Iconic Wolseley a

force to be reckoned


Wolseley 6/80

WOLSELEY was one of the first marques off the blocks to create a whole new world of post Second World War car is the UK.

In 1948 the showrooms were graced by the six-cylinder powered Wolseley 6/80 and its four-cylinder counterpart, the 4/50.

They were based on the Morris Oxford and Morris Six and it was the 6/80 that offered new horizons of high-power driving in the UK.

The straight-six engine was of 2,215cc capacity with 772bhp on tap. It featured a round Morris rear end and upright Wolseley grille and very quickly was adopted by the police.

They can frequently be seen in black and white screen crime dramas which are being resurrected by nostalgia television stations. With 85mph on tap it was a force to be reckoned with.

Built at Morris's Cowley factory and its bold grille and spotlights gave it a very businesslike appearance and many fleeing criminals dreaded seeing that illuminated oval Wolseley badge getting larger in their rear-view mirrors.

It became 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 with their bumper-mounted bells.

To accommodate its larger six-cylinder engine, the 6/80 was 7in longer than the 4/50. It also had larger brakes with 10in drums.

There were still some pre-war features, such as a centre-hinged bonnet and split windscreen but the beauty of this car lay in its interior.

The occupants enjoyed leather seats, a polished wood dashboard and many touches that branded this car something special.

I drove one once and for its day was very responsive and you could see just why the police liked them.

The engine was interesting, having its roots in an aero engine called the Wolseley Viper V8 that started life in World War One aircraft including the SE5 fighter.

But as time marched on so did vehicle design and there was a new generation of high powered cars on the streets.

To keep up, the Wolseley company replaced the 6/80 with the 6/90, a more modern and powerful development which was also adopted for police use.


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