At a recent car show I met Mark Bennett and Lefty Wright for the first time. Together, they decided my car was going to be the 'Carís the Star' feature for the next Magazine and that I had better write something to go with the picture they had already taken . . . .
So here goes, the car is a Coleman Milne Windsor. That is a stretched estate car, allegedly designed for the Queen Motherís 80th birthday so she could drive or be driven around the estates. That is where the name is supposed to come from. The body is stretched about 24Ē and to fill the gap, the front door is extended, the rear door is extended, and the ĎBí pillar is extended.
There are extra fold down seats with best access via the front doors and tipping front seats. The central tunnel is reinforced, as are the sills, familiar to anyone who has had a regular limousine. It is quite a heavy ship at around 2.2 tonnes and this is reflected in the heavy steering, lack of performance and atrocious fuel economy. Reports on numbers built vary a little but the most consistent number I have heard is 19. So a rare car even when new.
I first saw one of these around 30 years ago, and I liked it. At the time my father had a Granada so I was familiar with the model. I eventually bought my fatherís car but that is a story for another time. A few years later, as a Funeral Director, I knew of a couple of Windsorís being used by some other companies. Tentative enquiries about their purchase were always politely refused. So I continued my on and off search over the years, during which I had many other Granadaís and always estates.
Eventually, after leaving the Funeral trade and moving north, I found this one. It was advertised on everyoneís favourite auction site, and located even further north in Durham. It is in pretty good condition for nearly 30 years old allegedly having only 11500 miles on the clock. I have a stack of MOT Certificates that seem to confirm that claim.
It was originally silver and privately owned and when a couple of years old it was resprayed by CM in Carlton grey and sold to a funeral director. I believe it remained there, mostly unused, until the owner before me bought it. He had it for only a few weeks when I bought it about 6 years ago. It has not had very much use over the last few years, if fact one year it only did 10 or 15 miles between MOTís.
I would like to use it more and from now on I am determined to find reasons to use it rather than excuses not to.
When I got the car it did not have a radio fitted. I do not like the position of the radio on the later model, so I took the clock out and adapted the dashboard to fit one in there. I thought it would be really clever and neat to use the clock wiring plug for the radio. After all it has negative, switched power, permanent power, and illumination.
The slight downside is the Switched power only comes on with the ignition, so the radio only works when the engine is on. For the moment I can live with that. I have fitted a pre- facelift grill, partly because I prefer them and partly because I had one from a hearse in my parts stash, so it already has the CM badge on the front. One day I will get round to making a Windsor badge to fit over it. I have fitted LED lights all round because I like the look of them. The indicators were interesting because the standard relay caused them to flash so fast they were buzzing rather than clicking. The answer was to change the relay for an electronic one. I am not entirely happy with the wheels on it at the moment, but donít know what I do want. TRXís didnít look quite right either, and I donít want to go cosworth.
We have just returned from Holland (remember the recent car show ?) and we had a couple of minor issues with losing gearbox oil and engine oil. I think it was the combination of being a heavy car to start with and we had a lot of extra weight in it. It must have been like towing a caravan for 200 miles. The return journey was without a problem, but I am now thinking about fitting oil coolers for both engine and gearbox.
At the moment I have no intention of selling this car, although I have been asked by a local banger racer to let him know if I change my mind. And that is about it now. What was originally only going to be a few lines has turned into a couple of pages. I apologise if it has been a bit matter of fact but I donít really have any anecdotes to share. Maybe next time!