1924 Wolseley A9 Drop Head Coupe
Powerful OHC 2.6-litre engine; older restoration; little work since full engine rebuild; very pretty; a rare survivor
The origins of the Wolseley car company go right back to the mid-1890s when a young Herbert Austin, then employed as a works manager at the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Company, became interested in engines and automobiles. In 1896 he made his own version of a Léon Bollée design that he had seen in Paris.
When he found that another British group had bought the rights, Austin had to come up with a design of his own so, in 1897, the second Wolseley car, the three-wheeled Wolseley Autocar No.1 was revealed. A four-wheeled Wolseley Voiturette soon followed, with a steering wheel in place of the tiller, and success in the Thousand Miles Trial of 1900 meant that it was swiftly put into production.
By 1921 Austin had long since moved on to found his own company (which some of you may have heard of) and Wolseley had become a well established marque selling 12,000 cars a year. These came in numerous types including five and seven-litre sixes, but backbone of the range were the solidly engineered 15 and 17hp fours, some with overhead cam engines. In 1927 Wolseley was taken over by Sir William Morris, Lord Nuffield, and the brand began to lose its identity as Morris and MG parts came to predominate.
This particular car dates from 1924 and is a 15hp Wolseley A9, a very advanced car which used overhead camshaft technology borrowed from Hispano-Suiza aero engines, which Wolseley had made during the first war. Introduced in 1919, the 2.6-litre A9 was claimed to give "a sense of unlimited power either on hills or on the level, yet is only rated at 15.6hp and has a correspondingly low fuel consumption." In a deal with Ishikawajima Shipbuilding & Engineering in 1922, the A9 also gained the distinction of being the first passenger car ever made in Japan.
This car was for many years part of a collection owned by the late Geoff Richardson of Hartlebury, and was treated to a 30-year restoration which was only completed in around 2004. This included making a new ash frame to support the original open two-seater and dickie bodywork, and restoring or renewing all the mechanical parts to make the car suitable for regular use. In particular, the engine was fully rebuilt with new pistons, steel con rods in place of alloy and conversion from white metal to shell bearings. An external oil filter has also been fitted for greater reliability and easier maintenance and an SU carb fitted for better performance. The car remains in very good order but has not been on the road since 2006 so some precautionary recommissioning may now be required.
Altogether a most fascinating car from the true Wolseley era that has been sympathetically upgraded for regular use. Most pleasingly, it also retains its highly distinctive original number plate, MR 2001 and comes with two original Wolseley instruction manuals.
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Reg No: MR2001
Chassis Number: 54984
Engine Size: 2614
Docs: V5C, 2 old MOT's, 2 x Hand Books.
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