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Riley 1.5
Wolseley 1500

1965 Riley 1.5 Saloon
Manufacturer BMC
Production 1957-1965
39,568 (Riley)
103,394 (Wolseley)
Assembly United Kingdom
Victoria Park, Australia [1]
Predecessor Riley RME/Wolseley 15/50
Successor Riley Kestrel/Wolseley 1100/1300
Class midsize car
Body style(s) 4-door saloon
Engine(s) 1489 cc L B-Series Straight-4
Transmission(s) 4-speed manual
synchromesh on top 3 ratios[2]
Wheelbase 86 in (2,184 mm)[3]
Length 152 in (3,861 mm))[4]
Width 60.5 in (1,537 mm)[4]
Height 59.5 in (1,511 mm)[4]
Curb weight 2,072 lb (940 kg)
Related Morris Major
Austin Lancer

The Riley One-Point-Five and similar Wolseley 1500 were motor vehicles based on the Morris Minor floorpan, suspension and steering but fitted with the larger 1489 cc B-Series engine and MG Magnette gearbox. Launched in 1957, the twins were differentiated by nearly 20 hp (15 kW), the Riley having twin SU carburettors giving it the most power at 68 hp (50 kW). The Wolseley was released in April of that year, while the Riley appeared in November, directly after the 1957 London Motor Show.[5]

The Series II model came out in May 1960. The most notable external difference was the hidden boot and bonnet hinges. Interior storage was improved with the fitting of a full width parcel shelf directly beneath the fascia.[5]

The Wolseley also had a Series III launched in October 1961 which featured a revised grille and rear lights.

In October 1962 the car received the more robust crank, bearing and other details of the larger 1,622 cc unit now being fitted in the Austin Cambridge and its "Farina" styled clones. Unlike the Farina models, however, the Wolseley 1500 and Riley one-point-five retained the 1,489 cc engine size with which they had been launched back in 1957.[5]

Production ended in 1965 with 39,568 Rileys and 103,394 Wolseleys made.[6]



The One-Point-Five and its 1500 sibling had a number of differences, with the Wolseley generally being the less well-equipped model:

  • Engine - The Riley benefited from dual SU H4 carburettors while the Wolseley received only one.
  • Exterior - The front panel and grille looks similar on both cars, but is different. The stainless trim along the side of the cars is different, as well.
  • Dashboard - Both cars received wooden dashboards. While the Riley had a full complement of gauges (speedometer, tachometer, and temp/oil/fuel) placed directly in front of the driver, the Wolseley made do with only the speedometer and temp/oil/fuel gauges, which were placed in the centre of the dashboard.
  • Brakes - The Riley was equipped with a larger Girling braking system, while the Wolseley received a smaller Lockheed system. The Girling brakes on the Riley One-Point-Five were often sought out by Morris Minor owners looking a way to upgrade their brakes.


In its day the Riley was successfully raced and rallied and can still be seen today in historical sporting events.

A Wolseley 1500 was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1957. It was found to have a top speed of 76.7 mph (123.4 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 24.8 seconds. A fuel consumption of 36.6 miles per imperial gallon (7.72 L/100 km/30.5 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £758 including taxes of £253.[4]

Australian production

Main article: Morris Major

BMC Australia produced the Wolseley 1500 in Australia from 1958.[7] It was built alongside BMC Australia's own versions of this design, the Morris Major and Austin Lancer.[7] The Major and Lancer were less luxurious and had many notable differences from the Wolseley.[7] The 1500 was discontinued in 1959 and substantially revised "Series 2" models of the Major and Lancer were released in the same year.[7] In 1962 the Lancer and Major were replaced by the Morris Major Elite which was powered by a 1622cc engine.[7]

North American Exports

1959 Series I Riley One-Point-Fives were exported to North America by BMC in an attempt to capitalize on the growing imported car market. While not a sales success, a number of the cars remain on the road in the hands of collectors.

Running Changes

The badging for the One-Point-Five was changed early on in Series I production, after car number 4304 and before 6353. The earlier cars have smaller badges on the front wings, while the later cars use the same badges on the wings and the boot lid. The typeface is also different.


  1. BMC-Leyland Heritage Group, Building Cars in Australia, 2012, page 213
  2. "Knowing your Riley one point five", Practical Motorist. 7 (nbr 83): pages 1162–1163. date July 1961. 
  3. Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "The Wolseley 1500", The Motor. April 17, 1957. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Used cars on test: 1962 Riley one-point-five", Autocar. 126 (nbr 3713): pages 62–63. date 13 April 1967. 
  6. Robson, Graham (2006). A-Z British Cars 1945-1980. Devon, UK: Herridge & Sons. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 BMC in Australia Retrieved on 14 March 2012
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