1931 Wolseley Hornet Tourer  Chassis no. 3839/C53 Engine no. 84305

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Lot 321
1931 Wolseley Hornet Tourer
Registration no. RB 3636 Chassis no. 3839/C53 Engine no. 84305

Sold for £ 20,700 (US$ 28,374) inc. premium
1931 Wolseley Hornet Tourer
Coachwork by Swallow

Registration no. RB 3636
Chassis no. 3839/C53
Engine no. 84305

Footnotes

  • Although its image in later years became ever more difficult to distinguish from that of other makes within the British Motor Corporation, in the early 1930s Wolseley occupied the front rank of British sports cars alongside MG, Riley and Frazer Nash. The single model responsible was the Wolseley Hornet.
    The heart of any great sports car is its engine and that of the Hornet had been inspired by the Hispano Suiza aero engines that Wolseley Motors had manufactured under licence during WWI. The Hornet engine's immediate ancestor was an 847cc four-cylinder unit with shaft-driven overhead camshaft. This 847cc 'four' never featured in a Wolseley however, being reserved by parent company Morris for the Minor and used by Cecil Kimber in the first of his Minor-derived MG Midgets. Small-capacity 'sixes' were much in vogue at this time, so Wolseley added two cylinders to create a 1,271cc overhead-cam 'six'.
    Introduced in 1930, the Hornet saloon deployed Wolseley's OHC 'six' in a lengthened Morris Minor chassis equipped with hydraulic brakes. Its power-to-weight ratio was exemplary among contemporary 1.3-litre cars, the smooth and flexible engine pulling from walking pace to more than 60mph. The model was revised for 1932 with a shortened, chain-driven overhead-cam engine (repositioned further forward to improve cabin space) and a four-speed 'silent third' gearbox. Engine capacity increased to 1,378cc in 1935 but the Hornet was dropped at the end of the year when Morris rationalised its car production.
    First registered on 1st March 1931, this Hornet tourer wears coachwork by the Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding Company, styled by Jaguar founder, William Lyons. The car was restored by its previous owner and the current vendor has improved it still further, fitting the correct wheels, ignition system, battery box and brakes. The engine was reconditioned by Ray Brown (Engineers) Ltd of Plymouth in 2007 and since completion in 2009 the Hornet has been driven only 20 miles. Offered from a private collection, the car is described as generally sound, although the paintwork would benefit from improvement. 'RB 3636' comes with sundry restoration invoices, Swansea V5 and recently expired MoT (August 2009).

Saleroom notices

  • The engine number is 44551A and not as catalogued.
1931 Wolseley Hornet Tourer  Chassis no. 3839/C53 Engine no. 84305
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