You could almost say that the Wolseley 1500 was the car that wasn’t meant to be. It was the last design penned by Gerald Palmer before he left to join Vauxhall in 1955. The final design work was completed by Dick Burzi and the car was intended to be the Morris 1200, the Morris Minor 1000 replacement. This idea was shelved when it became obvious that they could sell every Minor that they produced.
The Wolseley 1500 was produced at Longbridge with a detuned version of the ‘B’ Series engine and introduced at the London Motor Show in April 1957. An interesting point to note is that for the Republic of Ireland market, a total of 110 cars were produced with the 1.2 litre B-Series engine.
The Riley 1.5 also introduced in 1957 is a further developed version of the Wolseley 1500 sharing exactly the same superstructure.
The original Wolseley 1500 is easily identified from the later Mk II and Mk III by the presence of the exterior hinges on the bonnet and boot, also the ‘W’ on the front side wings is only present on the Mk I.
In April 1959 the tyre size was increased from 5.00 x 14 to 5.60 x 14, later a re-trimmed ‘Fleet’ model without wood trim around the windscreen and the leather upholstery replaced with ‘Vynide’.
The Wolseley Mk I changed little in the three years of production before it was supplanted by the Mk II version in May 1960.
|Model Designation||Wolseley 1500 Mk I|
|Body Type||4 Door Saloon|
|Engine Configuration||IL 4 OHV|
|Power||43 bhp @ 4,200 rpm|
|Torque||71 lb ft @ 2,600 rpm|
|Top Speed||78 mph (126 kph)|
|0-60 mph||24.4 seconds|
|Fuel consumption||35 mpg|
|Weight||2,060 lb (934 kg)|
|Length||12’ 7.75" (3.855 m)|
|Width||5’ 1" (1.549 m)|
|Height||4’ 11.75" (1.518 m)|
|Successor||Wolseley 1500 Mk II|