bonnet are all aluminium and the seats are covered in leather. The engine has a bore of 95mm and stroke of 140mm giving it a 3986 cc capacity. The engine is rated at 23hp and develops 60hp. The valves are overhead driven through roller cam followers and it is fitted with a Zenith 42mm carburettor as well as a Watford FO4 42 degree magneto. The clock and speedo are Jaeger brand and electrics C.A.V. The car is fitted with 23” straight sided wheels with 80mm long splined Rudge Whitworth centres and runs 600 x 23 tyres. It is a two wheel braked car with the hand brake operating the 16” rear internal expanding shoes, whilst the foot brake operates the 12” transmission braked fitted immediately behind the gear box. The gear box has four forward gears and reverse transferring power to the rear axle through a spiral bevelled crown wheel and pinion. The rear axle ration is 3.64 to 1. A luggage rack is fitted to the rear of the car and is original. A tool box is fitted to the near side running board and contains a lot of the original tools

1923 23-60 Vauxhall Kington Tourer

Chassis Number OD494 Engine Number OD493

The Car’s History

The car has had three N.S.W. family owners from new, being the Croakers from Caroona/Wingen and the Giddys from Kenthurst with the current owners the Stuarts from Raworth. It is still fully registered and retains its original NSW 31-801 number plates.

1923: Purchased new from Boyd Edkins Motors, 25 Wentworth Ave., Sydney by Mr Frederick Croaker Jnr. who managed the property ‘Walhallow’ located at Caroona 30 kms west of Quirindi. Mrs Croaker purchased ‘Glengarry’        property at Wingen in 1919. In 1930 Mr Croaker purchased ‘Petwyn Vale’ from Samuel Horden of Horden Stores in Sydney. ‘Petwyn Vale’ was situated on the opposite of the road to ‘Glengarry’ at Wingen. Mr Croaker took the 23-60 with him to ‘Petwyn Vale’ as it served as the family car.

The family reports the car was used extensively by Mr Croaker who had suffered a leg injury when a tree fell on him resulting in his right leg being amputated. He preferred to keep the 23-60 as he found it easier to drive with the use of the hand throttle.

Mr Croaker managed a number of properties and drove the car throughout Queensland during his ownership and it is reported that he travelled also to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The car remained at Wingen until Mr Croaker’s death in 1943 when its ownership then passed on to Mr Croaker’s son David (born 1926). David and his wife Airlie lived on the adjoining property and this property is called ‘Coonarang’. David took his bride Airlie to Melbourne in the 23-60 where they boarded a steamship and travelled to England for their honeymoon. David and Airlie had two boys and two girls. Fred was nine years older than young David who was born in 1955. Then there was Trisha and Wendy who was born in 1959. David Snr. later purchased a 30-98 Vauxhall chassis number OE227.

1985: David Snr died in 1985 and the 23-60 remained on Coonarang until 1991 when it, as well as David’s 30-98 went to auction through Southerby’s in Melbourne, the auction being held at Tullarmarine Airport. On inspection of the car prior to the auction by John Giddy and David Stuart, it was found the original Zenith carburettor was not fitted to the engine, nor the vertical drive Klaxon horn or the Rotax bulb horn. As well, the leather bound hood rests were also missing from the car. All these parts from the car were found in Vauxhall spares that were also being auctioned and were subsequently placed with the car prior to the auction. John Giddy was the successful bidder at the auction and the 23-60 was later sent to Barry Ford’s workshop in Stanthorpe Queensland where it was fully restored.

1995: In October John Giddy drove the car to The Blue Lake in South Australia when the Vauxhall Register took Linton Morris’ 30-98 OE297 back following its restoration. John died suddenly in December.

1996: The 23-60 is purchased from Marion Giddy by David Stuart which included numerous 23-60 spare parts from the John Giddy collection. The 23-60 is taken on V.S.C.C. (Vict) Alpine Rally to Tasmania. From 1996 to 2008 the 23-60 is used extensively throughout NSW. Victoria and the A.C.T. by Mary and I on Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia rallies.

2008: In November the car returns to Sydney from Barry Ford’s workshop where the engine was again reconditioned, new Stan Sainty upgraded duralumin con rods were used as the original steel con rods showed signs of cracking. New mains, big ends were poured and new pistons and rings fitted. New glass in the top and bottom windscreen fitted as well as the fuel tank was removed and re-soldered as it had been leaking along the seam at the back of the tank.

In February the 23-60 was taken to the South Island of New Zealand for the National Vauxhall Rally lasting 4 weeks – rally covered some 2,200 miles. The vehicle performed superbly requiring no mechanical work whatsoever other than a new tube and rust band to be fitted to the off side front tyre during the lunch stop on the final day of the rally.

2009: In March vehicle taken on V.S.C.C.A. rally to Tasmania.

2010: In July the car was taken by David Stuart and Jim Weir back to David Ford at Stanthorpe as the engine was locking up in cold weather. It was found the conrod bearings and mains were okay however after cleaning of same a lighter engine oil Penrite HPR30 was used and engine did not lock up. Penrite Shelsley medium with a viscosity rating similar to the old SAE 40 had been previously used in summer and winter. The differential was removed and inspected as it had developed a noise in the overrun.

2013: Vehicle competed in the 100 year celebration of the 30-98 Vauxhall held in November and completed the two week section of the rally throughout Victoria. On the return journey home a passing car shattered the top section of the windscreen whilst travelling along the Princes Highway near Cann River. The top section was replaced with laminated glass on the car’s return to Sydney.

2014: Vehicle competed in the V.S.C.C.A. 70th Anniversary Rally in Wagga.

2014: Vehicle still in the ownership of David Stuart of Glenfield NSW

2018: In April the car was entered in the 2nd Biennial Veteran and Vintage Vauxhall Rally held in Merimbula.

2019: Vehicle participated in the 75th Anniversary Rally of the Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia at Wagga Wagga in September.

Dave Stuart

April, 2020