header image
Homepage. This page: A 1934 Hornet Special competing in a 1950s hillclimb at Bo'ness in Scotland, plus other examples.
Original transport photographs
Old Classic Car Image Archive index >

1. A 1934 Wolseley Hornet Special at a hillclimb meeting.

Gordon Paton dropped me a note, with the first Hornet information featured here - specifically Gordon was seeking details about the venue shown in the photo below. He asked:
"I have this old picture of my father competing in a hill climb some time during the 50's. I've managed to identify the car as a 1934 Wolseley Hornet Special, but I would love to know where the hill climb was. It was probably somewhere in Scotland, but I've no idea where. Is there a list of historical hill climb venues? Also I would love to know what type of car is in the background on the right. Have you any ideas?"
The car on the right looks familiar, but I can't place it, so I'm hoping someone will call by this page and recognise the low-slung competition car. And perhaps does someone recognise the hillclimb venue? if it is in Scotland, then the best known hillclimbs held during the 1950s were at Bo'ness (in the grounds of the Kinneil Estate), and Rest and Be Thankful (organised by the Royal Scottish Automobile Club, between Arrochar and Cairndow on the A83 public road). All information welcome! There is a photo of Dennis Poore in his Alfa Romeo competing at Bo'ness in the early 1950s here. [Update Tom has had a look at the photo, and confirmed this is indeed the Bo'ness hillclimb, thanks Tom!]
Firstly, a general view, showing Gordon's father at the line in his smart Wolseley Hornet Special, then a closer in view of that car, and finally a closer look at the unidentified car to the right of shot. Does anyone know what became of this Wolseley sports car, registration AOG 996? Note the headlamps pointing rearwards, to prevent any errant stones or low-flying sparrows piercing the lenses.
Wolseley at the start of the hillclimb course
Wolseley Hornet Special
Another competing car at the hillclimb
The six cylinder Wolseley Hornet saloon was introduced in 1930, with a Special chassis being offered in 1932 onto which individual coachbuilders would fit their own design of body. For 1934 a revised chassis was put on sale, with improvements to both engine and transmission being incorporated. It was at this time that the radiator design on Gordon's father's car was introduced, featuring an elongated chrome 'U' on the grille, with a badge set within. In 1935, the final year for the Hornet Special, the radiator design would change again, back to a single centre strip, thus dating the car in the photos as a 1934 example of the sporting Wolseley.

2. Another Wolseley Hornet, this time in Cairo.

Vic kindly sent this photo over, some time after this page first went live. He believes it also shows a Wolseley Hornet, registered and living prior to the war in Cairo of all places. Does anyone recognise this car, or the coachwork it sported?
Another Wolseley sports car

3. A March-bodied Wolseley Hornet.

Third for this page of Wolseley Hornet Specials, this March-bodied example of the 30s' Hornet. Freddie March is perhaps best known now for the Goodwood motor racing circuit (used from 1948 to 1966, and in later Revivals) but in the 1930s was a keen stylist, as well as a racing driver. Thanks to various members of the VSCC forum for identifying this one.
A Wolseley Hornet Special with coachwork by Freddie March

4. Another sporting pre-war Wolseley.

This is the second of two Wolseley photos that Geoff emailed over. This shot shows his father in what is believed to be a Wolseley Hornet, a car that was eventually traded in against a Wolseley 12hp Coupe, a photo of which Geoff also turned up. Thanks Geoff!
Another pre-war Wolseley Hornet Special

5. A 1932 Wolseley.

Identified as a Wolseley Hornet Special again by a VSCC-er, this shot dates to 1936 and was - apparently - "taken by Graham from the loft". The car's registration is GY 3110, a London series from July/August 1932. Given that the car was only four years old at the time of this photograph, it looks quite knocked about. The seats look tatty, the body filthy, and the rear wings bear a number of battle scars. No wonder the lady on the right is holding her head in horror, quite possibly at the recent arrival of the well-worn two-seat Wolseley. I've had similar reactions when turning up with neglected old jalopies.
(Please click the thumbnails to view the full-size Wolseley images.)
1932 Hornet Special car

6. Four-up in a pre-war Wolseley.

If this chap bought his Wolseley in order to catch the eye of the ladies, then his plan would appear to have worked. Joining the chirpy chap are three young ladies, all beaming away and no doubt thrilled at the prospect of a ride in his raffish Hornet Special. Tally ho! and hold on to your berets ladies!
Passengers sat in a Hornet Special

7. A brace of Hornet Special Coupes.

James sent over the following two images, his father owned both of the Wolseley Hornet Special Coupes shown below, and he appears in one of the photos. I was especially grateful to James for sending these over, as thus far only open-top examples had featured on this page. The first image is a (near) side-on view of a coupe, registration US 3540 which first saw road use in the Glasgow area. The smart lines of this variant are clear to see. Note the twin horns that this car has been fitted with, and the two small Union Jack flags fluttering cheerily from the top of the screen - Coronation time?
Wolseley Hornet Special Coupe
The second of James' photos shows his father stood with a different Coupe, AXL 332, in wartime guise with a blackout mask fitted to its nearside headlamp. This car was first registered in London, during 1934. Neither of these coupe versions shows up on a check of the DVLA website, so presumably neither survived into the 21st Century. Thanks for sending the photos over James, great to see your father's two very stylish Wolseleys.
1934 Wolseley Hornet Special Coupe
Return to Old Vehicle Photos Page 7. Links to other pages with a motor-racing theme to them at oldclassiccar, can be found here. If you landed on this page expecting to find photographs of BMC's Mini-based Wolseley Hornet of the 1960s, please head over to this page instead.
Custom Search
Old Classic Car (C) R. Jones 2020. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.
Website by ableweb.
Privacy Policy, Cookies & Disclaimers