When the Wolseley Hornet saloon was launched in April 1930 it created waves throughout the industry and more importantly, among the car-buying public. It was by far and away the cheapest entrée into six cylinder motoring available at that time and the model was a sales success from the outset. Just like the Morris Minor that preceded the Hornet by some 18 months, the car was launched without a two-seat open model or indeed an open four-seat type. This was something of a surprise as open types remained popular choices among buyers. The coachbuilding trade were quick to spot this opportunity and within a matter of weeks Hornet special models were being offered for sale by this embattled sector of the motor trade. What followed over the next four years was remarkable with well over a score of coachbuilding concerns offering a plethora of body types built upon the now commercially available Hornet chassis. The Hornet’s sporting successes throughout the early thirties fuelled demand for coachbuilt versions and helped keep the trade afloat at a time when many long-established concerns were falling by the wayside; this of course due to the economic effects of the ongoing slump in world trade. The galleries below provide an insight into the range of body shapes and types available to prospective customers between 1930 and 1934/5. (Special thanks to Dick Serjeantson of the Wolseley Hornet Specials Club who helped identify many of the cars featured here)
The majority of images displayed here originate from the LAT Images archive and appear here with their permission. Please note that LAT Images Ltd. reserve all rights to these images, which must not be reproduced elsewhere. All other images are from the PWMN archive.