Mecum Auctions had something up for sale at their Chicago event that would surprise even the biggest Anglophile: a 1967 Wolseley Six Limousine. While British car enthusiasts in America usually concentrate on sports cars and ultra-lux sedans, the oddness of this stretch conversion certainly makes it one of a kind.
What’s a Wolseley?
Australia-based Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company got into the car business in the early 1900s, producing about 100 vehicles in England before selling the business to Vickers. The brand traded hands again in the 1930s, going to Morris Motors who, through several other similar buy-outs and mergers, became BMC.
What’s a Wolseley Six?
By the 1960s, BMC’s offerings were badge-engineered affairs. In the case of the Six, Wolseley was sharing components and assembly lines with offerings from Austin and Morris. It did get its own unique styling which, combined with the car’s wide stance, earned it the nickname “landcrab.” Sir Alec Issigonis, the genius behind the Mini, applied the same front-wheel drive design to fit a straight six into the short engine bay and allow for a fully independent suspension. The result was a “2-litre” class car that had almost as much room as the “3-litre” cars offered by BMC. Sir Alec would later claim the Six was his favorite car to design.
Unfortunately, that clever engineering meant the Six was more expensive than competitors in its class. Adding a little wood trim and an automatic transmission wasn’t enough to make it stand out against Ford’s wildly successful Cortina, and sales faltered.
Although a failure among the general public, the car’s power, handling and space made it so popular with police that it became synonymous with the law in much the same way that the Crown Vic is seen in the states.
How Did a Police Car Become a Limo?
Why someone went to the trouble of converting an odd-ball middle market car into a limo is a mystery, but there are a few things known about the car’s provenance. It was converted by British coach-builder Woodall and Nicholson and used as a private car in the U.K. for several years before being shipped to the U.S. It’s legal to drive on American roads and was recently restored, albeit with modern upholstery and a new stereo.
Not long after it failed to sell at Mecum, the car has been put up for sale on eBay. After getting just $8,000 on a $18,000 reserve, the car has been re-listed. Even though the asking price is in line with a used Rolls Royce, the Six’s uniqueness would be sure to turn more heads.
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