114 years old and still going strong! Why Oswald has driven this car for 65 years
Sarah Lucy Brown
If love is growing old together, then Oswald Simpson’s decades of tender care for his 1906 Wolseley Siddeley could be one of the greatest romances ever told.
For the 85-year-old has owned and driven a relic of automobile history for 65 years - and has incredibly used it to mark both his wedding and his diamond anniversary.
Having served in Korea in the 1950s, Mr Simpson returned home to Suffolk and decided to buy the five-seater open tourer for the princely sum of £460 as a 21st birthday present to himself.
At that time, he could’ve bought himself anything from a Ford Thunderbird, a Chevrolet Bel Air or one of the very first Land Rovers – although he’d have needed to wait until 1959 for the first Mini.
But the 15bhp vehicle was perfect for transporting his wife Janet from their wedding in Wetheringsett to their reception at The Limes Hotel, Needham Market on June 8 1960.
The antiques dealer admits the car is “not easy” to drive, with no power steering and an old-style crash gearbox, where the engine speed must be just right before every shift.
Forget air conditioning, parking sensors, a built-in sat nav or any of the other mod cons of today’s cars - Mr Simpson’s 114-year-old Wolesley doesn’t even have a speedometer, and he has no idea of its mileage.
He added: “It was 49 years old when I bought it, and it wasn’t in the best shape.”
Yet with some love and attention - including completely re-upholstering the vehicle in 1963 and repainting it to its original maroon and black colour - it has stood the test of time, when so many other vehicles have ended up on the scrap heap.
And this month, the Elmsett resident even took the vehicle out on a short drive to celebrate his diamond wedding anniversary, just as he did for his golden wedding anniversary in 2010.
There cannot be many people who have celebrated their wedding and their diamond anniversary in the same car, with Mr Simpson saying: “I would’ve thought it was a record.”
Asked why he had kept the Wolesley for so long, Mr Simpson said: “It’s a one-off. It’s unique.
“I don’t know what she’s worth. She’s very difficult to drive – there’s no power steering, if you want to turn in it’s very stiff, with a wooden steering wheel.
“She has got a crash gearbox, which is not easy.
“I have just looked after it, cared for it and kept it in good condition.
“This car is purely a little bit of interest and fun for me.”
Mr Simpson thinks the maximum speed the car can travel at is 40mph, although he said: “I don’t push her at all.
“She is ancient and doesn’t want to be pushed too hard these days – like me!” he joked.
“We’re just old together and we take it steady.”
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