When I was very small, this was the family car. Well, not this precise one, but the same model and colour. A Wolseley 444.
It was great. It had leather seats, a padded armrest thing in the back that was a handy barrier between me and my sister, precluding any territorial disputes and suchlike. The indicators were those wonderful little fold out ones the memory of which still makes me smile.
For whatever reason, it was a much loved vehicle. I haven’t felt even vaguely similar affection for a car any time since really. I liked my camper van for the short time I had it, but it didn’t feel like a family pet, the way the old 444 did.
My sister even made an embroidered cushion for the back seat with the registration number on it, ‘PTM 446′. You see, I can still remember the registration number even today. None of the cars my dad had over the following years stuck in my mind in that way.
Austin Cambridge, Morris Oxford, Austin 1800, Austin Maxi. . . you remember all those late sixties and seventies British Leyland cars? ‘Course you do. Well you do if you are my age. If you are horribly young and the names don’t resonate, take it from me, you didn’t miss much.
The old 444, that we called ‘Puttem’ (which is how you would pronounce the letters on the the number plate ‘PTM’ if they spelt a word), was somewhat underpowered and found it hard going up steep hills. (The 15/50 had a proper size engine and was better in this regard I’m told)
The pic below is from an exercise book of mine from 1964 when I would have been at Denbigh Road Infants School in Luton. It shows my dad’s 444 going up such a hill, Stockingstone Road in Luton, to my Grandparent’s house. Note the Ford Anglia in front I love the way the lamp posts are 90 degrees to the ground, even though the ground is sloping alarmingly. Stockingstone Road isn’t quite so steep in real life but my artistic licence was in full effect even then. . .
That page is surprisingly neat compared to the rest of the book, with very little red ink. I was not neat and tidy. Hard to imagine I know, cough. . . .