Wolseley

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Wolseley

Established in 1896, Wolseley was one of England’s first carmakers, quickly garnering a reputation for building quality vehicles. The first iteration was actually built by Herbert Austin who was, at the time, the companies General Manager. This simple three-wheeler would quickly morph into a four-wheeler, as did so many at the time, and by 1901 there was even a four cylinder five speed racer in the modest 3 model lineup. Over the years Wolseley’s would become increasingly larger and more refined, and by 1906 the J. D. Siddeley designed Wolseley-Siddeley boasted a 3.3 liter 201ci engine. After World War 1 the Wolseley lineup would swell to include the 7, the 10 (which was later replaced by the 11/22), and the 15 (which was later replaced by the 16/35 types).

However the company never fully recovered after the war, and was taken over by Nuffield in 1927. Unfortunately it ever so slowly lost its identity over the following decades, particularly when ownership was assumed by BMC, who would simply "re-badge" the same model. There were a few highlights along the way though, such as the Morris Isis derived 21/60 of 1929 which boasted a six cylinder engine and hydraulic brakes. In 1930 came the 1.3 liter Hornet, the six cylinder engine being small in capacity but proving itself to be delightfully smooth and powerful.

Through the 1930’s the company adopted the use of the famous “illuminated” Wolseley logo on the radiators, a feature that would remain a part of all Wolseley’s until the companies eventual demise. Following World War 2 there was the Eight, Ten and Twenty-Five, and by 1949 2 completely new models were released, the four cylinder 4/60 and the six cylinder 6/80, both engines being of overhead cam design. But as rationalization spread through the British car industry, the Wolseley name became ever increasingly a badge over a brand. The last Wolseley appeared in 1975, then a re-badged Morris 1100, but when Leyland took control they re-named the car the Princess, and the Wolseley name was lost forever.

Wolseley 6/80  

Wolseley 6/80

1948 - 1954
The lavish grille and driving lights made the vehicle appear more up-market, but it was the interior where the Wolseley shined. More >>
Wolseley 15/50  

Wolseley 6/90

1954 - 1959
Wolseley aficionados were aghast to find a grey striped formica instrument panel and central large chrome mesh "cheese-cutter" speaker grille. This would be switched back to the more traditional polished walnut facia with the release of the Series II in 1957. More >>
Wolseley 15/50  

Wolseley 15/50

1956 - 1958
Despite its single SU carburetor the Wolseley 15/50 managed to provide reasonable performance suitable for its roll as a mid-range model. Most importantly there was a feeling of general excellence and honesty about the car, Wolseley's having established a solid reputation for a long working life and freeedom from petty troubles. More >>
Wolseley 6/110  

Wolseley 6/110

1961 - 1968
For the £106 pound premium over the Austin, the Wolseley driver of course received the famous Wolseley grille complete with auxiliary lamps, distinctive duotone color schemes and a much more upmarket interior, which included walnut veneer facia, real leather and individually adjustable front seats. Options included fitment of an automatic transmission, and/or “Normalair” air-conditioning. More >>
Wolseley 24/80

Wolseley 24/80

1962 - 1965
The 6 cylinder Wolseley 24/80 sedan and station wagon (also sold under the Austin name) were released in April 1962. These cars were developed by BMC Australia to counter the growing popularity of the new 6 cylinder rivals from the US, namely the GM Holden and Ford Falcon. More >>
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