20th Oct, 2022 13:00

Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Lot 221

1932 Wolseley Hornet Special Eustace Watkins Daytona
No Reserve

Sold for £27,000

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: GY 494
Chassis No: 106458
MOT: Exempt

  • Entered from a private collection
  • Desirable, six-cylinder post-vintage sportscar
  • Said to be in 'very good overall' condition

Introduced in April 1932, the Special was a more performance-orientated version of Wolseley’s existing Hornet model. Available in bare chassis guise only, the newcomer was powered by a 1271cc OHC straight-six engine allied to four-speed manual transmission. Clothed by the likes of Avon, Abbey, Swallow, Cunard and London Wolseley dealer Eustace Watkins, the Hornet Special could be had with a variety of open and closed coachwork. A team of three Hornet Specials driven by F.S. Hutchens, B. Wickens and E. Erith won the 1932 LCC Relay Race at Brooklands (averaging 77.5mph for 270 miles). Progressively developed, the sporting Wolseley gained a stronger chassis, crossflow cylinder head and part synchromesh before production ceased in 1935 after some 2,300 had been sold.

Issued with the London registration number ‘GY 494’ on 30th June 1932, this Eustace Watkins Daytona bodied example was still resident in the Heathrow area some forty-three years later. Purchased by Roger Gray as a project in September 1975, it took him until May 1983 to complete the Wolseley Hornet Special’s restoration. The chassis was shot blasted and stove enamelled, a new ash frame made, the bodywork refurbished or refabricated as necessary, the interior re-trimmed and the mechanicals thoroughly overhauled including the stronger 1933 rear axle and engine. Written up in the Wolseley Hornet Special Club’s magazine (Spring 1984 edition), the quality of the workmanship was such that the four-seater won a well-deserved first place at the 1983 WHSC AGM. Belonging to Malcolm Alderton, John Sutton-Coulson, David Lamb, Christopher Rowe and Robert Turner prior to entering the current ownership, ‘GY 494’ started readily and ran well during our recent photography session. Still highly presentable, the four-seater carries a Eustace Watkins dashboard plaque and an ‘EW’ branded spinner for the rear-mounted spare wheel. Offered for sale with V5C Registration Document and history file.


All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.

You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:


Auction: Imperial War Museum, Duxford, 20th Oct, 2022

An auction of classic & collector motorcars


Tuesday 18th October 2022 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 19th October 2022 from 9am
Additional viewing for lots 200-254 on Thursday 20th October 2022 from 9am

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