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Lot 092: Wolseley Hornet Eustace Watkins 4-seater sports

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (16 May 2012)

The Wolseley company was taken over by Sir William Morris in 1927 and the Wolseley Hornet was their first new car, having been introduced to the British motoring public in 1929 as an overhead-camshaft six-cylinder version of the very advanced Morris Minor. The same engine was fitted to the F, L K and N type MGs, meaning there is a plentiful source of parts as well as a fair turn of speed. Between 1932 and 1934 the factory supplied a series of chassis termed the Hornet Special" to a variety of coachbuilders for bespoke bodywork. The low riding chassis was underslung at the rear and lent itself to the fitting of stylish bodies. Some 2,300 of these twin carburettor, high compression versions were supplied to Avon, Swallow, Cunard as well as the Wolseley dealer Eustace Watkins who produced a very appealing sports 4-seater body. This fine 1932 example is for sale from a deceased estate. Purchased a few years ago, it has been subjected to significant expenditure, two large files of information showing the extent of the work. The front suspension and steering has been rebuilt, the brakes overhauled and a new set of wire wheels, spinners and Blockley triple stud tyres fitted. Mechanically the car is understood to be sound, with rebuilt carburettors, starter and dynamo, whilst a recent fuel pump has been added. When being manouvered for the photographs, it started promptly and ran smoothly on all six straight away, the gearbox being smooth in action with the brakes stopping the car as one would expect. Externally the headlights and their tubular cross braces, along with the radiator cowl, have all been re-chromed at considerable expense, whilst the windscreen wiper has been restored, along with the lovely instruments which all function as they should. The interior is nicely patinated, although the front carpets could not be located at the time of viewing. The paintwork is excellent, the car having a hood and tonneau cover. Its last outing was a trip from Worcester to Southhampton, a journey undertaken without issue. These pretty little sports tourers were light and well balanced and had a grace and elegance that few cars of the period could match. Available at a fraction of the price that an equivalent 4-seater 6-cylinder MG would command, yet using the same engine and many shared components, these special bodied Hornets look extremely attractive alternatives.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
Lot Number092
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£21400
Condition rating
Registration number251 JGC
Chassis number120502
Engine number14B/78
Engine capacity (cc)1271
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors