Legendary Vauxhall Prince Henry on show

It has a top speed of just over 70mph and would be hard pushed to out-accelerate a Citroen 2CV. But in its day nothing could touch Vauxhall's Prince Henry.

Vauxhall C-type 'Prince Henry' dating from 1911
Vauxhall C-type 'Prince Henry' dating from 1911

It has a top speed of just over 70mph and would be hard pushed to out-accelerate a Citroen 2CV.

But in its day nothing could touch Vauxhall's Prince Henry and the pre-First World War machine is widely regarded as Britain's first sports car.

Less than a dozen are believed to have survived and nearly all of them will be on show this weekend at the historic Worcestershire motorsport venue of Shelsley Walsh.

The display of Prince Henrys at Shelsley will form part of the largest gathering in living memory of pre-WW1 Vauxhalls from the UK's oldest car company.

The Vauxhall C10, to give it its formal name, was the brainchild of the Luton firm's chief engineer, Laurence Pomeroy.

The car earned its nickname after three C10s successfully competed in the gruelling 1,250-mile 1910 Prince Henry Trial, held in Germany.

The durability and speed of the cars - from the days when the national road limit was just 14mph - created a legend,which the fledgling Vauxhall company was quick to exploit with a production model based on the racers.

Appropriately, the car's centenary celebrations will take place at Shelsey Walsh, the world's oldest motorsport venue still occupying the same site.

Eight Prince Henrys will be present, including the oldest surviving model - a 3.0-litre owned by Vauxhall for the last 64 years - and a 1913 4.0-litre model, which has remained in the same family-ownership from new.

Allan Winn, director of Brooklands Museum in Surrey, will make a presentation to Vauxhall owners and drivers at Shelsley prior to Sunday's classic event.

He said: "The Prince Henry remains Britain's first proper sports car. With its low, rakish lines and powerful engine it was the car of choice for amateur racers before the First World War."

Shelsley Walsh is signposted from Stourport and admission is £15 on each day. Practice starts at 9.30am on both days and each event starts after lunch at 1.45pm.