Martinborough farm contractor, Murray Parker, never set out to become the owner of a veteran motor car
Murray had been quite happy pottering around with the 1940 model 741B Indian motorcycle (best known as the Army Indian) he’s owned for 40 years, when events conspired to result in a fully functional 100-year-old Wolsely Siddeley arriving in his shed.
Amazingly, this is the very same car his grandfather, Edward Stone Parker, bought new in 1909!
New, the Wolseley-Siddeley cost £330, but to that had to be added ‘extras’ — which included £25 for the hood, £10/14s for tyres (yes, they were an optional extra!) and £15 for a Bosch dual ignition magneto, a total of over £380, a very expensive machine for the time.
The Wolseley-Siddeley was surprisingly sophisticated for its time, two heavily-quilted tubs with seats for three passengers and the driver. The four-cylinder 2.5 litre petrol engine, with an RAC rating of 14/20hp, features a combination lubrication system of pump and splash oil trays. The ‘crash’ gearbox had three gears, selected via an external shifter. The foot brake (so inefficient you have to plan your braking moments well ahead) operates on the driveshaft. The handbrake operates on the rear wheels only.
The old car cruises happily at 64kph (40mph), and although there are no shock absorbers the springs soak up bumps with ease. An electric starter has been fitted to make this car more user-friendly, but Murray demonstrated that it is easily and quickly started with a crank handle.