The Wolseley Motor Company wasn’t particularly fast of the starting gate when British car production resumed after World War II, sharing the problems of all manufacturers when it came to obtaining raw materials. When the first, postwar Wolseleys were finally rushed into production, two models were launched, at the Earls Court Motor Show, both based on Morris cars.
They were built alongside the Morris Oxford at the Morris Motor Company’s Cowley factory, Wolseley having been a Morris subsidiary since 1927. The smaller of the two new Wolseleys was the 4/50, whilst, the larger was the 6/80 (strictly speaking the Six Eighty) — these designations being a combination of the number 01′ cylinders and the horsepower of each.
The Wolseley 6/80 was well equipped and looked impressive. It had an unmistakably Morris-style minded rear end, but the front sported an upright Wolseley grille that was very different. But there was more than a radiator to differentiate the 6/80 from its Morris Six clone. The six-cylinder engine sported twin SU carburetors and there was a four-speed gearbox operated by a column change. The enhancements added up to lively performance and these sturdy 6/80s were used extensively as police cars, as anyone familiar with the numerous black-and-white British crime films made as supporting features in the postwar era will know.
As the Nuffield organization’s luxury model, the Wolseley 6/80 benefitted from enhancements like leather upholstery, a wooden dash and door cappings, carpeting throughout, rear courtesy lights, twin fog lights, built-in reversing lamp and a red warning light inside the boot lid. The Wolseley 6/80 was a great success story. Over 25,000 were made, with nearly a third going abroad (mostly to Australia) to earn vital export revenue for Britain. The Wolseley 6/90 replaced it in 1954.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1948 (until 1954)
2,215 cc Straight Six
Top speed of 85 mph (138 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 21.4 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Unfortunately, despite widespread use as a police car, the Wolseley 6/80 had an unfortunate habit of running hot and consuming its own exhaust valves after being driven hard, thus tending to spend too much time in the police MRD (Motor Repair Depot).