It�s not every day that you sell a car to a centenarian!
15 June 2009
“It’s not every day that you sell a car to a centenarian!,” says Bruce Hewitt.
Bruce and his colleagues at Eddie Wright were amazed to discover that the friendly old lady giving the cars in the showroom the once-over was just a few months short of her one hundredth birthday.
Mrs. Hilda Briggs will not actually be driving the car herself, much to her disappointment. She and her daughter, Judy Newton, from Haxey, had decided to buy Judy’s husband Michael a new motor – and they were there to make sure that he got something they liked.
Mr. Newton very nearly ended up with a small pink car – ‘such a nice colour’ – but in the end everyone agreed that perhaps the larger silver-grey Citroen C4 was a more practical choice.
The widow of a railwayman, Mrs. Briggs said: “I never learned to drive myself, although I really wish I had done.”
"There was an occasion in the 1940s when I went for a drive with my sister. She offered to move over and let me have a go but something held me back. All I ever had was a bicycle!"
"I do like a trip out into the countryside and this new car will be very nice."
Mrs. Briggs’s life has spanned pretty much the entire age of mass motoring to date: The year that she was born – 1909 – the first Model T Fords began rolling off the world’s first assembly line. The car, that Henry Ford famously suggested could be supplied in any colour the customer required ‘so long as its black’, cost £220.
It was also the year that an Austrian car achieved a world record speed of 82 mph . . . when the Lanchester was one of the best selling British cars . . . and, thinking of Mrs. Briggs’ new car, when Citroen founder Andre Citroen was still a 21 year old student.
Until she was 23 year years old Hilda could, quite legally, just have got behind the wheel of a car and taken off. Drivers did have to have a licence but there was no test to be passed. The driving test was not introduced in Britain until June 1935.
Bruce said: "She’s a lovely lady, really interested in having a look around at everything, and very chatty. Quite amazing. We look forward to her coming to choose her next car in three or four years time!"
"I would just add a thought for the benefit of anyone thinking that modern cars are expensive. The Model T Ford cost £220 in 1909 but in modern money that is almost twenty thousand pounds. Henry couldn’t live with us! "
Further information or comment please contact
Bruce Hewitt or Jane Wright at Eddie Wright on 01724-270755