THE BLUE LAKE CAR VAUXHALL 30/98 - CHASSIS NO. 0E297
We would like to thank Mr. LINTON MORRIS for the following information
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This car was one of the last 30/98 Vauxhalls produced, its year of manufacture being 1927. Its early history is not entirely clear. During the first three years of its life, it seems to have been registered in the Midlands and by 1930 had found its way to a London motor dealer, Mr. Jack Bartlett. Together with a number of other late model 30/98's, it was advertised for sale in The Motor and Autocar of that period.

These advertisements attracted the attention of Mr. John Dutton from Anlaby Station, South Australia, who was then present in England studying at Oxford University. He was an excellent sportsman, a member of Magdalene College, and in fact rowed in the College first eight at Henley in 1928. His other great interests were competition cars and he subsequently purchased the 30/98, together with a supercharged Monliery MG for the sum of £300. He was to race in the Australian Grand Prix at Victor Harbour in 1936 in the MG and with this particular 30/98, he captured the Australian National RC Speed Record over a distance of one mile on Sellick's Beach South Australia on 2 February 1935. A photocopy of the record certificate is attached.

The car was extensively used by Mr. John Dutton for both transport and competition and he frequently competed at Sellick's Beach and also the Pewsey Vale hill climbs. Whilst in the Duttons' ownership, the ear was nicknamed "Bloody Mary as the main body of the car was blood red in colour although the mudguards were black.

John Dutton used the ear for daily transport as well as competition. On an evening in February of 1936, the car was involved in an accident which caused its near fatal plunge into the Blue Lake at Mount Gambier. John Dutton was thrown clear of the car as it rolled some 300 feet down the very steep wall of the lake, and he survived because his body was caught by a lone thorn bush which stopped him following the car into the water. He sustained severe injuries and was not expected to live. This incident triggered what was probably one of the very early medical rescues by aircraft. A biplane was flown from Parafield, landed at Anlaby to pick up Emily and Dick Dutton and later fly them to Mount Gambier, transporting John Dutton to hospital in Adelaide. He was many months making a recovery from spinal and internal injuries.

I have obtained what seems to be the most accurate version of the incident from the author, Geoffrey Dutton, who was of course John Dutton's younger brother. He wrote me a letter in these terms:


"John told me that it was a wet night and he was going back to his property "Burleigh . The vet, drunk, came around the bend on the wrong side of the road and forced John over the edge. Fortunately the Vauxhall had no hood and John was thrown out. Apparently the vet went on to Mount Gambier and had a couple more drinks at Jens Hotel before mentioning that John had gone over the edge.
Geoffrey Dutton also described in a letter how his brother John watched as the car sank into the waters of the lake and rotated with its headlights still on, leaving an eerie lemon light before the battery failed and it plunged into the depths in darkness.

When the ear was moved from the lake in March the following year, it was noted that the clock had stopped at 2.40 a.m. and it is assumed this established the time of its descent into the lake with absolute accuracy.

Following the salvaging of the car, it passed through many hands and has a continuous racing history in western New South Wales and in Victoria. It ultimately ended in the custody of Mr. R.W. Jervies of Wallaroo South Australia.

I purchased the car on 4th June 1993 from Jervies and drove it back to Sydney in July of that year. The car at that time had an Australian sporting body from the scuttle to the rear and mudguards off a 1440 Vauxhall. A decision was made that it should be completely restored to the original specifications. This involved the fabrication of an ash frame which was covered in hand-formed aluminium to absolutely exact Velox specifications. In the course of this, all the original body parts which could be used were preserved. It is to be remembered that the bonnet and scuttle were really the only parts which survived the lake damage and its subsequent use by a large number of owners.

The engineering re-construction was undertaken under the expert supervision and guidance of Mr. Donald Wright of Highs Road, West Pennant Hills and the car is now finished in precisely its original colour. I was fortunate in being able to consult Geoffrey Dutton and Robert Hood in respect of the colour of the car as they both remember it clearly when it was in John Dutton's ownership.

LINTON MORRIS
4th August 1995

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