Motoring: My worst car - Kenneth Wolstenholme's Wolseley

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I never took my driving test; it was suspended during the war; but that wasn't the cause of the mishap I suffered with my first and worst car, a Wolseley 10hp saloon. At the time I was a pilot in the RAF. The opportunity to buy the Wolseley came up and I asked one of the flight mechanics if he'd give it a once-over. That was quite naughty, because it was illegal of me to ask the chap and it was just as wrong for him to do it. We both could have got court-martialled.

Anyway, on his say-so I bought the car. I was due some leave, so I set off from my Bomber Command base in Cambridge to drive to Manchester. Back then it was an exhausting day's drive across country, which meant I'd probably spend about 10 minutes with my mum before having to turn around and come back. Everything seemed to be going well until I took a sharp left-hand bend. Suddenly there was a lurch and the rear of the car dropped, then slid around wildly as I was overtaken by my rear offside wheel. I watched in horror as it bounced down the road and into a garden, while I and the car ended up in a ditch. All that got damaged was my pride, and the bodywork on the Wolseley.

"Hope you don't fly your aircraft like that," said one of the villagers. If you wore an RAF uniform in the war people were only too pleased to help. The wheel was quickly retrieved and I was on my way. The whole experience put me off second-hand cars for good.

Kenneth Wolstenholme's new book is 'They Think It's All Over' (Robson Books, pounds 8.99). He was talking to James Ruppert.