On his return to the Nuffield Group, one of Gerald Palmer’s first tasks was to design two saloons for the Wolseley range, these being the 4/44 and the 6/90.
These models were to use standard components from the newly formed BMC company parts bins. The Wolseley 4/44 was designed in 1952 for the 1953 model year. It shared its body shell and many of its components with the MG Magnette ZA. To distinguish between these two models, cosmetic changes were made to the interior and exterior of each model, and as a consequence interior panels and exterior trim are seldom interchangeable.
The 4/44 used a single carburettor version of the Morris XPAG engine found in earlier MG sports cars. The engine, now with the designation XPAW, was always earmarked for replacement, as development of the new 1500cc B-Series engine was well underway when the 4/44 was launched. However, the 1250cc, 46bhp XPAW engine was deemed adequate for this medium sized up-market car and left the more sporting pretensions to the soon to follow MG Magnette ZA. The inclusion of leather seats and walnut veneer dash within the Wolseley reinforced its up-market placement.
The 4/44 incorporated a column change, 4 speed gearbox. Rack and pinion steering ensured a light and nimble feel at the wheel, while independent front suspension, live axle on semi-elliptical springs and drum brakes all round were also part of the specification. With a top speed of a hair over 70mph reflecting these non-motorway times. Some 29,845 of this model were built, until its replacement in 1956 by the Wolseley 15/50.
The earliest 4/44 models featured only a parcel shelf on either side of the dashboard, rather than the enclosed gloveboxes found on most 4/44 and 15/50. Semaphores were still standard equipment, with indicators only incorporated via the brake-lights for the LHD export market.
Within the engine bay of the 4/44 the large oil bath type air filter can be easily seen.
|Model Designation||Wolseley 4/44|
|Body Type||4 Door Saloon|
|Engine Configuration||IL 4 OHV|
|Power||46 bhp @ 5,250 rpm|
|Torque||58 @ 2,400 rpm|
|Transmission||4 Speed column|
|Top Speed||73 mph (117 kph)|
|0-60 mph||29.9 seconds|
|Fuel consumption||28 mpg|
|Weight||2,465 lb (1,118 kg)|
|Length||14’5" (4.394 m)|
|Width||5’1" (1.55 m)|
|Height||5’0" (1.52 m)|