Wolseley 4/50

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Wolseley 4/50 and 6/80
Manufacturer Nuffield Organisation, BMC
Production 1948-1954
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
Layout FR layout

The Wolseley 4/50 and similar 6/80 were Wolseley Motors' first post-war automobiles. They were rushed into production in 1948 and were based on the Morris Oxford MO and the Morris Six MS respectively. The 4-cylinder 4/50 used a 1476 cc 50 hp (37 kW) version of the 6/80 engine, while the 6/80 used a 2215 cc 72 hp (54 kW) straight-6 single overhead cam.

The cars were well equipped and looked impressive, with a round Morris rear end and upright Wolseley grille and were used extensively by the Police at the time - the 6/80 particularly.

These models were built at Morris's Cowley factory alongside the 'Oxford'. They were replaced in 1953 and 1954 by the Wolseley 4/44 and 6/90.

Wolseley 4/50
Wolseley 4-50 front.jpg
Production 1948-1953
8925 built[1]
Assembly United Kingdom
Victoria Park, Australia [2]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
Related Morris Oxford MO
Engine 1.5 L Morris I4
Wheelbase 102 inches (2591 mm)[3]
Length 170 inches (4267 mm)[3]
Width 66 inches (1676 mm)[3]
Height 63 in (1,600 mm)[4]
Successor Wolseley 4/44

A 4/50 tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1950 had a top speed of 70.7 mph (113.8 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 30.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 27.0 miles per imperial gallon (10.5 L/100 km; 22.5 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £703 including taxes.[4]

Sales volumes were only a third those of the car's six-cylinder sibling: the car was regarded as heavy, with "good use of the excellent gear-box" being needed to maintain a respectable pace.[5] The Wolseley 4/50 was more upmarket & expensive than the Morris Oxford. The engine used was a 4-cylinder version of the 6/80. The pistons & doors were of very few common parts used in this range of cars. The snub nose styling distinguishes it from the long elegant bonnet of the 6/80 re.[5]

Wolseley 6/80[edit]

Wolseley 6/80
Wolseley 6-80 front.jpg
Production 1948-1954
25,281 made[1]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
Related Morris Six MS
Engine 2.2 L I6
Wheelbase 110 inches (2794 mm)[3]
Length 177 inches (4443 mm)[3]
Width 66 inches (1676 mm)[3]
Height 63 in (1,600 mm)[6]
Predecessor Wolseley 18/85
Successor Wolseley 6/90

In order to accommodate its longer six-cylinder engine, the 6/80 was longer by 7 in (180 mm) than the 4/50. It also had larger brakes with 10 in (250 mm) drums compared with the 9 in (230 mm) ones of the 4/50.[6]

The 'six eighty' was something of an anachronism, built in the traditional style that flagship wolseley buyers loved, yet the underpinnings were intended to be almost cutting edge for an immediate postwar saloon. It had prewar style radiator, centre hinged bonnet, split windscreen, small oval rear window, and traditional elegant styling with a hint of running boards,& from inside the driver sat in leather seats & peered over the wolseley hallmark of a polished wood dashboard, down a long high bonnet to the flying W symbol - all dated features by the early fifties, yet it had a monocoque chassis, springless torsion bar suspension, twin telescopic shocks, column gears & powered by a feat of engineering in the shaft driven overhead camshaft big 6.

Wolseley had needed to produce a new postwar engine, and turned to their own past experience adapting designs drawn from an aero engine called the Wolseley Viper V8 that started life in WW1 aircraft,latterly the Bristol SE5a,to which there is a visual similarity, the engine appearing quite vintage even for the day. However the formula worked for theres no doubt the 'six eighty' made a lot of money for Lord Nuffield's corporation, and was the longest ever running favorite of Police forces who seemed to retain cars well into the 1960s when they were a favorite for skid pan and mechanical training. They are even today recognised as the iconic period british police car.[7]

— Postwar Vintage Marques that enraptured the public.Old Motor R.1999

A 6/80 tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1951 had a top speed of 85.3 mph (137.3 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 21.4 seconds. A fuel consumption of 21.8 miles per imperial gallon (13.0 L/100 km; 18.2 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £767 including taxes.[6] An Autocar Magazine road test of an apparently similar car managed a top speed of only 78.5 mph (126.3 km/h) and slightly slower acceleration on a windy day a couple of years earlier. The testers noted that "in keeping with [the manufacturer's] policy which has much to commend it to a discerning motorist, the Wolseley is quite high geared",[8] which made for relaxed cruising at (by the standards of the time) speed, but an more urgent driving style involved extensive use of the gear box. Standard equipment included a heater, a rear window blind and "twin roof lamps in the rear compartment".[8]

A second-hand car review published in England in 1960 observed that "even the most junior member of the family" would recognise the Wolseley 6/80 as the "Cops' Car" both on television, and on the streets. The car was reckoned to offer a good power-to-weight ratio in combination with steering and suspension sufficiently excellent to permit to be "thrown around without detriment to the car and with little discomfort to the occupants".[5]



  1. ^ a b Sedgwick, M.; Gillies.M (1986). A-Z of Cars 1945–1970. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-39-7. OCLC 29424733. 
  2. ^ BMC-Leyland Australia Heritage Group, Building Cars in Australia, 2012, page 38
  3. ^ a b c d e f Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. OCLC 1057411. 
  4. ^ a b "The Wolseley Four-Fifty". The Motor. December 27, 1950. 
  5. ^ a b c "Second Hand car guide supplement". Practical Motorist. 6 Nbr 68: between pages 768 & 769. April 1960. 
  6. ^ a b c "The Wolseley Six-Eighty". The Motor. February 28, 1950. 
  7. ^ Postwar Vintage Marques that enraptured the public.Old Motor R.1999
  8. ^ a b "Wolseley Six Eighty Saloon (road test)". Autocar. September 9, 1949. 

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