Reunited with car after 40 long years

COLOURFUL memories came cruising back for a Gainsborough woman as she was re-united with the car she learned to drive in more than 40 years ago.

Maureen Oldale and her family have tracked down the 1958 Austin Metropolitan which she and her late partner Michael Gillatt had.

Michael, formerly of Lindrick Dale, near Dinnington in South Yorkshire, died a year ago.

“This is the happiest day I have had in such a long time,” said Maureen, 70, who was overwhelmed to see the beautiful vintage vehicle again.

“I wish Michael could see it.”

Michael’s nephew Mark Gillatt had been visiting Maureen when he spotted a photo of the car.

“Maureen said she wondered where it was now. It could have been scrapped,” said Mark, 47, of West Burton, near Gainsborough.

“I put the name into Google, and I found the Metropolitan Owners Club website with a section called ‘Where Is It Now’.”

“I posted an appeal on there, and the next morning I had an email from the car’s current owners.”

And this week, Tony and Jane Elson, from Tamworth in Staffordshire, brought their prized set of wheels almost 100 miles to see Maureen.

“The car was a little different when Michael and Maureen had it back in the 60s – it was red, not turquoise,” said Tony.

Jane said: “We love the car. We take it to shows and drive it round all weekend when it’s sunny.”

“We get lots of smiles and some laughs - but not many.”

Austin Metropolitans were released onto the British motoring scene in 1957. But they were being made in the UK since 1953 and exported to America for the Nash Motor Corporation.

Maureen was 17 when she first sat in the driver’s seat of the classy car, number plate WON 662.

Emotions ran high as she swung open the heavy door and sat in the comfy leather seat once again.

“I never thought I would see it again,” she said. “I loved it. It was lovely to drive. Michael would take me out in it all around Dinnington and Worksop. But I would stop at the bottom of every hill and ask to switch seats in case I rolled back down. But he said ‘no you’ve got to learn’.”

“I went on to have lessons and I passed my test first time. Maybe the Metropolitan was lucky.”

“We had it for a long time, and Michael sold it to a man in Dinnington.”

Michael’s first car was a Morgan, registration CON 851. If you know what happened to it, call the Gainsborough Standard on 01427 615323 or email [email protected]