1932 Wolseley Hornet Drophead Coupé, Chassis no. 54365 Engine no. 543B/65

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Lot 369
Registration no. PJ 7705 Chassis no. 54365 Engine no. 543B/65

Sold for £ 12,650 (US$ 17,340) inc. premium
1932 Wolseley Hornet Drophead Coupé

Registration no. PJ 7705
Chassis no. 54365
Engine no. 543B/65

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 year's end when Morris rationalised its car production.

    We are advised that this Wolseley Hornet was involved in an accident in 1938, as a result of which it was professionally re-bodied, it is believed by either Jarvis or Meredith. The Hornet was in running condition when purchased 15 years ago by the current owner, who had the clutch, exhaust and tyres replaced and the car MoT'd. He put 'PJ 7705' into storage some eight years ago and has since retired and moved abroad, hence the decision to sell. Running perfectly at that time, the car will require re-commissioning and light restoration to return it to the condition it was in when photographed. The coachwork and interior are described as in very good condition and there is said to be no rust anywhere, while parts offered with car include the dashboard instruments and a new hood. An attractive and potentially most rewarding project, this rare Wolseley Hornet is offered with old-style logbook, sundry restoration invoices and V5 registration document.

Saleroom notices

  • The correct engine number for this car is 954A78, not as writing in the catalogue, and the Gear box number is 56365R.
Contacts
1932 Wolseley Hornet Drophead Coupé, Chassis no. 54365 Engine no. 543B/65
1932 Wolseley Hornet Drophead Coupé, Chassis no. 54365 Engine no. 543B/65
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