The 1899 Wolseley 3.5hp Voiturette - fix OWL's wings



The leather-covered wings of this legendary 125-year-old historic vehicle need to be restored this summer and we need your help! 

Affectionately known as 'OWL', this 1899 Wolseley 3.5hp Voiturette has participated in the famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run a staggering 38 times with the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust. As such a regular entrant to the world's longest-running motoring event, OWL would be soar-ly missed. We are asking for your support to restore OWL to its former glory. Help us get this veteran looking its best and ready to stretch its wings on the road to Brighton once again in 2024! 

Following a visit by the 'VETeran specialist', (the Leather Conservation Centre), it's been confirmed that work is needed on all four of OWL's wings to secure and stabilise the original 1899 leather. As a charity that has to raise funds in order to maintain its collections, we are asking for your help to raise the £5200 needed to complete the work this summer.

OWL damage collage-1000x500

The story of this incredible piece of history speaks for itself. Made in Birmingham, this OWL is a real 'beaky blinder'. It was the first vehicle that Herbert Austin designed with four wheels and this very car was driven by Lord Austin himself in the Thousand Mile Trial of 1900, winning first prize in its class!

Its historical significance has long been recognised - OWL was exhibited in Britain’s first ever motor museum back in 1912. It's now one of the oldest (and wisest) vehicles at the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire, home of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust.

As an educational charity, the Trust's role is to collect, conserve, share and inspire. OWL's participation in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run each year is an important part of this work - providing a unique opportunity to share the collection with the public and inspire the next generation.

OWL at the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in 2023

As an independent charity, the Trust needs to generate substantial funding and relies on various income streams. These include ticket sales, charitable donations and commercial activity, all vital to the Museum’s mission - to tell the story of Britain's motor industry, now and in the future.

Raising £5200 will get this piece of history gliding again this summer. Any additional funds raised will help to support the vital work of maintaining the Museum's collection of over 400 cars. Thank you for your support.



For more information about opportunities to support the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, please email or call 01926 895 224. 



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