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Homepage. This page: Side view & road test snippets for the rare Wolseley 10hp two-door DHC, built in 1939 only.

Wolseley Ten DHC.

The Wolseley "New" Ten saloon made its debut early in 1939, followed a few months later by the car shown here, the Wolseley Ten Drophead Coupe, or DHC. The 10hp Wolseley range was based on the contemporary Morris 10 Series M, although while the Morris employed monocoque construction, the Wolseley bore a separate chassis and coachwork. Production of the new two-door coupe would last but a short time only - with the outbreak of war car production wound down, and only the saloon version would re-enter manufacture once hostilities had ceased, in 1945. That makes the car shown below (new price 270 GBP) quite a rare machine, even for its day. The engine lurking beneath the centrally-hinged bonnet was a four-cylinder 1140cc unit, producing 40bhp. The car shown here is a factory-built model, however coachbuilder Eustace Watkins also produced their own interpretation of the DHC for this chassis.
No details of this example are known. Evidently it had covered a reasonable mileage by the time of this snapshot. The bodywork is covered in road grime, mostly picked up while in motion as the areas immediately behind the exposed door hinges, protected from the airflow by the hinges, are noticeably less grubby. As was common in the 1930s, the doors are both wide and rear-hinged, enabling easy access to the rear seat area. Visibility with the hood raised can't have been brilliant. A tiny rearview mirror is fitted to the offside front wing, yet despite this the rear wing displays evidence of a misjudged rearward manoeuvre. Perhaps it belonged to the chap stood in the distance, behind the hedge, or was he just the gardener to what looks like a very grand country retreat?
Click to view:
Side view of the Wolseley 10 car

Practical Motorist roadtest of the Wolseley coupe.

The June 24th 1939 issue of Practical Motorist features a re-touched photograph of a brand new drophead coupe on its cover, while pages 342 and 343 describe the road tester's thoughts on this compact and well-furnished coupe. A brochure shot of the saloon is shown for comparison.
Road test in Practical Motorist magazine, 1939
The following are just snippets taken from the magazine's brief examination of the car (reg. EOV 315).
"The design of the car is actually based on that of the Wolseley "Super Six" drop-head coupe, and the general lines of the new car follow closely those of its larger 'brother'."
"The style and finish are beyond reproach, and it does not need very close examination to appreciate that the value offered is in keeping with the price of 270 GBP, which includes 'Jackall' hydraulic jacks. It is a car for the connoisseur who requires something 'different' and distinctive, and for those who want the best obtainable in a small car that is equally satisfactory as a cosy saloon or open tourer."
"All seats are unusually comfortable, due to the use of Dunlopillo material and Hairlok, carried on supple coil springs ... Comfort and appearance are enhanced by the use of fine-quality pigskin upholstery. Other features which help to give the appearance of quality are the polished walnut door cappings and facia panel, large chromium-plated headlamps, an ash-tray for every occupant of the car, well-shaped arm rests for the rear seat, twin screen wipers, and sturdily built bodywork."
"The flexibility of the engine is shown by the fact that it was possible to obtain smooth acceleration from about 10mph in top gear right up to the maximum of 71mph."
"A point which is worthy of stress is that the car always felt steady and safe, no matter what the speed or driving conditions. This is brought about in part by the sturdy cruciform chassis, as well as by the excellent behaviour of the 'phased' suspension system and the very pleasing Lockheed hydraulic brakes."
Clearly the testers were impressed with this new two-seater. By all accounts, few were built and so far I've yet to find information on any factory-built drophead coupes like this in preservation today. Saloons yes, and one or two tourers, but not one of these. Do any survive?
Return to Page 18 in the photographic archive, or visit the main index here.
Many Wolseleys of different eras can be found across the site. These include a similar shot of a slightly earlier, 1936, 12hp Wolseley Coupe, and a front three-quarter view of a Ten saloon.

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