2018 Shannons Sydney Spring Classic Auction

1932 Wolseley Hornet Special Sports Tourer (Project)




Engine In-line 6-cylinder, 1271cc
Gearbox 4-speed manual
Body Work Sports Tourer
Colour Unpainted
Interior Tan
Trim Vinyl
Wheels Wire-spoked
Brakes Hydraulic drums


This lot is no longer available

Founded by Vickers Ltd and Herbert Austin in 1901, Wolseley Motors Ltd expanded rapidly between the wars to become the largest motoring manufacturer in Britain but sales began falling rapidly in the 1920s and the Company was ultimately placed in receivership in February 1927.  William Morris (later Viscount Nuffield) proved to be Wolseley’s saviour, purchasing the ailing concern primarily for the sophisticated single overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine introduced in 1930 for the Hornet.  Based on a revised Morris Minor chassis suitably modified to accommodate the longer six, the earliest Hornets were available with open two-seater or two-door saloon coachwork and the Special was added to the model range in April 1932, featuring various go-faster parts such as twin carburettors, domed higher compression pistons, duplex valve springs and a revised exhaust system.  The gear-lever used a longer remote control, while the chassis featured wider track, larger 12-inch drum brakes and optional Rudge-Whitworth wire wheels with knock-on hubs.  Further improvements took place in 1933, with the chassis underslung and the wheelbase extended, while a new cross-flow head improved breathing.  Various coachbuilders clothed the Hornet Special chassis, including the likes of Jensen, Abbey and Swallow, the latter producing attractive two and four-seaters prior to the introduction of their first car, the SS1.  The Hornet proved relatively popular in Australia and a number were bodied by local coachbuilders, the vast majority shipped here in chassis form.  The Hornet Special enjoyed a well-earned reputation for reliability and proved popular in various forms of motor sport throughout the 1930s, owners forming the backbone of the Light Car Clubs of NSW and Victoria in the 1950s.