Visit to Wilson’s Heritage Centre, 12th December 2019


Members will recall the Club visit to the Morris Leslie collection organised by “General” George Frame back in October.
The General has an enviable track record of organising excellent outings but on this occasion I thought he had excelled himself with a standard of visit that simply could not be repeated.

I am pleased to report I was mistaken. The visit to Wilson’s Auction Heritage Centre organised by George was another absolutely first class outing.

Club members are probably already aware that Wilson’s Auctions are a very large organisation. They have 17 sites throughout Britain and Ireland operating sales of all descriptions of goods from farm machinery to fine art and anything else in between.

First, a word of thanks to Gareth Wilson for his generous hospitality. In addition to the tour of the Heritage Centre we were treated to food and drink and even a trio of musicians to meet us as we arrived.
We were given access to all the vehicles in the collection and allowed to see and photograph them at close quarters. This is an eclectic collection with no particular theme other than every exhibit was in excellent condition.

On entering the hall the first car I saw was a magnificent Triumph Roadster of the type driven by John Nettles in the Bergerac series. This car was Triumph’s first offering when car production began after the war. It was the last British car to have a dickie seat and many panels were aluminium on account of the steel shortages of the time. I was also intrigued by a little yellow car that had been hand built locally and was powered by steam. The cars on display ranged from pre war Austins to several very high end Mercedes of more recent vintage. There was a large display of tractors including the ubiquitous “Grey Fergie”, once the workhorse of every Scottish farm. There were several commercial vehicles including a magnificent American Fire Truck. My favourite among those was a little Thornycroft lorry that was very attractive to my eye.
I have not made a detailed description of every exhibit as a comprehensive set of photographs will be placed on the Club website which will also convey the high standard of the building housing them.

After viewing the collection Gareth give us a brief account of the business and some of his experiences as a young man in the auction business.
This was followed by a charity auction of high value items donated by Gareth with the proceeds going to The Ayrshire Hospice which the company support generously.

We were then treated to an excellent presentation by John McPherson who, prior to retirement, was the vehicle conservator at Glasgow Transport Museum.
This was an interesting talk which combined technical information on car design with fascinating tit-bits of motoring history so much loved by incurable petrol heads.

In conclusion, on behalf of the Club, I will thank George for organising such an interesting visit, Stuart for taking the photographs and particularly Gareth Wilson for allowing us to view the collection and his very generous hospitality. The fact that 80 of our members attended and that our allocation was fully subscribed is testament to the attraction of these events.

Ronnie Johnston,

Club Secretary


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