Some Wolseley "Hornet" Specials



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Some Wolseley ” Hornet ” Specials


WHEN the now ubiquitous Wolseley “Hornet” was introduced to the public, it was a sober touring vehicle with a closed body, and it seems that little thought of a sports performance entered the minds of its makers. However, performance tells, whatever the guise of the vehicle, and it soon becarn.e evident that the new model had a very remarkable turn of speed, and especially good acceleration.

It is, in fact, yet another proof that the lessons learnt in racing apply themselves to ordinary motoring, and the very specification of the ” Hornet ” savours of speed.

The six-cylinder overhead camshaft engine has a bore and stroke of 57 mm. by 83 mm., giving a total capacity of 1261 c.c. The camshaft is driven by bevel gears, and the crankshaft supported in four bearings. The gearbox has three forward ratios, and is operated by a central lever.

Hydraulic brakes on the Lockheed principle operate on all wheels. The engine, although roughly classed as a “small six,” is by no

means small for the very compact and light chassis in which it is installed, and it only needs a short run in one of these cars to see that the old secret of a high power-toweight ratio has scored another success, and that here, in spite of its purpose and calling, was an embryo sports car.

Various firms have taken advantage of the latent possibilities of this chassis from the sporting motorist’s standpoint, and the result has been a most attractive range of special sports Wolseley ” Hornets”.

These have been produced to fulfil a variety of requirements in the way of accommodation and appearance.

Eustace Watkins, Ltd., of 12, Berkeley Street, W.1, who are the London distributors for Wolseley cars, produce a useful range of models to satisfy both the open car enthusiast and also the man who wants a closed model with sporting lines. Probably the most popular of these is the E. W. International Sports type, ” Hornet ” de luxe, which is fitted with a very luxurious and useful body with ample luggage space in the rear seats, which are also perfectly comfortable when used for the comparat;vely unusual purpose—for a sports car—of carrying extra passengers. This model, with Magna wheels and oversize tyres, sells for £245, while the closed car man is catered for by the E.W. Occasional 4-seater Sports Coupe, which sells at £225. The model produced by Patrick Motors Ltd., of 479-481, Bristol Road, Boumbrook, Birmingham, is another example of the short fourseater, constructed on an ash frame. The panelling is in 18 gauge alurninhun, and the shell is complete without mouldings. Special doors, giving ample room, are hung on strong chromium plated hinges. The front seats are of the separate bucket type, and real hide is used for all

upholstery. The rear seat is unusually roomy, and two extra passengers can be carried in comfort on long runs when required.

A smart fourstick hood is provided and a tonneau cover is also included. The spare wheel is carried on a bracket at the rear of the body. Ample tool accommodation and accessibility of batteries and other chassis features are good points which show that details have been carefully studied. Other points are the aprons over the front dumb irons, special exhaust system and Bluemel spring-spoke steering wheel.

This firm also make a speciality of tuning and overhaul jobs for competition enthusiasts, and have a very well equipped workshop to attend to the mechanical as well as the bodywork department. The price is 2225.

The Swallow Coach-building Co., of Poleshill, Coventry, have long been noted for the elegance of their productions, and their version of the Wolseley Hornet is one of the prettiest models they have produced.

It is a very neat streamlined 2seater with a disappearing whipcord hood, which is easily erected and gives full protection. Although the lines of the body might appear to give little room for luggage, there is actually a very capacious locker in the tail which will easily take a large suitcase. Equipment includes a radiator stone guard and bumpers. The price is £220. The Arrow coachwork, manufactured by A. P. Compton & Co., Ltd., Boston Road, Hanwell, London,

W.7, is already well known among sports car drivers on various makes, and they have supplied many international racing bodies for the big events of recent seasons. Their Wolseley Hornet range consists of a four-seater sports and a very pretty sports coupe.

The four-seater is a development of Mr. Compton’s design of some seven years ago, when he introduced one of the forerunners of this now very popular type. Being used to supplying racing bodies, this firm is well aware of the strength required in sports car body, and the latest design embodies the result of their great experience.

Adjustable bucket seats with a 9″ travel are fitted with pneumatic cushions, and the equipment includes competition type folding windscreen, lengthened steering column with Bluemel spring spoked steering wheel, leather upholstery, etc.

The price is £210. The coupe has very nice lines, and ample locker accommodation for luggage, also a 3ft. wide tray above

the squab which is very useful for smaller articles. It costs £225.

