Just as 2019 was a special year for Fiat, Citroen and Bentley, 2020 brings a new wave of special anniversaries worth celebrating. Most notably, the much-loved Wolseley marque is celebrating 125 years of motoring history.
As one of the earliest British Motor Manufactures, Wolseley can trace its roots back to 1895 when Herbert Austin produced their first three-wheeled vehicle under the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co. Ltd. name. In 1901, the business was acquired by Vickers Sons & Maxim Ltd. who set up the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Co. Ltd. in a former cycle factory at Adderley Park in Birmingham. From this point, Wolseley’s vehicle production took off. Many original models can still be traced today, from early veterans right up to the very last Wolseley to be produced in 1975.
Let us introduce you to the Wolseley Register
The Wolseley Register is devoted to the Wolseley marque, and was set up to record all the surviving examples. The club continues to do this today through their List of Recorded Vehicles, known as the LoRV.
We caught up with Andrew McAdam, club Press Liaison Officer, to find out more…
Tell us a bit about the club?
The Register was founded in 1964, when Wolseleys were still being produced by the British Motor Corporation. The club name is derived from the recording or compiling of a Register of Wolseleys.
Currently the club has around 750 members worldwide and operate as a subscription-based club, with regional groups across the country. The club has a very active online presence, through our website, forum and Facebook pages.
Describe the club in three words?
Friendly, passionate and professional!
How many people are there in the team who run the club?
The management committee consists of 11 volunteers who fulfil the following roles – Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Press Liaison, Editor, DVLA Officer, Librarian, Regalia Officer and Spares Consultant. There are also 13 Technical Advisers, who are on hand by phone or email, to answer queries and give advice on the different models of Wolseley.
For those that might not know, tell us a bit about the vehicles that are covered by the club?
We cater for all Wolseleys from the first one manufactured in 1895, to the last year of production in 1975. As Wolseley is one of the earliest British motor manufacturers, we can trace the evolution of the car, from its earliest days until the front wheel drive cars made in the 70s – over 80 years in fact!
Do you ever have club garage nights or help out on each other’s vehicles?
We have a meeting in Walton le Dale near Preston every 3rd Tuesday of the month, where our Spares Consultant has a technical meeting. We also have regular monthly ‘Noggins and Natters’ that take place all over the country, from Glasgow to Burwash in East Sussex, where help can be found among the members for items of a technical nature.
How about you Andrew, how long have you been involved?
I first got involved in the Register in the 80s and was on the committee from the tender age of 22! After a break, when I went to university, and bringing up a family of three children, I returned five years ago and took over the role of Press Liaison Officer.
I have a Wolseley 1500 Mk.2. The car previously lived in the north west of England for many years and was seen at many of the outdoor summer shows in the 1980’s.
Money no object?
My dream vehicle would be a 1939 Wolseley 25hp Series 3 Drop Head Coupe. They are the most beautiful car ever produced by a British manufacturer!
Do members receive benefits for being part of the club?
Members receive 15% discount on their insurance with ClassicLine Insurance, as well as access to a comprehensive spares service which helps to keep the cars on the road. Also discounted entry to the Restoration Shows at Shepton Mallet and the NEC, as well as the Classic Motor Show in November at the NEC, Birmingham.
Tell us about your club meets…
The Wolseley Register has regional groups scattered throughout the UK, and the most active groups are the Scottish, North West (based in Lancashire), East Anglia (based in Cambridgeshire), Midlands (based in Birmingham), North East (based in North Yorkshire) and the South East Group.
Their monthly pub ‘Noggin and Natters’ meets take place year-round and the groups regularly attend local classic car shows together. Reports of their activities appear in the club magazine too – Wolseley World.
What’s your biggest club get together of the year?
Our annual rally is a three-day event in August and is held in different parts of the country each year.
For 2020, we are celebrating 125 years of the Wolseley marque. The rally will be based at the Knights Hill Hotel in Kings Lynn, Norfolk and I am heading up the organising team. The main part of the event is on Sunday 9th August and will be in the grounds of Holkham Hall on the north Norfolk coast.
