Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Wolsey Wasp

The Wasp Hughie Miller's first car
As a young man my father, Hughie Miller, was a lad about town. He started life at Lloyds but did not fit in so joined my grand father's golf sundries company Humil Ltd, in Ely Place London. The Golf business was doing well and daddy, as all young men do, bought a sporty car.

This must have impressed my mother, Honey Thorpe. I can vouch all middle  class girls of this age were impressed by little red sports cars although the one above was green. I think it was a Wolsey Hornet and the family called it the Wasp.

On a fine summer's day it must have been a delight but then England is not known for fine summer days. Most of the time it rains and this car was agony in the rain. It almost put a five year old off sports cars for life but not quite.

The Wasp was laid up on bricks for the war but when we moved to Stanmore this became the Miller family car. It was not a pleasure to own. Mummy and I used to dread going anywhere in it as there was no guarantee that you would arrive. One memorable trip to Cliftonville ended in the lavender fields outside Canterbury with a blown gasget. Mummy and I ended our journey by train and Daddy did not turn up till two days later.

Then it leaked. Daddy told my mother to get out her sewing machine and he would run up a new hood in no time. Mummy obliged. Ten hours and a good deal of colorful language later Daddy had not even succeeded in threading the needle.

When my grandfather Pop Thorpe died in 1952 we inherited the Ford V8 and the Wasp was soled for pennies. Now you would need a small fortune to buy one as it is a classic car but I wouldn't give you tuppence for it even if I could.

However the experience did not cure me about the joys of little red sports cars. Far from it!

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