MY CLASSIC : WOLSELEY 15/50
This big beauty speaks eloquently of quiet grandeur. Open a door and it invites you to be wafted away in walnut and leather-clad luxury. It’s scarcely any wonder that this immaculate, low mileage Wolseley 15/50 was once a diplomatic car. It would have been bound to impress any visiting dignitary.
Produced between 1956 and 1958, the 15/50 came with a 1489cc, straight four B-Series engine with a single SU carburettor and a four-speed gearbox.
Doug and Jennifer are the current custodians of this pristine example of the Wolseley marque. Doug in particular is what one might call a serial classic car owner!
The slippery slope to classic addiction began when Doug and a friend started a car business in their spare time. Both were working full-time elsewhere, but their new enterprise grew rapidly. As such things tend to, it came to the point where they had to stop and take stock. There were only so many hours to each day and something had to give.
Selling out left Doug with more free time and an opportunity to treat himself to a Humber Vogue coupé, and Jennifer to a 1964 Morris Minor. All of the planned leisure time quickly evaporated again, however, with the Humber soon being greatly in demand as a wedding car. The wedding business was fun but hard work, so the Humber was replaced after a few years by a 1959 Morgan.
According to Doug, the Morgan was fun but a bit of acquired taste as, on longer trips, the firm ride meant that it could rapidly feel rather like sitting on a board being driven down the road!
Doug had always rather fancied an MGA, but had never found quite the one he really wanted. A couple of years after buying the Morgan, Doug found a potential MGA and the Morgan’s place in the garage became less secure. A trip to Sussex resulted not in another less-than-perfect MGA, but falling in love instead with an Austin-Healey 100/4.
The Austin-Healey was a beautiful car, but with a bad habit. Doug and Jennifer both loved the car but, no matter what was tried (including having the engine out a couple of times), it resolutely leaked oil wherever it went. After four years and ever-growing black marks wherever it paused, the Austin-Healey moved on to a new owner.
Jennifer, who is the resident car-finder and researcher, came across a gleaming, perfect example of an Austin A35. It couldn’t have been stylistically further from the Austin-Healey, but the A35 was quickly the new resident of Doug nd Jennifer's garage.
The previous owner had had the car from new, lavishing it with care and attention. All of that care was evident in the condition of the little car. It had also been fitted with a few tasteful upgrades, such as a Healey-Sprite engine, gearbox and back axle and, to quote Doug, “it went like stink”.
Not only was it as much fun to drive as the Austin-Healey, the A35 didn’t embarrass anyone by leaving a trail of black behind it.
The A35 was eventually replaced by an Irish Blue MG B that had been completely restored for continental touring by its previous owner, but had made only one trip to France.
The owner’s wife had decided that the heating system was insufficient and both had agreed that the wipers didn’t clear the windscreen effectively. The poor French weather proved to be a boon for Doug and Jennifer.
The weather probably was the MG's Achilles’ heel, in all fairness. It was a lot of fun to drive but a close eye had to be kept on the forecast as putting up the hood was not exactly the task of a moment, or even two.
The MG was sold after several years and replaced with the Wolseley. Every time they go to a show, someone approaches them wanting to buy it, but each time it goes home to its special place in the garage.
Careful research and attention to detail has meant that they have retained the initial investment made in the Humber all of those years ago. The two have a great partnership, and Doug insists that they couldn’t have done any of it without Jennifer’s skill in finding the cars that they’ve owned and enjoyed.
Doug commented to us that “someday we might have a change”, to which Jennifer swiftly replied “but we might not!”
Doug & Jennifer
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