Early Siddeley Motor Cars
1902 Siddeley with Peugeot mechanics
Early Siddeley Cars
Based on his experience marketing tyres for the burgeoning cycle and infant motor car industry of the late 1890s, John D Siddeley decided that car manufacture on his own account was the way ahead. To this end he took the common route at that time of importing the mechanical parts from Peugeot and adding a locally sourced English built body.
Early in 1902 the Siddeley Autocar Co. was formed and following an introduction by Leopold Rothchild and his son Lionel to Vickers Son and Maxim. Subsequently these 'all English' cars were built to Siddeley's specification by their subsidiary The Wolseley Tool and Motor Co. Ltd. By 1905 the well promoted Siddeley Autocars began to overshadow the Wolseley product and instructed by the parent company Wolseley approached Siddeley with a view to amalgamate the businesses. This resulted in Siddeley becoming Sales Manager for the Wolseley Tool and Motor Co.
Siddeley had majored on the superiority of the vertical - engined cars while works manager at Wolseley, Herbert Austin had favoured horizontal power plants. 1906 was to be the last year when both were featured in the Wolseley - Siddeley range. During the next two years the range expanded to six engine sizes ranging from 10HP to 45HP. When added to body choices the public could choose from twentyone models. These were excellent vehicles and favoured by many customers representing the upper class of Edwardian society.
The Deasy Motor Car Manufacturing Company, Ltd. was formed in 1906 and soon established their works in what had been the Iden car factory at Parkside, Coventry. The years to 1909 had not been without their difficulties. Attempting to manufacture every part of the cars was not proving easy, furthered by the resignation of the founder Captain Deasy.
John D. Siddeley was considering a move and on approaching the Deasy Board was appointed General Manager in the spring and by mid-June was Joint Managing Director. Siddeley's experience soon brought about changes which made a developing range of reliable cars and a sound profitable business.
The JDS Deasy models were much in the then current style used by many UK and continental carmakers, featuring the radiator behind the scuttle style of bonnet which soon earned the 'coffin' nickname. Siddeley greatly disliked this nickname and later the shape would be rounded off and as the result of a road test, the Sphinx mascot would appear. By 1914 with the approach of war the company was in good health and about to play an important part in the fledgeling aeronautical industry.