Wolseley Voiturette car, 1899.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model (scale 1:6). One of Britain's earliest car manufacturers, Wolseley developed out of an engineering busines established by Frederick Wolseley (1837-1899), and originally involved in the manufacturing of sheep-shearing equipment. Herbert Austin (1866-1941), best known for establishing the motor company that bears his name worked for Wolseley and designed their early cars. In 1896 he travelled to France to look at their motor industry, and a year later produced the 'Autocar Number One' based on a three-wheeled Leon-Bollee voiturette. This two-seater car was the first four-wheeled vehicle designed by Austin. It has a single-cylinder engine, was capable of a top speed of 25 mph and, unusually, was steered by means of a tiller.