It was only a little while after the launch of the original Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor in August 1959, that the popularity of these seminal cars spawned a number of variants, amongst which were the Wolseley Hornet and Riley Elf, which appeared in October 1961. These were more luxurious versions of the first Mini’s, featuring an elongated body, incorporating a ‘proper’ boot and mildly finned rear wings. They also had full size, chrome radiator grilles and other additional chrome embellishments. The mechanical specification of the cars was largely the same as the standard Minis, but the interiors received further up-market treatment with leather seating and wood veneer dashboards. The two models remained in production until 1969, by which time around 31,000 Riley Elfs and 28,000 Wolseley Hornets had been built.
The Wolseley Hornet offered here was first registered in May 1965 – making it a Series II vehicle, fitted with a 998 cc engine, rated at a claimed 38 bhp, which raised the car's top speed to a claimed 77 mph. Amazingly, this vehicle remained in the hands of its first owner for 30 years, and covered less than 10,000 miles in all that time. In the hands of subsequent owners (only 4 in all) the car still has just 10,600 miles clocked up – verified by MOT records up to 2021.
As can be seen from the attached images, it has been very well cared for throughout its life and received an unleaded head conversion and stainless exhaust system in the late 90’s.