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Is the Oldest Car in Britain Still on the Road?

Updated September 28, 2013

One year ago, a report graced our newspapers about Britain’s oldest car.  This particular vehicle was special for a number of reasons, not just because it was a whopping 107 years old (now 108).  One of the things that made it so special is that it never once needed an AA call out.  This is a good thing, particularly when you consider that when this car was first built, there was no AA yet!  Let’s take a look at this very special vehicle.

Creative Commons Photo by Mark Robinson

The Two Seater Wolseley

The oldest car in Britain is a two seater Wolseley owned by Brian Caseley.  The car was built in 1904 and is said to still run like a dream, or on full cylinders, whichever expression you prefer.  Best of all, when a report ran about this car last year, it had just passed its MOT.  It currently resides in Sherborne, Dorset.  Interestingly, it is not known how many miles the car has done, because there were no mile counters on vehicles built in 1904.

The Wolseley came into Mr Caseley’s possession in 2004, when he purchased it from a vintage car collecting friend.  It is not known how much he has paid for it but the car is now a firm favourite in the town where he lives as he regularly takes it out for a little drive.  It has never broken down, which is believed to be because of the love that the car has had bestowed on it.

The original owner was a Mr Greenly, from Herefordshire, who purchased the vehicle in 1905.  Interestingly, Mr Caseley has been able to track down a decedent of Mr Greenly, Mr Forbes, through a picture of the car.  Taking it to a vintage car rally, Mr Forbes was able to get up close and personal to the car once owned by a great-great relative.  What makes this more heart warming is that Mr Forbes still lives in the street that Mr Greely originally lived in.  Mr Caseley now takes the car to regular vintage rallies, including the Brighton Run and the Great Dorset Steam Fair.

Creative Commons Photo by Les Chatfield

Technical Car Details

The vehicle is perhaps not a marvel of modern technology, but in its heyday, it certainly was.  It runs on petrol and does on average 35 miles to the gallon, which is something most vehicles today can only dream about.  Of course, this is perhaps because the vehicle only has one cylinder and has a top speed of just 29 miles per hour.  Nobody seems to have taken the time to measure how fast it goes from nought to 60.  It also still has its original licence plate, which is CJ 164, another sign of how much things have changed.  Being such an old car, it does have a distinctive engine noise, perhaps best described as “put put”.

This particular car was one of the first to be produced by the Wolseley company, which was based in Birmingham.  The designer was Herbert Austin, whose name may sound familiar to you.  This is because he eventually founded Austin Motor Company, the maker of the famous Austin Martin cars.

Many wonder whether the car is still on the road now, but there is no reason to believe it isn’t.  Unfortunately, if you were looking to rent a car, this type of vehicle is not likely to be available.  Do take the time to check out http://www.carrentals.co.uk for other great vehicles though.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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