Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Vintage auto makes its longest trip

The Jones family - Craig, Bronwyn and Lynn, 12, are proud of their vintage Wolseley.

The Jones family – Craig, Bronwyn and Lynn, 12, are proud of their vintage Wolseley.

Craig Jones’ vintage 1949 Wolseley Six Eighty has made her longest journey to date, traveling half-way round the world from Australia to her new home here on Marco Island!  When they moved here in 2002, Island residents, Craig and his wife, Bronwyn, were not happy to leave their unique automobiles behind in Tasmania, and are thrilled to finally have this one here with them.

According to Craig’s understanding from his research on the Internet, his six-cylinder, 80 horse power car is one of only four Wolseleys in the U.S. and probably the only one of this

Craig in the driver's seat of his vintage Wolseley. Photos by Jim Sousa

Craig in the driver’s seat of his vintage Wolseley. Photos by Jim Sousa

particular model. Craig tells me that the British Wolseley company was renowned for its overhead camshaft engines.  The engine head design was derived from Wolseley’s V8 Viper piston-engine-powered Scout Experimental 5A fighter planes, used in World War I. With their telescopic steering and four-speed gearboxes, Wolseley Six Eighty cars like Craig’s, the top model of the Morris manufacturer’s line, were used by British police for decades.

Jones is only the second person to own this auto. He bought the car when he was just sixteen years old from the original owner. The car was originally purchased

A Motor Traffic Patrol Wolseley 680 with police signs and twin loudhailers.

A Motor Traffic Patrol Wolseley 680 with police signs and twin loudhailers.

at Heythorns Motors in Launceston, Tasmania. Craig saved up the $250 to pay for the vintage automobile, his first car, by mowing lawns. Subsequently, he continued to save and work long and hard to restore the Wolseley to the vintage condition it is in today, thirty one years later. “The car was great for first impressions on Mums and Dads when courting the young ladies!” said Craig.

The car’s long voyage began when Jones went to Australia in January, took it out of storage, crank started it, and drove it 800 miles across Tasmania. The car

A peak into the car motor.

A peak into the car motor.

was then transported by boat across the Bass Strait into central Victoria, where Craig used it for two weeks. He then drove the car back to a bonded warehouse in Melbourne for shipment to the U.S. The car was shipped to Savannah, GA- a journey via Singapore of forty-six days—where it was picked up by Jones last week. Craig then drove the car back here to Marco.

A coach builder by trade, Craig Jones supplied hand-made car bodies for museums. He now owns Marco Island Small Engine Repair, a thriving business on Front Street, and his wife, Bronwyn, is a Realtor on Marco.

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