A Blue Cardinal…


[We wish to acknowledge the original owners of Saskatchewan. And their elders. Now would they please dust it? This is a state government-mandated sop.]

Well, not exactly. You’re looking at what I believe to be a pre-war Wolseley sedan. Hence the Cardinal for the prelate of Henry the VIII’s time. As cardinals are generally red, it seemed like a catchy title…Oh, never mnd. Just look at the pictures.

I have often pooh poohed British cars for their dated designs and tortuous electrical systems ( They only have one volt and it is used to run the cigar lighter…) but this little car deserves better. It is a vehicle that was finally getting usable motoring to middle class Britons after the strictures of the Great Depression. Of course it was then caught up in the war, and after that new designs emerged – but this was good at the time.


If you compare it to Ford or GM designs – or even Dodge and Plymouth iron of the 38-39 period, it is still a few years out of date – that front radiator grill and wing shape is back to ’34-‘6 Ford. The boot and associated lid are tiny – you could just about fit something for the weekend in there and not much more. But considering the alternative of train or coach travel, this must have been a marvellous advance for the British. They could go four in a car to wherever – and you can actually fit four adults into it.

The engine was closed on this example so I cannot hoot at the wiring but considering it got to the Hyde Park Vintage Show in 2015 all the way from 1939 at least something must have worked.


The interior is British to the core, though as it has few pretensions to managerial status, there is no teakwood cabinetry on the dash – just a little on the door frame. I suspect the makers thought they were going to sell a lot more of these little things than actually happened from the central position of the instruments – easier to make LH and RH drive versions of the car. I noted this as an oddity for Morris Minors and Mini Minors in the 60’s as well. And I never could get used to seeing the little switch for the traffic indicators in the middle as well.


At least in the end the makers were able to put a good big plate on the Wolseley – possibly the wings are a reflection of the Cardinal’s angelic position. And the London sticker is a welcome piece of red and white in the sea of blue.

Altogether, a well-balanced design.


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