Mini Markup: 1968 Wolseley Hornet MkIII – Sold?
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June 1, 2023, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
“Badge Engineering” is the practice of offering the same basic product with slightly different features under different brand names. The practice is most prevalent in the Automotive world, where manufacturers attempt to amortize platform development costs over as many models as possible. In the U.S., enthusiasts are familiar with how General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler badge-engineered car lines are based on their respective car divisions. Across the pond, British Motors Corporation (better known simply as “BMC”) took badge engineering to a whole new level across its Austin, Morris, MG, Austin-Healey, Riley, and Wolseley brands.
Arguably the most egregious example of BMC’s badge engineering was in the iconic Mini. While BMC sold the vast majority of Minis under the Austin brand, BMC marketers also offered upscale versions such as the Riley Elf and the Wolseley Hornet. To our knowledge, neither Riley nor Wolseley cars were ever officially sold stateside, so we would love to learn the story of how this Maroon 27K 1968 Wolseley Hornet for sale on Craigslist in Stoneville, North Carolina (Greensboro) in April 2023 made it to these shores. With only 27K original miles, this example presents as a nice low-mileage, right-hand-drive, survivor-quality example.
Last offered for $17,500, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is in line with the one-year rolling average of this guide’s summary for Mini Copper Mk11’s built between 1967 and 1970 on which the Hornet is based upon. By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the badge-engineered Mini featured here:
The 1968 Wolseley Hornet MkIII was a compact saloon car produced by British automaker Wolseley, a subsidiary of the British Motor Corporation (BMC). It was part of the Mini range of vehicles, which also included models like the Austin Mini and Morris Mini. The Hornet MkIII was an upscale version of the classic Mini, featuring distinctive styling cues and additional luxury features.
The Hornet MkIII maintained the iconic boxy shape of the Mini but featured several design enhancements to differentiate it from its siblings. The front end of the car sported a unique chrome grille with the Wolseley badge prominently displayed in the center. The grille was flanked by round headlights integrated into the front fenders. The car had a sleeker appearance compared to the standard Mini, thanks to its longer and more pronounced bonnet. The body featured chrome trim accents on the bumpers, window frames, and door handles, giving it an elegant and sophisticated look. The MkIII was offered in a range of attractive color options.
Inside the Hornet MkIII, the emphasis was on comfort and luxury. The cabin featured high-quality materials and a refined ambiance. The seats were upholstered in plush fabric or optional leather, providing excellent support and comfort for both the driver and passengers. The dashboard had a wood veneer finish, adding a touch of elegance to the interior. The instrument panel was equipped with clear and legible gauges, including a centrally-mounted speedometer. The car offered ample headroom and legroom, despite its compact dimensions, making it a comfortable ride for occupants.
The Wolseley Hornet MkIII came equipped with a range of features and technologies that were considered advanced for its time. It had a heater and demister system to ensure a comfortable driving experience in various weather conditions. Power steering was available as an option, enhancing maneuverability and ease of driving. The car featured a 4-speed manual transmission, providing smooth gear shifts. It also had front disc brakes, which were a significant improvement over the drum brakes used in many other cars of that era. Additionally, the MkIII boasted a relatively spacious boot (trunk) space considering its compact size.
Under the hood, the Hornet MkIII was powered by a 998cc inline-four engine, which produced around 48 horsepower. While this may not sound impressive by today’s standards, it was adequate for a car of its size and weight at the time. The engine, coupled with its lightweight construction, provided peppy acceleration and nimble handling, making it an enjoyable car to drive both in urban areas and on winding roads. The MkIII had a top speed of around 80 mph (130 km/h) and offered good fuel efficiency.
The Wolseley Hornet MkIII was produced from 1966 to 1969, with the MkIII being the final iteration of the Hornet model. It was well-received by the public for its stylish design, luxurious interior, and enjoyable driving dynamics. The Hornet MkIII, along with the other Mini variants, played a significant role in popularizing the concept of compact cars with their efficient use of space and fun-to-drive nature. Today, the Hornet MkIII is sought after by classic car enthusiasts and collectors, who appreciate its unique blend of style and practicality.
The Twin-Cam YouTube Channel provides this modern day look back at the Wolseley Hornet and parent company BMC’s quest for badge-engineering most of its products:
This 1968 Wolseley Hornet MkIII for sale is definitely not a car you will run into every day, especially in the U.S. and in such low-mileage, survivor condition. If you love vintage Minis but dare to be a bit different, this Hornet may be the conversation piece you’ve been looking for.
If you are serious about buying this Wolseley, you can start the conversation by contacting the seller directly through their Craigslist ad. When you connect, please remember to mention you saw their Hornet MkIII featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
Show or go: What would you do with this 1968 Wolseley Hornet MkIII for sale? Please comment below and let us know!