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Wisharts Garage in John Street
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Wisharts Garage in John Street

The site of the new Health Centre in John Street, Stromness which was where Wisharts had their Garage, Bus Depot and Petrol Pumps
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Picture added on 15 July 2007
Think this will be an early 1970's photo, Willie Irelands MKII Cortina on the right?

Added by Brian Robertson on 22 February 2008
I worked there as a 16 year old trainee mechanic in 1977,great place and great people there.We used to have a pump on the pier for boats too,car hire,showroom, we were British Leyland dealers then.I left in 78 and still work as a mechanic today,I often think back to those happy days in Wisharts garage.
Added by Philip Alexander on 24 January 2013
In the summer of 1953 I was taken on by Jim Wishart as relief taxi-driver and general dogsbody for a few weeks. A highlight of my career! An air of hilarity always seemed to pervade the garage; it was a wonder any work got done. I got into a few scrapes in the short time I was there, not that I was alone in this by any means. I was on my way to pick up a 'hire' one day in the old Daimler 'hackney carriage' (complete with driver/passenger partition and speaking-tube) when the gear lever came away in my hand. Luckily the car was in gear and I was able to do a U-turn at the north end of Stromness and get back to the garage. For quite a while the starter motor didn't work on this huge car and it had to be started with the handle. The car had been re-engined with a Bedford bus power-plant which was a bitch to turn. I was doing the morning milk-run for Dale dairy, with all its stops and starts, and because the engine wouldn't idle reliably I was forever having to ca' the han'le. In the end I could spin it like a top. To add variety, the car's accelerator pedal was located between the clutch and brake pedals while the handbrake, operated by the right hand, acted on the propshaft rather than the wheels and had to be pushed to apply it and pulled to release. A hill start in reverse required a wee bit of concentration. I was warned that if I applied the handbrake in an emergency stop (as recommended in the Highway Code) the torque from the propshaft would throw the car onto its side. This may have been an exaggeration but I wasn't about to put it to the test.
Carrying milk-crates required the seat-cushions and carpet to be removed from the passenger compartment. Another driver set off in a hurry to pick up an elderly lady, helped her to board and drove off. When he saw her in his mirror desperately hanging on while she tried to rap on the glass partition, he realised she had nothing to sit on. He stopped and, apologising profusely, folded-out one of the 'occasional' seats stowed in the bulkhead, got his passenger safely seated and completed the trip. (If I have related this episode incorrectly, perhaps the 'other driver' will set us straight. He's still around.)
Added by Ian Hourston on 24 January 2013
Cortina looks like a Mk111 not a Mk11.
Large version would make it clearer.
Added by David Tullock on 24 January 2013
Don't think it's either a mk2 or mk3 Cortina. Only Lotus Cortinas had quarter bumbers. Looks more like a large Zauxhall (vx490?)

Added by Ian Tait on 28 January 2013
I have studied pic several times in enlarged format. I think it is a MK3 cortina,the bumper may be full width and the centre just looks in shade,or i remember it was common practice to "upgrade" base models ie fit 1/4 bumpers etc.Mind you,the shape of the wheel arches are more vauxhall viva looking......Does anyone have a pic of the actual garage forecourt area? Any one remember the "2 Jimmys" who worked there in the 70s. I think one was Swanson and other was Miller. Both very clever mechanics.
Added by Philip Alexander on 30 January 2013
I think the Swanson man was Jimmy and he was called Spiv. He was always well turned out with a bit of a combover. I think they both drove school buses.
Added by W Watters on 30 January 2013
I'm in the MK3 'Tina camp too. But the picture can't be 1960 if that is the case, as MK3 Cortina's first appeared in 1970.
Added by Al Hine on 31 January 2013
MK3 sorry.
Anonymous comment added on 01 February 2013
Both Jimmy Swanson and Jimmy Miller passed away a few years ago. Jimmy Swanson was a great bus driver and would take the bus through the narrowest part of the street to deliver his cargo to their doors,after dances in the country etc.
Wishart's garage always had one of the most amusing floats on the Saturday night of Shopping Week.
Added by Fred Johnston on 02 February 2013
1972 mk3 cortina 2000E
Added by Anthony Adamson on 02 February 2013
Definitely Mk3 1971 2000GT reg N0 PFG202J if my memory is correct. Brian Robertson is correct with the owner.
Added by Willie Mackay on 04 February 2013
Yes it is a Mk 3. The front bumper has a swage where the front number plate sits, making it look like quarter bumpers. Of all the cars that I previously owned I think I miss the 2 Mk5 cortinas most.
Added by Ian Tait on 06 February 2013
Aye and Jimmy didna delay either.
Added by W Watters on 07 February 2013
Ach, I meant Mk3, jeest didna type enough I's, idiotic me.
Added by Brian Robertson on 12 February 2013
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