Bullwinkles Garage was founded in 1938 when the current owner’s grandfather (a Henry James Bullwinkle) moved up from London and set up shop in the stables of what used to be the Red Lion pub next door in Baumber, Lincs. He was a skilled coachbuilder, turning Rolls-Royce cars into hearses, and served as the ARP warden during the war. When he passed away, the business came into the hands of his son, who realised that adding a motor dealership would bring more business and went to the Motor Show in 1970. (Pic below shows Bullwinkles today).

Back then, only Porsche, Lotus and Citroën would consider signing up Bullwinkles as an official dealer as they didn’t have a showroom. So for a decade, this garage in Baumber, Lincolnshire, sold Lotuses and Citroëns. In ’71, an all-night pump was installed, whereby customers could pay 50p and get a pre-measured amount of fuel. There was also a vending machine. High tech! Bullwinkles invested in an automated car wash (the damn things still mangle cars even today, so I’m curious as to how good they were back then) which charged 12 ½ pence a go.

By the late ‘70s, Lotus moved upmarket from their kit cars and insisted on a showroom, so Bullwinkles stopped selling them. They ran a breakdown recovery service, busy rescuing day trippers going to the coast in their distinctive pink and yellow trucks, including a Rover P4 saloon converted with a little crane on the back. By 1990, Bullwinkle parted company with Citroën and continued as an independent; few people nowadays can properly service the hydraulic suspension that these fantastic French cars use, the green LHM fluid looking like witchcraft to an amateur spannerman like me.

The garage has served fuel from many brands over the years, including Jet, Power, Cleveland and National. National had a loyalty scheme that rewarded regulars with ‘merry sherry’ glasses, ‘dishy dishes’ and ‘mighty mugs’. National also gave away Smurfs, but rumours of a toxic batch temporarily put their production on hold. Philip, the grandson of Henry Bullwinkle, is to retire soon, with the garage being up for sale. A lifetime of fettling Excels and XMs means he won’t miss ‘em much. But we’ll miss this lovely old place when it’s gone.

I am very grateful to Philip at Bullwinkles garage for the old pictures he shared with me (have a relaxing retirement, if you’re reading this!), and Tim Lovelock for the more recent shots.

This story was taken from my book “SUPER: Old, odd, interesting, obscure and abandoned filling stations. Midlands and North of England edition” which has well over 100 similar places, and is available on Amazon here. Other regions are covered by other editions in this series.

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich's drivel regularly appears in Practical Performance Car and GT Porsche magazines. He has also written for Classic & Sportscar, MogMag, Classic Performance and Retro, Banzai, Evo, and Modern Mini. He also did a book no-one bought. His hungover fizzog also often appears on CBS’s Carfection channel enthusing about historic motoring. Le Mans winner Derek Bell once refused to get in Rich's Morgan Three Wheeler with him at the wheel. Currently amongst the detritus in his garage is a 1972 Fiat 500 Abarth, a fat BMW and a Lotus Elise. Previous machinery includes a Porsche 968, an Alfa GTV V6 and a dreadful Sinclair C5. He also owns a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike.

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