When the Wolseley 15/50 was launched in 1956, it was virtually indistinguishable from the previous 4/44 model, essentially the only difference being the fitting of the new B-Series engine and gearbox.
1953 had seen the appearance of the 1500cc B-Series engine, which we would see so much of in the coming years, fitted to the MG Magnette ZA. A slightly down rated version of this engine was to be fitted into the 4/44 body to create the Wolseley 15/50.
With its output of 55bhp, this was enough to increase the top speed to around 78mph with slightly improved acceleration. The gear change was relocated from the column to the floor and the car gained twin front spotlights as standard. With the exception of the relocated gearchange, the first 1300 of the 15/50s were visually indistinguishable from their predecessor, however, subtle differences were soon introduced.
These included, on the inside, ‘safety’ collapsible steering wheel and a soft dashboard crashpad, which necessitated the relocation of the front ashtray. While externally, an extended and restyled chrome waist trim were added along with a new model badge fitted to the boot which now included the script ‘Wolseley 15/50’ in place of separate numerals.
Other minor mechanical changes included updates to the rear-axle and braking system.
The car was also offered with the less than well received ‘Manumatic’ gearbox, which used a vacuum powered semi-automatic system necessitating manual gear change yet offering automatic clutch operation. This found few takers as perceived reliability issues made it unpopular and any survivors now are incredibly rare.
The Wolseley 15/50 remained in production until 1958 with 12,353 produced, when it was replaced by the Farina-styled 15/60 and BMC badge-engineering reached new heights.
|Model Designation||Wolseley 15/50|
|Body Type||4 Door Saloon|
|Engine Configuration||IL 4 OHV|
|Power||52 bhp @ 4,400 rpm|
|Torque||78 @ 2,400 rpm|
|Top Speed||78 mph (125 kph)|
|0-60 mph||24.3 seconds|
|Fuel consumption||29 mpg|
|Weight||2,490 lb (1,129 kg)|
|Length||14’5" (4.394 m)|
|Width||5’1" (1.55 m)|
|Height||5’0" (1.52 m)|