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Wolsley Hornet
Manufacturer Wolseley Motors Limited
Production 1930–1936
31686 made[1]
Assembly Ward End Works, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Body style(s)

2-door saloon
4-door saloon

2-door sports tourer
various special bodies
Engine(s) 1271, 1378 or 1604 cc overhead-cam six-cylinder
Transmission(s) 3- or 4-speed manual
Wheelbase 90 in (2,286 mm) [2]
Length 137 in (3,480 mm) [2]
Width 54 in (1,372 mm) [2]

1932 Wolseley Hornet EW Special

The Wolseley Hornet was a lightweight saloon car produced by Wolseley Motors Limited from 1930 to 1936. The manufacturer had been acquired by Morris in 1927 and the Wolseley Hornet of 1930 was in effect a 2-door Morris Minor saloon fitted with a small six-cylinder engine in place of the four-cylinder unit that was normal for this size of car.[3]

It had a small six-cylinder (1271cc) engine with a single overhead cam, and hydraulic brakes. The engine was modified in 1932 to make it shorter and it was moved forwards on the chassis.[1] For 1935 the engine grew to 1378 cc.[1] The car could initially be ordered from Wolseley as an enclosed saloon with steel or fabric body or open two-seater. From 1931 it was available without the saloon body, and was used as the basis for a number of sporting specials. In 1932 the factory added two- and four-seat coupés to the range. For its final year of production the range was rationalised to a standard saloon and coupé.

A three-speed gearbox was fitted to the earliest cars, but this was upgraded to a four-speed in 1932 and fitted with synchromesh from 1933. A freewheel mechanism could be ordered in 1934.

The engine was also used in the MG F-type and MG L-type Magnas, and MG K-type and MG N-type Magnettes.

Two sporting versions were made called Hornet Specials. The 1932-34 version of which 2307 were made had twin carburettors and higher compression and was supplied as a chassis to various specialist coachbuilders including Swallow and Cunard. For 1935 it had a 1604 cc engine but only 148 were made.[1]

At launch the car came with a UK retail price of £175 and could be seen as a competitively priced small saloon with unusually brisk performance; but during the 1930s it gained in overall weight and lost the well judged weight distribution that gave the early Hornets much of their market-place appeal.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Baldwin, N. (1994). A-Z of Cars of the 1920s. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-53-2. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Nine of the best - Wolseley Hornet", Autocar. 127 nbr 3730: pages 33–35. 10 August 1967. 

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