A MONTH ago, we set you a puzzler: identify the saloon in Skeeby in the 1950s. A fortnight ago, we were covered in confusion: some people said it was a Jaguar, others said it was a Riley, and the odd one suggested an Alvis.

Now we are working towards a conclusion.

To begin, let’s rule out one of those names.

“It’s definitely not a Riley,” says Steve Crighton. “I had my first Riley – a Monaco – in 1966 and have been the Tyne Tees & North Yorkshire Area Secretary of the Riley Register for almost 20 years now.

“Three things on your car are not seen on a Riley of the late 1930s to the 1950s era: the front quarter lights; the rear window, which is unlike any car Riley produced in that era, and there appears to be a chrome water channel running across the top of the windows and also at waist height – Riley did not include this, although it looks quite effective!”

We’ve had a couple of new suggestions – could it be a Lagonda LG6 De Ville asked one, or how about a Lea Francis 14 HP Four-Light said another – but everybody else agreed with Howard Pigot who said: “This car is a Mark IV Jaguar. The difference between a Mark IV and Mark V is that the Mark V has double bumpers front and rear.

“I am a member of the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club, and there are quite a few nicely restored versions of these magnificent cars in the club.”

Indeed, in Germany there’s a rather splendid Darlington-registered Mark IV Jaguar. It was bought in July 1947 by Albert Zissler, who had the well known pork butchers in Bondgate, but he died in 1952. The car was then left on blocks in a garage in Cleveland Avenue until his grandson, Paul, had it restored in the mid-1980s.

In the course of 56 years, it had only done 100 miles.

A few years ago, Paul sold the Jag to a German collector, who now uses it for weddings.

“He put the jaguar emblem on the bonnet which it shouldn’t really have,” said Paul. “The Mark IV was the last model with exposed headlights – they then became integral with the wheelarch – and it didn’t have an emblem on it.”

Now we move to the squarish vehicle and, as you might expect, there was some debate here, too. Everyone agreed it was a military vehicle and the first three letters of the numberplate, RAF, were a giveaway that it was registered to the air force.

“It is either a Ford WOA2A Heavy Utility Car or, more likely, a Humber Heavy Utility Car which may date back to the 1930s,” says Stephen Acaster. “They were fairly similar vehicles with the same intended functions. In this format, they were heavy staff/personnel cars, although there were other variants such as ambulances.

“HUCs were not as common as the ubiquitous and far better known Jeep, but nonetheless, thousands of HUCs carried the services, particularly their commanders, through the Second World War, at home and in almost all foreign theatres of operations.”

Ian Gravestock in Yarm said: “It was known by the military as ‘the Box’. With a four litre engine, it was built on a Humber Super Snipe chassis between 1941 and 1946 as a reconnaissance car with six seats or as an ambulance.”

Perhaps the most intriguing question is what these two unusual RAF vehicles were doing in Skeeby in the early 1950s: was it something to do with disposal of old airfields or, given the haphazard nature of the parking, was it an unauthorised stop? Perhaps a search for a packet of Woodbines or a surprise visit to a girlfriend’s? Who knows?

It would be great just to pop along to the scene for a walk by the babbling brook to check the identity of the vehicles and find out what’s going on, but in a bit of breaking news, Richard Wright of Skeeby tells us: “I had a walk down the village yesterday to check, but the vehicles have been moved.”

Thanks to all contributors, including Tony Robinson of Northallerton, Derek Noble of Hutton Rudby, Phil Hughes of Bowes, Gerald Burnett and Alan Simpson of Richmond, Richard Stone, Alan Dodd of Manfield and Phil Garwood.