An attractive range of models is produced by the Hoyal Body Corporation, whose bodies have achieved great popularity on many other makes. There is a very neat semistreamlined 2-seater, the chief characteristic of which is the generous width of body which will accommodate 3 people in the front seat if required. An unusual feature for a 2-seater of this type is the fact that the seat is adjustable both as to position and also to the angle of the back. A very roomy locker is fitted in the boot, which can if necessary be supplied as a dickey seat. This model sells at £195.

Another model is a sports 4-seater with folding screen, adjustable seats, etc., which has good leg room in the rear seats and sound all-weather equipment. A 4-door saloon is also included in the range at £245 with Pytchley sliding roof, the open 4seater being 2215.

The special model Hornet produced by M. A. McEvoy, of Leaper St.,. Derby, is a more completely special affair than the majority of such productions, as in this case the chassis is definitely modified to give a performance suitable for the more hotly contested competitions, as the engine is hotted up to approach racing performance.

The chassis are dealt with in the way any enthusiast would employ in preparing for a race, and are taken down and reassembled with the greatest care to ensure perfect mechanical freedom. The engine has a raised corn

pression and special valve rockers and other details.

A special exhaust and inlet manifold is employed enabling the use of a down-draught Amal carburettor. Twin exhaust pipes are taken from the manifold.

The result is a very definite increase in power and speed, and on a short run we had recently on one of these cars, 6,000 r.p.m. was easily reached in second gear, giving a speed of over 50 m.p.h. The maximum on top is a genuine 75 m.p.h. on the level, and more under favourable circumstances.

A special clutch spring is fitted to cope with the increased power, and remove possibility of slip under arduous driving conditions. A seven gallon scuttle tank is fitted, and the feed is positively arranged by means of an electrically operated Petrolift pump. The body is a strongly built and neat 2-seater, with the spare

wheel mounted in the tail. Other details include a disappearing hood and an outside handbrake.

The price of this model is 2240.

A very attractive model of the popular short four-seater type is that produced by the well known firm of Abbey Coachworks Ltd. This has very attractive lines, and various interesting features of construction. The body is built on a strong but very light ash frame, and the panelling consists of a single welded aluminium shell, finished in any colour cellulose to choice. The result is a very rigid body which remains unaffected by rough usage. Pneumatic upholstery covered in hide and very wide doors make for comfort and convenience

The steering is raked more than standard, the column is lengthened, and a spring wheel is fitted.

The windscreen is the racing type and folds flat on the scuttle when required. A neat hood and efficient side curtains look after the occupants in wet weather.

In the normal model the tools are carried in a felt lined dummy petrol tank, but if required, a rear 12-gallon petrol tank, with autopulse feed and pipe lines, and an extra large filler cap, can be fitted for an extra charge of £15.

The maker’s address is High Path, 7vIorden Road, Merton, S.W.19. In addition to the special bodies available on the Hornet chassis, there is a demand for special fittings to improve the actual performance of the engine, especially if trials or racing are being considered. This demand is very fully understood and filled by that active enthusiast, V. W. Derrington, who has a good range of special parts. One of the most successful of these is a special twin carburettor set and manifold with balanced induction pipe. The

whole layout is carefully designed for maximum power, and carries a high internal polish. The unit includes two 26 ram. SAIA carburettors, manifold, flexible throttle connections, double petrol piping and unions, also set of engine studs and nuts, and costs £12 10s. Other useful fittings are a 9-gallon

rear petrol tank with quickfiller and S.U. Petrolift pump, which is an indispensable fitting for the long distance driver. Special exhaust systems, Brooklands regulation silencers, and double valve spring sets are also supplied by this firm, whose address is 159, London Road, Kingston-on-Thames.

The German Grand Prix

Another Mercedes Victory-Riley Success in 1,100 c.c. Class.

ON Sunday, Julyjl9th, Rudolf Caracciola proved once again his wonderful driving ability under difficult conditions, when he brought his big Mercedes into first place on the hilly and tortuous circuit of the Nurburg Ring, at an average speed of 67.29 m.p.h.

A British victory was recorded in the 1,100 c.c. class, when Dudley Froy scored a win in his Riley over a strong team of Amilcars. The results were as follows :

R. Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz), 4h. 38m. 10s. 69.29 m.p.h.

L. Chiron k Bugatti), 4h. 39m 28s. 66.92 m.p.h.

A. Varzi (Bugatti), 4h. 42m. 10s. 66.24 m.p.h.

T. Nuvolari (Alfa-Romeo), 4h. 43m. 16s. 0. Merz (Mercedes-Benz), 4h. 43m. 50s. Von Stuck (Mercedes-Benz), 4h. 47m. 345.

R. Bouriat (Bugatti), 4h. 50m. 4s. Wimille (Bugatti), 4h. 52m. 8s.

Spaudel (Mercedes-Benz), 4h. 54m. 45s. Sir Henry Birkin (Maserati), 5h. lm. 13s. Earl Howe (Bugatti), 5h. 8m. 19s.


