I may be able to help Mr. Hanan and his leaking Riley 1.5, having had two Wolseley 1500s which leaked in the same way. The second is only three weeks old and still leaking, but I have now some experience of this marque and hope it will not take two years this time to get it put right. Both cars were undersealed, by the way.
Leaks on to the wheel arches in the boot are probably due to defective welding at the base of the roof gutters. On my first Wolseley one could see daylight here at both sides from inside the boot; on the second, only on one side. Probably a high proportion of Wolseleys and Rileys are sent out defective in this way.
Wet front carpets (near side on the first car, off side on the second) were more difficult to understand. As Mr. Hanan says : from where ? There was no obvious drip, once the bonnet hinge had been sealed. The answer in my case was a leaking front-door hinge. Water runs down the inside of the door pillar and when it has filled the chassis section at the bottom it spills over the sill onto the front carpet; if the rain goes on long enough it runs down the slope of the floor to the rear. It is difficult to detect because unless the flow is exceptionally heavy it soaks its way through the carpet covering the sill rather than pouring over visibly. In return for this information perhaps when Mr. Hanan’s engine has been stripped down he will enlighten me about the hollow knock. My second car seems to suffer from this, especially when cold, and I am unconvinced by the Agent’s assertion that it is ” only tappets.”
Several more of Mr. Hanan’s complaints applied to my Wolseleys. He may take comfort from the bet that the rattle at the nearside end of the back seat, though untraceable, faded out after about a year. The chrome strip on the second car which has replaced the stainless strip on the first lacks several inches of chromium; the hub-caps on the first were rusty at the end of a week. Both carburetter and petrol pump were defective on number one and—most serious—the steering arm was loose. The door locks are an abortion. I had no trouble with 3rd gear but on the present car the change from top to 2nd can only be made at very low speed; the synchromesh on 2nd will have to be replaced.
The system of inspection that passed my Wolseleys as fit for the road is a disgrace to the industry. But I must record that the long-suffering Agents attended promptly to the above and many other defects, without charge for labour or materials during the first year; and they continued to work for nothing on defects which had been notified but not cured during the guarantee period.
I tried several other cars, including Fords and a Hillman, before buying a second Wolseley. Other things being equal one likes a change. But I believe that from the point of view of performance and driver-control the Wolseley 1500 is better than anything else at the price. It is not quite so good from the passenger aspect owing to difficult access and lack of leg room in the rear seat. On the Continent its high cruising speed and its pass-climbing ability in 2nd gear are particularly useful.
I am, Yours, etc.
Sheffield. G. M. HOLMES.