RESERVE LOWERED - 1951 Wolseley 6/80

Photos provided by the seller


• Wolseley flagship build quality
• Coachwork presents free from corrosion
• Drivability in modern traffic
• Straight Six OHC engine

The Background

The 'six eighty' was the Flagship for discerning buyers who wanted British trad style, but with cutting edge engineering. (Just what many enthusiasts build today.) It features a huge prewar chrome grille, centre hinged bonnet, split screen, oval rear window, and sweeping elegant styling with a nod to running boards.

Plus from the cockpit in comfy leather seats surrounded by polished wood the pilot's aim was aided by a long high bonnet to the flying W symbol.– all by then out of date features which surprisingly concealed a modern monocoque chassis,  torsion bar suspension with twin telescopic shocks, fingertip column gears & powered by a feat of engineering in the shaft driven overhead camshaft 2.2litre big 6.

Wolseley had needed to produce a new postwar engine, so turned to their own past experience and adapted tooling from the Wolseley Viper V8 aero engine that started life in WW1 aircraft, famously the Bristol SE5a, to which there is a clear similarity, the vintage look extending to the engine.

The formula was a great success for Lord Nuffield's corporation,(well before BMC days) and was the longest ever running favourite of Police forces well into the 1960s.  Even today they are recognised as the iconic period British police car.

These 6 cylinder cars are not to be confused with the similar but shorter bodied 4 cylinder 4/50, and the BMC 4/44,15/50, 15/60 that would struggle to keep up with modern traffic, but which the 6/80 takes in its stride with an appealing growl.

From Oct 1948 to Oct 1954  25,281 were built, and most exported, but today an original unmolested car is a very rare find anywhere in the world. Some sources estimate well under 100 well preserved cars exist. That said, a sound one is only going to improve in value and perceived worth.

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The History

First on the road in December 1951 in Wales, then Scotland and Newcastle with its 2nd owner of appx 30 years, who had a factory recon engine fitted in the 1980s.

Since then it's only done club rally mileage apart from a trip to the South of France in the last decade. After that it was taken on to use for a film in 2018, and then went back into storage.

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The Paperwork

A wad of past MOTs date back to 1961 verifying the circa 90k mileage, though of course the engine has only done approximately a third of that.

As well as the DVLA supplied registration, 2 original buff and green logbook documents and many early receipts survive with the car, and a period Wolseley service manual.

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The Interior

Finished in green leather, the hide being typically patinated and worn looking, with cracks and splits that some accept as part of the period look and originality. Seats are comfy & even rear seat centre armrest is fine. The entire headliner and sun visors are superb. Wood finishers door cappings are in fine fettle as is the dash with just the lacquer foggy on the far left edge.

The original carpets survive, with the expected more severe wear in the drivers footwell.  The cream dial faces are all very good and the dash sports two useful glove boxes and a full width parcel shelf. Switches work fine including the semaphore in the centre of the wheel and the horn ring.

Door trims are all fine, just the finisher at the bottom of the drivers door needs recovering with vinyl. The boot is tidy and underfloor is a spare wheel, starting handle, and jack etc.

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The Exterior

From 2010 the owner found and fitted a new front RH wing, welded  all new sections into the LH front wing, after that a full repaint which has recently been refreshed with the linen gold over the original subtle metallic green.

There are blended paint repairs more noticeable under intense light which we tried to highlight in photos where shades of green slightly differ, that don't detract from the overall look, but a new owner may wish to rectify. Paint codes were recorded in the car log.

There's no accident damage or scrapes, no rust blisters to mar the lines, and is even tidy under the doors.It has been consistently dry barn stored and the underfloor has been kept oiled and protected. The paintwork is entirely free from rust scars, and the whole impression is way above expectations for a car of its age.

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The Mechanics

The necessary service items have been replaced recently, and the car starts easily, drives smooth with no improper mechanical noises. Original working features include the electric choke on twin SU carburettors,  steering wheel operated semaphore trafficators, automatic reversing lamp, 4 quarter lights, etc.

For safety flashing indicators are fitted in a discreet under bumper location so as not to spoil the originality.  The illuminating pop out trafficators can work alongside these or independently. Jobs needed are the handbrake cable on one side, and the heater hookup which was disconnected for the french summer trip. 

A number of useful spares are included, some of which are in the photos, including that cable and heater air hose. Flashers, semaphores, brake lights, sidelights, headlights & wipers, and reverse lamp all just tested fine in the dark.

A new radiator & clutch came in 2006 but after that the car has had little use apart from the French trip. All main service items can be obtained, and the Wolseley owners clubs provide good backup and sociable contact.
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The Appeal

This is a great chance to drive away in a solid example post-war Wolseley that would benefit from a last remaining bit of TLC it required to make it an absolute stellar 6/80. Not only would you be buying into a slice of British post-war history, but you would be be buying into a community of enthusiasts to guide you in your post vintage venture.

Be warned, there's only one problem, expect your trips to the petrol station to be prolonged. You will be stopped by passers by, don't take our word for it, the current owner will tell you all about it! 

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1951
  • Make Wolseley
  • Model 6/80
  • Colour Green
  • Odometer 91,050 Miles
  • Engine size 2215
  • Town Andover
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
36 bids
  • ch•••• £8,350 16/01/22
  • cl•••• £8,250 16/01/22
  • ch•••• £8,150 16/01/22
  • cl•••• £8,050 16/01/22
  • ch•••• £7,950 16/01/22
  • cl•••• £7,850 16/01/22
  • ch•••• £7,750 16/01/22
  • cl•••• £7,650 16/01/22
  • ch•••• £7,550 16/01/22
  • cl•••• £7,450 16/01/22

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