Actually, I learned the other day but never mind.

This is a Wolseley 16/60, one of innumerable variations of BMC’s ADO 38 large-ish car of the 1960s. You could also have had a Morris Oxford, an Austin Cambridge, a Riley 4/68 or an MG Magnette. The Wolseley had an illuminated badge on the grille which was about its only identifying feature as compared to the rest of them.

Here’s the front view.

And the rear.

Advertisement

If you’re a French car fan, that rear should be familiar.

Advertisement

Yes, Pinin Farina did both the Peugeot 404 and the BMC models and having come up with a rear end for one Signor Farina saw no reason not to recycle it for the other.

I’ve been delving through the treasure trove of old road tests that I found and have come up with this one.

Advertisement

It’s of a 16/60 fitted with the exotic option of one of those new-fangled and essentially foreign items, an automatic box. The Wolseley was one of the first BMC cars to have the then new Borg Warner 35. So, let’s see how Autocar’s road testers of more than half a century ago found it.

They were much impressed, despite describing the box in what seem to be uncomplimentary terms. Gearchanges using kickdown needed a very heavy foot and were accompanied by “quite a fierce surge”. Once top gear had been engaged - and it usually engaged very early indeed, to avoid that fierce surge - it would be kept come what may unless you either dropped below 20 mph or floored that very heavy throttle and waited. And waited. And waited some more. This was seen, paradoxically, as a really desirable thing because the previous Borg Warner DG unit would hunt between second and third and so sitting in top and relying on the torque converter seemed preferable. Starting from cold seemed to take more effort because so much power was dissipated by stirring up cold fluid and driving with a cold engine gave the feeling, familiar to many, of a lot of power going into the gearbox and not a lot coming out. “Overall”, they said “this new automatic transmission can be assessed as very successful”.

Advertisement

Oh, and the car came with a starting handle as standard and you had to grease 13 points every 1,000 miles. Different times.