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Appleby couple takes ‘Drive & Ride in Day’ trophy – thanks to a Haynes manual

John and Josie Thornley and Chris Lowe

The Lakeland Motor Museum welcomed owners of more than 100 classic vehicles to the attraction’s latest ‘Drive & Ride In Day’ at the weekend – where a fully-restored Wolseley 1300 Mark 2 took top honours as the event’s ‘Most Interesting or Unique’ vehicle.

A bespoke, hand-crafted trophy was awarded to Appleby couple John & Josie Thornley for the 1969 classic in damask red, by the museum’s operations manager Chris Lowe. With only three owners from new, the car was put into storage from 1990 until 2015, when the vehicle – with only 8,500 miles on the clock, was restored to full working order by Mr Thornley himself – who, with no prior experience, had only a Haynes manual to guide him.

Lakeland Motor Museum trophy

Mr Thornley says, “What’s really special about winning this spectacular trophy, is that I don’t come from a motor vehicle engineering background. I retired a few years ago and simply wanted a hobby. So, I found this car, bought a Haynes manual and just decided to have a go! It had a number of age-related issues that needed work as I don’t think it had seen a spanner since coming off the production line in 1969. I spent 12 months restoring it, then had it professionally painted.

“I saw the trophy upon arrival at the museum’s event but didn’t for a second think I’d end up winning it. I mean, it’s just a bog-standard family car, stood alongside much more worthy cars like Ferraris, Jaguars and so-on. It was originally owned by Lady Margaret Hunt before being bought by a Wolseley enthusiast to add to his private collection of 13 or 14 cars. It sat there for 25 years before I bought it and it’s a real thrill to have it recognised at the Lakeland Motor Museum’s Drive & Ride In Day event, as I’ve been a regular visitor for many years!”

Operations Manager Chris Lowe says, “John and Josie were both thrilled and surprised to be awarded our latest one-of-a-kind trophy, which I created personally in the workshop by using interesting motoring artefacts from our extensive collection of spare parts. Made from a 1960s steering wheel produced by racing driver and motorsport pundit Les Leston’s company, I’ve supported it by bending a BSA spanner and attaching it to a plinth created from an original ‘Wright’ registration plate. Mr & Mrs Thornley are free to keep hold of the trophy for a year, before returning it for the next winner. We’re also having it engraved with their names so they’ll be immortalised in part of the museum’s history forever!”

Chris added, “We run three ‘Drive & Ride In Day’ events every year, so there are plenty of chances to win!”

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