Dudley Froy (Riley), 4h. 23m. 56s. 58.03 m.p.h.

Count Arco (Amilcar), 4h. 32m. 18s. 56.23 m.p.h.

Scaron (Amilcar), 4h. 34m. 52s. 55.73 m.p.h.

Rouleau (Andlcar), 5h. 7m. 22s.

Samuelson (M.G. Midget), 5h. 9m. 52s.

G. Macher (D.K.W.), 5h. 13m. 50s.

Theissen (D.K.W.), 5h. 25m. 18s.

There were eight retirements in the big class, including Schafer, on an Indianapolis type of car, the Schafer special, which was quite unsuited to the course but put up a plucky show while in action.

The small class showed seven retirements, which included two D.K.W.’s, two Amilcars, two Salmsons, and an M.G. driven by Urban Emmrich. The course of the Nurburg-Ring, although artificial in the sense of having been specially built for road racing, has some of the fist natural scenery in the world as its setting. The thickly-wooded slopes of the mountains have given an opportunity for the construction of a road

racing course which seems almost to surpass in difficulty the famous Targa Florio circuit in Sicily. It is 14i miles round, and contains every variety of corner and gradient, but practically no straight anywhere.

Small wonder that the event attracted a large crowd, and in spite of the financial crisis, 100,000 people paid the equivalent of over £16,000 to watch the race. And yet there are still people in this country who say that the general public are not interested in road-racing !

Thirty-three cars faced the starter, of which 19 were over 1,100 c.c. and the rest below that limit. The full 17 mile circuit was not being used, the short loop being omitted, and the length being thereby reduced to 141 miles.

At the fall of the flag Fagioli on a Maserati shot ahead, closely followed by Caracciola and Sir Henry Birkin, and the cars screamed off through the blinding rain. The famous German driver soon began to show that he is indeed a wizard on wet roads, and he was soon in the lead.

Concurrently the battle of the 1,100’s was being waged in earnest, and at the end of the first lap the Mercedes and Scaron (Amilcar) were leading their respective classes. Fagioli and Von Morgen on a Bugatti were hot on the leaders’ heels, but Carracciola was obviously not going to be caught, barring accidents.

On the third lap each leader had a minute in hand over his nearest rival, while a terrific scrap ensued between Chiron, Nuvolari and Fagioli. Earl Howe and Birkin, in spite of the appalling conditions, and the fact that the very difficult circuit was comparatively strange to them, were driving magnificently, although unable to hold the official Bugs and Maseratis.

Then Chiron and Varzi started to put on speed, though the light Bugattis were handicapped on the slippery roads against the heavier Merced .s and its wonderful driver. Lehoux lost five valuable minutes changing plugs, while Williams and Bourgaller retired early in the race. At about half distance Caracciola was leading Chiron by the narrow margin of

lin.. 50s, with Nuvolari only 10 secs. behind the second man. Then followed Varzi (Bugatti), Otto Merz and Von Stuck on Mercs, and Fagioli, Von Morgen (Bugatti), Winiille (Bugatti), Birkin, Lehoux, Bouriat, and Dreyfus in that order.

In the 1,100 c.c. class Seaton was leading Froy on the Riley by 3 minutes, with Count Arco 4 minutes behind.

Caracciola came in to fill up at half distance and changed the rear tyres at the same time, the whole being accomplished in 1 minute 20 seconds, and was the fastest of any.

When four-fifths of the race was run, the rain ceased, at this point the German driver’s lead being 1 minute 45 seconds from Chiron, With Varzi 2 minutes behind Chiron, and Nuvolari in fourth place. Chiron was driving all he knew, and the soaking crowd were thrilled by his great effort to catch the Merced ‘s. On his nineteenth lap he caught up 15 seconds but Caracciola got a pit signal to increase speed, and the next lap saw both cars go round in 12 minutes 15 seconds. The feeble sun was hardly enough to dry the road, but the better visibility enabled all the drivers to put on a spurt. On entering his last lap, Caracciola, who had lapped in 12 minutes, 7 seconds, had a lead of 1 minute 30 seconds on Chiron who replied with a lap in 12 minutes 4 seconds:

Varzi then gave a taste of his true form and broke the lap record in 11 minutes 44 seconds, a truly astounding performance for such a circuit.

Dudley Frog’s Riley which won the 1,100 c.c. class.