Behind the wheel of a Wolseley
We recently had the pleasure of speaking to Jeffrey Bridges, a Wolseley six ninety owner with an interesting story to tell about its family history..
Jeffrey’s Wolseley Six Ninety
It was in September 1960 that my late parents bought what is now my 1958 Wolseley Six-Ninety, paying £745 for the then two year old car to replace our old Morris. I was aged three and so it could be said that I have grown up with the Wolseley.
11,852 Six-Nineties were made between 1954 & 59, in three ‘Series’. The Police were fond of Wolseley’s and took some 500 Six-Ninety cars, with the Met. being the most prolific user, cars are often to be seen in period films. Designed by Gerald Palmer, of Jowett Javelin and MG Z Magnette fame the Six-Ninety has a separate chassis and is powered by the 2639cc BMC ‘C’ series six cylinder engine. Later cars of the Series II & III type feature the unusual right hand floor gear change. A distinctive feature of all Wolseley’s is the illuminated radiator grill badge.
Our car, always known as ‘UDG’ and spoken of in the male person was bought new by Robert Young in Cheltenham, he part exchanged the car against a new Wolseley 6/99, as he wrote to my father ‘my only reason for changing (the car) was during the First War I had the misfortune to lose my right leg. I was driving during the war and have been driving ever since but I suppose age was telling a little so I decided to have a 6/99 automatic’. This is perhaps typical of that generation’s phlegmatic approach to life.
UDG served as our family car for days out, trips to see family and for holidays without fault for many years and was really part of the family – we have always tended to treat our cars thus and indeed to keep them. UDG lived in the timber and asbestos garage which my grandfather had had built pre-war for the Morris and my father did much of the servicing, with Middlesex Motors of Harrow otherwise looking after the car.
My father kept detailed records of all the servicing and other work as well as all receipts and MOT certificates, all of which I still have. There are also the instructions for the HMV Radiomobile 200X radio, the handbook and workshop manual.
In 1975 UDG was ‘replaced’, with a six year old Rover P5B 3.5 Litre Coupe and became a second or back up car. Also in 1975 I learned to drive, initially in UDG and right hand gear change, umbrella handbrake and heavy steering made for an interesting start to driving.
In 1984 the car came to live with us and in 1987 I became the Registered Keeper. Over the ensuing years it has always been in use, with a programme of ‘rolling restoration’ on-going, somewhat like the Forth Bridge!
More recently I have had various professional body repairs by an excellent local firm in stages between 2011 and 2016, the engine and gearbox rebuilt in 2014 and then from late 2016 to early 2018 a bare metal re-spray and extensive refit with much re-chroming a brake overhaul, rewire and new tyres. I have completed the re-assembly and rewire myself and now, as I write UDG looks as good as he did in 1960 and we look forwards to many more years of Wolseley motoring.
In 2017 the Wolseley Register published a new and detailed account of the Six-Ninety which I co-wrote.
We’d like to thank Jeffrey for sharing his story with us and if you liked it then you can also visit our ‘Behind the wheel’ series for more classic car stories: