1931 Wolseley Hornet Sports Special Sold
Fascinating History – It started off life as a 4-seater coach-built Hornet Saloon but by the 1960’s had become a bit of a basket case and, what’s more, it had lost its valuable radiator, bonnet and headlamps, what a sacrilege! It was saved from the looming scrapheap by a local Wolseley enthusiast who had already completed two other special-bodied Wolseleys, it took him years of detective and much legwork to source replacements for the absentee parts. By a stroke of luck he finally located the remnants of a Hornet car preserved in a peat bog in Orkney, the missing items were swiftly recovered and then lovingly restored.
Being something of a perfectionist the restorer wanted all the parts in the rebuilt car to be genuine Wolseley components. The exception being the bodywork as the original factory-built saloon body was beyond redemption so it was decided to convert the car into a much more valuable Vintage Special, one with a strong Bugatti influence. It is therefore eligible for all VSCC events and rallies.
Everything was cleaned, restored, rebuilt, remade, replaced where necessary. The vehicle has a believed genuine mileage of only 27.000 miles and the engine and original 3 speed gearbox showed little signs of wear and once rebuilt ran with good oil pressure and very smoothly. The sporting alloy coachwork has been constructed using traditional coachbuilding methods with copper nails to attach it to the ash and plywood frame. It was styled on a Type 35 and is in keeping with early period sports racing cars. The build quality is to a high standard including such detail as armourd cable wiring, brass fuse box and correctly engraved wheel hubs.
It has an original (Wolseley) SS Swallow brass windscreen and the instruments are all from the original car, though now mounted on a new dashboard. All the wheels have been rebuilt and powder-coated with new tyres, new king pins and springs all round. There is also a new tonneau cover with the car. The spare and tools are housed in the bootspace behind the seats.
The bonnet is painted in Oxford Blue with Masons Black mudguards, the body has been polished to a mirror show finish. The bucket-type seats have a delicious worn patina. A notable feature is the Bentley-style radiator shutters which are fully serviceable. The cockpit has deliberately not been over-trimmed in keeping with the lightweight Gran Prix Racing Formula of the time.
Wolseley Hornet Sports Special – is the vehicle type as it is logged with the DVLA and the Wolseley Hornet Special Club that verified it’s origins. It still carries the Registration Mark it was issued with in 1931 VE 5633, it comes with old style logbook from which the car appears to be all matching numbers.
The 12HP OHC power unit was known as the ‘Minature Six’ and the car was built on the standard early Hornet chassis from 31 used by many famous coach builders and successfully trimmed, tuned and raced quite successfully at Brooklands and elsewhere by the likes of Colonel Michael McEvoy. This actual chassis is thought to be the earliest and most complete and original example of the Hornet marque.
The Special has only just been completed, so here is a unique opportunity for the serious Collector to acquire a very pretty little Speedster from Motoring’s Golden Age for a relatively modest outlay.