Classic Car Loan Project – Bob Wilkinson, Profile.
I started this project to introduce newcomers to the classic car scene after around 60 years of pleasure derived from owning and restoring many (now) classic cars. Of course my early “classics” were my everyday transport …..I wish I still had some of them!
I am now retired after a career in education and my working days were spent in my native Yorkshire teaching in high schools, and as senior lecturer in education …. then back into high school as head of upper school. I was a secretary for the NAS/UWT (teachers organisation) for 25 years and was made a Life Member in 1987 for services to members.
I think my drive to encourage the next generation in this project must come from my years in education.
My first car, in the 1950’s bought as a 16 year old with a hard earned £15 earned from newspaper delivery rounds and car cleaning, was an 1935 Austin 7 Ruby. I could not drive legally so the vendor delivered the car got his money and disappeared rapidly! Over the next year I learned from my Dad how a car works during the restoration – rebore, crank grind, brakes ….the lot! Those basics have stayed with me. That was also a great time bonding with dad …. I still miss him.
Some of my cars from the past …….
Above: 1935 Morris 10. 1935 Ford Model Y – Mistral Tourer. 1936 Ford CX Saloon.
My brothers and I shared a Morris 10 then the years just rolled by with never a time when I did not own at least one classic. Fords (Model Y, Model A, CX, Prefect, Pop, Cortina) , Austin (7, Big 7, 10, Cambridge, 1100, Maxi, 1800) , Standard 10, Riley ( RMF, RMA) , MGB-GT, Morris 1800, Chrysler (Alpine),Citroen (2CV, Dyane), Fiat 600, Volvo (240’s, 940’s ) Sunbeam (Rapier) , …..and now an emerging classic … Rover 75.
My cars in recent times……….
1936 CX Tourer (In IoW) 1949 Riley RMA 1961 Sunbeam Rapier.
My association with Fords started with finding a basket case but rare 1935 Ford Model Y Tourer, the Mistral with aluminium body by Jensen, in the 1970’s. I joined the newly formed Ford Y and C Model Register and was able to source parts to complete the restoration by 1983. I subsequently restored 2 Ford CX tourers …. Still own one. By then I had offered my services to the club and was the Secretary for over 35 years … now Chairman 2018 – on. I was made a Life Member in 2002.
Above:: My 1929 Ford Model A Phaeton.
My recent restoration projects also include a 1929 Ford Model A Phaeton (open tourer – but now sold) ….a splendid vintage classic. 20 years later I am still a member of the Ford Model A Club of Great Britain and served on committee, including being Chairman, for several years.
Combining clubs and Fords together I started the Old Ford Rally at Gaydon in 2009. It has now become the biggest rally for OLD Fords (we have 1995 cut off ) in the UK.
Some of the 500 regular entries in the Old Ford Rally.
We have created a day out for all the family.
Bob receiving ……… “The Ron Staughton Memorial Trophy.
Presented jointly by Ford Model T Register and Ford Motor Company.
In recognition of promoting the cause of historical motoring.”
I was surprised and delighted to win a National Award as “Unsung Hero” in 2016.
In collaboration with staff at Gaydon, now The British Motor Museum, I built a tutor team delivering day events for budding classic car owners – Classic Virgin Days. (Now called “Is A Classic For You”.) Later BMM was able to offer a more advanced day – “ Living With A Classic.”
It was a Ford Model A which started the CCLP when my friend Peter Garrett offered his car on extended loan saying, “….if you can find a young driver who would like it for a year.” Some challenge !…. How could I not take this on?
Knowing of his personal interest in the classic scene I approached Peter James of insurance fame seeking his expertise for my new project. He responded positively on detail and was also prepared to sponsor the initiative ! Then Longstone tyres came on board as the A needed new boots. We selected Richard Gordon Colebrooke as recipient …… the rest is history as they say as more owners, clubs and sponsors have become involved.
In the short time of the CCLP we have reached a growing number of budding enthusiasts. Their stories are here to read and enjoy. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with them. I look forward to seeing more involved as we grow.
I would add that without the enthusiastic support and involvement of my wife, Pat, I could not have given as much time to my hobby.
Bob Wilkinson. May 2020.