2014 Shannons Sydney Winter Classic Auction

1958 Wolseley 1500 Sedan




Engine In-line 4-cylinder,1500cc
Gearbox 4-Speed Manual
Body Work Sedan
Colour Cream on Brown
Interior Cream & Brown
Trim Vinyl
Wheels Steel disc
Brakes Drums


This lot is no longer available

Long since absorbed by the British Motors Corporation empire, the proud old marque of Wolseley - one of Britain's oldest - was reserved for the more upmarket models in the BMC range and the 1500 of 1957-1965 was essentially a luxury version of the sporting Riley 1.5. Designed around a modified Morris Minor platform, the Wolseley 1500 was built at Longbridge in considerable numbers and employed BMC's B-series engine, a 1489cc unit developing some 43 horsepower at 4200 rpm. Independent front suspension, high gearing and rack and pinion steering lent the Wolseley a sporting air, but the walnut veneer dash and door cappings added an air of luxury not found in other small saloons of the day. The floor-mounted gear change operated a standard BMC four-speed box, with a high final drive ratio of 3.73:1 for excellent highway cruising. Launched in April 1957, the Wolseley offered a top speed of almost 80 mph for the 530 asking price and was lauded in contemporary road tests for offering exceptional quality at an affordable price. The conventional styling was suitably attractive, with plenty of chrome touches and often finished in period two-tone colours and the interior repeated this motif, although a cheaper 'Fleet' model was available with monotone trim and Vynide upholstery. A slightly updated model, the Mark II, was introduced in 1960 with few changes - the bonnet and boot-lid hinges were hidden - and the body underwent a few further revisions in 1961, with the grille design altered. The 1500 was assembled in Australia from September 1957, along with local derivatives the Morris Major and Austin Lancer and it became the best-selling Wolseley ever made, proof of the cars inherent virtues. The Wolseley was even rallied in period, with John Gott and Chris Tooley co-driving a works BMC entry in the 1958 Monte Carlo Rally and the same car won its class the following year in the 1959 RAC Rally. As an affordable alternative to the Morris Minor the Wolseley has much to commend it - greater luxury, better performance and exclusivity help set the 1500 apart from its close relative.