The Hall is the home of the Earl of Leicester, whose family bought a brand-new Wolseley 20/30 Landaulette in 1909. This vehicle is still owned by the family and will be ‘guest of honour’ at the Sunday gathering! It is the oldest surviving 6-cylinder Wolseley in the world, making a must-see car for Wolseley enthusiasts. The vehicle has been off the road for the last 25 years and is being restored back to full working order, with help from our vintage model expert Andy Plummer.
Over the weekend we will drive up to Hunstanton from King’s Lynn, and back to Sandringham for the afternoon. We will also be travelling to Thetford to park outside the Burrell Traction Engine Museum, as well as a visit to the Dads Army Museum, and Oxborough Hall. CL: Sounds like it will be a great event!
The weekend event enables likeminded people to come together and enjoy all things Wolseley, which for me is what makes it all the more enjoyable. Organising the rally and getting positive feedback is the icing on the cake!
Do you attend other shows as a club?
Yes, the club attends the Moffat Classic Car Rally, NEPWAC Newby Hall Rally, plus shows at Tatton Park, Longbridge and Holt Heritage weekend in Norfolk. We also attend the indoor shows held at Shepton Mallet and the NEC. We don’t cruise, but members always park together.
Co-ordination of the regional rallies is carried out by the locally based groups, and the indoor shows are organised by our national rally team. The indoor events are the ones I most look forward to, because of the number of members of the public we see over the show days.
Any moments that stand out for you over the years?
There have been many special moments, but the standout moments include being a passenger in a 1933 Wolseley Hornet Special, and driving round Silverstone race track at speed! Also, at the 2018 NEC Classic Motor Show our display of five Wolseleys was awarded the Best Medium Sized Club Stand at the event – a real pat on the back for all the hard work carried out by the events team.
Has the club won any awards?
At the recent Restoration Show in Shepton Mallet, we were awarded The Most Interesting Exhibit at the show award. In 2018 we received The Best Medium Club Stand salver at the NEC Classic Motor Show and won Club of the Year in 2012.
The awards mean a lot to both the members who bring the exhibits, and the team who put the display together, and erect and dismantle the stand without complaint year after year. It makes all the hard work really worthwhile – a veritable pat on the back!
What makes you proud to be a member of The Wolseley Register?
I feel proud that the Wolseley Register manages to remain relevant in an ever-changing world, with the proof being highlighted by the 15 new members we signed up at the 2019 NEC Classic Motor Show.
Does the club support a charity?
We support the Macmillan Cancer Charity through the September committee meeting which we turn into a fundraiser by getting involved with the National Coffee Morning.
What tips would you give to young enthusiasts?
The future remains bright, and with more members joining the club and taking advantage of our spares division, it just goes from strength to strength.
By staying relevant and using social media, we are managing to keep younger members involved and focused on all things Wolseley.
A few top tips for young drivers would be: –
⦁ Thoroughly road test the car they are interested in buying, before committing to purchase, and ask the current owner as many questions about the car after the road test. If possible, take someone who already owns one of those cars to help on the day.
⦁ Look up as many facts as they can about the car from the internet, learn about the pros and cons of the model of car they wish to own.
⦁ Join the club so that they can get the support they will need to enjoy the car and get the best out of it.
⦁ Get involved in local meetings to share in the enjoyment that can be had by owning a classic car.
What’s the Wolseley Register looking forward to in the future?
We have plans to celebrate the forthcoming 125th anniversary of the Wolseley marque, and will announce details in early 2020. Also, we are creating an archive of Wolseley related material, having found a suitable building in Lancashire. We are in the process of applying to create a Charitable Trust to look after the archive. CL: Lots of exciting developments to look forward to in 2020!
So, these are the people behind one of our favourite clubs. Working hard behind the scenes and continuing to honour one of Britain’s finest motor marques. The Wolseley Register, thank you for being our club of the month.
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