David and Joyce Brookes bought their first vintage car, a 1935 Austin Ruby (blue over black) in 2002. The Austin bore the registration number CHP 299which David, who was a joiner at the time, thought of as ‘Chips’ – very appropriate for a man in his line of work.
The couple and their car were featured in an issue of Top Gear magazine dated September 2002.
“We had been attending a vintage car rally in Blackpool,” says David. “I was wearing my Lancashire flat cap and we had a sign-written board telling the history of the car and how, during the war, in Coventry, it was in a bombed-out garage, only saved by a roof truss wedged between the walls, enabling the car to be dragged out to safety.”
David and Joyce’s next car was a 1935 Wolseley Wasp 4-door, affectionately known as ‘Buzz’.
“That was because there was a wasp moulded into the chrome on the bonnet,” David says “This car was black over ivory, and had been used by the previous owner as a wedding car and whilst owning ‘Buzz’ we were asked to use it at a few weddings for friends.
One person with whom the couple were acquainted was particularly interested in seeing the car.
“In 2007, we were on holiday on the Isle of Man, where we had decided to take our vintage car around the full 37¾ mile TT course. One day, Sir Norman Wisdom, who was living on the island, and who we had known for a few years through charity work, rang us up to invite us for coffee and a chat – and, of course, so he could see our Wolseley Wasp.”
One day, as David and Joyce were returning from one of the weddings that had featured their car, David suggested to Joyce that they acquire an additional vintage car so they could undertake weddings as a business venture. Consequently they soon bought a lovely 1934, chrome radiator model Austin 12 Ascot, which they named ‘Aussie’. Aussie enjoyed a moment of fame when she appeared in an episode of ITV’s hit detective drama Poirot.
Car number three came from a charity car rally event near the couple’s home in Leland, Lancashire. Sporting the registration number UE 2167, the splendid 1926 ‘bullnose’ Morris Oxford saloon was soon christened ‘Hughie’ (because, phonetically, UE = ‘Hughie’). The colour was, again, blue over black.
Cars in the style that Hughie represents were nicknamed ‘top hat’ models because gentlemen were able to sit inside and leave their top hats on due to the vehicles’ high roofs. Operating the car required a certain dexterity because, when starting it from cold, the driver had to execute a procedure involving eight levers and controls. When warm, however, just three would do the job!