Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
The 6 cylinder Wolseley 24/80 sedan and station wagon (also sold under the Austin name) was based on the British four-cylinder Wolseley 15/60 model, and was released in April 1962
. These cars were developed by BMC Australia to counter the growing popularity of the new 6 cylinder rivals from the US, namely the GM Holden
and Ford Falcon
The car was in most respects identical to the contemporary Austin Freeway
, but employed different frontal treatment in order to maximise the perceived differences between the cars and therefore, it was hoped, attract additional buyers away from the competition. This reflected BMC's enthusiasm for badge engineering in the 1950s and 1960s.
BMC had determined that Australia deserved (in fact needed) a larger displacement engine. While their cars were near identical to those sold in the UK, the Australian cars had the B Series 1622cc engine fitted 2 years prior to their UK cousins, who had to make do with the 1489cc motor.
Rather than design an entirely new 6 cylinder motor, BMC simply added an extra two cylinders on the existing 1622cc engine - bringing the capacity to 2433cc and developing 80 bhp. The engine, dubbed the "Blue Streak", was then coupled to an adaptation of the Metropolitan 3 speed gearbox, with synchromesh on the upper two ratios and a steering column gearchange.
The radiator, which in the four-cylinder cars was mounted behind the bonnet-locking bar was now placed in front of the bonnet-locking bar, immediately behind the grille. Released in April 1962
, the 24/80 was externally identical to the 15/60 except for the wheelbase, which was an inch longer. The interior was the same as that used in the 15/60. Originally it was available only with manual transmission but later a Borg Warner 35 3-speed automatic transmission was offered as an option.
Changes to the radiator
and bonnet were required to fit the larger engine in, as were improvements to the suspension
. BMC continued its tradition of creating vehicles from the parts bin of others, using rear fins taken from the Riley
, and an interior taken from the Morris Oxford
The radiator, which in the four cylinder cars was mounted behind the bonnet-locking bar, was now placed in front of the bonnet-locking bar, immediately behind the grille. These few changes aside, picking a 24/80 over the previous 15/60 would be quite difficult for the casual observer. The 24/80 remained externally identical to the 15/60 (except for the wheelbase, which was an inch longer), and the interior also remained virtually identical. Originally it was available only with the manual transmission
, but later a Borg Warner 35 3-speed automatic transmission
was offered as an option.
The Mark II Wolseley 24/80
The Mark II was released in October 1964
, and was identical in styling to the 16/60. The power was increased to 84 bhp, and the interior trim was now finished in a less up-market but still soft “expanded vinyl” rather than the leather used in the earlier cars. The Mark II was short lived however, the Austin 1800
replacing the Wolseley in BMC's Australian model line up from October 1965
. Unfortunately the Mark II 24/80 was the last Wolseley to be sold new in Australia.