Derek Dillion, 35 years of age and from Denny, purchased the 1952 Wolseley 6/80 which was a wreck of a classic car being full of rust. He paid £200 fifteen years ago with the intention of putting a V8 engine in and making it rather sporty.
However, when his first child was born, that rather changed his mind feeling that he should really make it as environmental as possible. So, what did he do-he fitted an electric engine that was custom built.
Derek Dillion said“Having children was the catalyst.
“When my son Craig was born, it made me think about the kind of world I wanted him to grow up in.
“Living in Denny, you notice there are a lot of wind farms being built in the area and it gives you an idea of where the jobs will be in the future. I wanted the car to provide an inspiration to my kids. It shows that green technology does work.”
Although he bought the car fifteen years ago he only started restoring it in 2004 after Craig was born.
Derek is a mechanical engineer but did not have any previous expertise in electronics. The project was not an easy one as he had to involve modern constantly evolving technology whilst bringing back to life a 60-year-old classic car.
Derek added:“I basically had to teach myself, but it was more enjoyable than you might think.
“But the conversion to electric was actually the quickest part. The restoration process is what has taken the longest.
“The motor itself and the motor controller, which controls the speed, were imported from the USA. I bought the batteries from down south but I suspect they were originally from China.
“Anything that was original I refurbished and made good.”
Derek was not prepared to state how much the renovation/conversion has cost but did estimate that he has spent £15,000 on parts.
He said:“Put it this way, if I decided to build another electric car tomorrow, it would be finished in a lot less time and cost less money. The two questions I’m always asked are: how fast and how far? It can do 70 mph – motorways are not a problem. The battery pack could do 40 miles between charges, but that’s down to around 25 now. It’s enough to get me to work and back each day. Other Wolseley owners have been very good about it. I was worried what their reaction would be. I thought they would call me all the names under the sun! I think they’re just pleased to see another Wolseley back on the road.”
The car is roadworthy and fully insured but he is thinking about changing the battery pack for one that will allow him to do more miles. It would be interesting to find out if he was able to arrange classic car insurance on the vehicle?
The Wolseley six eighty was built in Cowley, Oxfordshire and to buy it brand new in 1952 would have cost you £1,121 and 10 shillings-in today’s money that is in the region of £30,000.