In a recent “Vintage Veerings” we referred to mention being made in a a local paper to an early Horstman light car. More recently the Wolverhampton Express and Star had a story, with illustration, about how A. T. Norton, of Mephistophelgatti memory, saw what he thought was a 1921 Wolseley Ten being towed to a breaker’s, chased it, and found it to be a Wolseley Stellite three/four-seater with the 9-h.p. four-cylinder o.h. inlet valve engine which graced these cars. It had been in a shed for twenty years was said to be a 1914 model, with single acetylene headlamp and oil side-lamps. So Norton purchased it and offered for sale for £25 to any earnest V.C.C. member. Now this story interested us because some time ago we came upon a sad little Wolseley two-seater being towed away on its rims to destruction behind a larger Wolseley of not much later date – only this car was one of the o.h.c. “Tens” of post-Kaiser war type. A very nicely preserved example of this type appeared at Prescott this year.
Soon after the news of the Norton Stellite, which incidentally apes the Baby Peugeot in having only a two-speed gearbox, we had a letter from W. Stiles of Birmingham reminding us that we had recently mentioned a Stellite running about in Lincolnshire and saying they are not unique, because he has been running one for the past two years. He also referred to the Norton car (chassis number apparently 1278), and several others in the Birmingham area, including one owned by Eric Milner, who has so beautifully restored the 1913 22-litre Benz. These, however, are not in use. Stiles’ car steers nicely on its one-turn-lock-to-lock rack and pinion gear, is reliable and gives 23 m.p.g. in towns and 32 m.p.g. on the open road. It isn’t very rapid, though, being noisy if cruised at 35 m.p.h., and all-out at about 40 m.p.h., its best average being 100 miles at 25 m.p.h. This particular Stellite is a 1919-20 model, chassis number 1673.
So mention of yet another rare car produces evidence of the existence of others of its kind. The Stellite, of course, was superseded in 1919 by the o.h.c. Wolseley Ten, which the Autocar said was “essentially a Wolseley vehicle of the highest class, all the desirable mechanical features of the Stellite having been retained or improved upon . . . ” We believe that a Stellite was reputed to have done 78 m.p.h. at Brooklands prior to the Kaiser war, and the Wolseley Ten engine was subsequently developed by Capt. Miller for his “Moths,” one of which lapped Brooklands at over 88 m.p.h. These cars are not to be confused with the water-cooled flat-twin 8.3-h.p. Wolseley introduced in 1922. One of these twins was seen near Bagshot some time ago, so there would appear to be examples of all the Wolseley “motoring for the million” models with us still.