Armstrong Siddeley Motor Cars 1919-1939
When the First World War came to an end Siddeley Deasy, a relatively small but very successful aircraft and motor car company found itself, along with the rest of British industry, with an empty order book and spare capacity.
Armstrong Whitworth was in the same situation and considered that its huge aircraft production capacity
was something of a liability.
John Davenport Siddeley, the managing director of Siddeley Deasy, believed that there was a considerable future in aircraft manufacture and as such he approached Armstrongs with a view to combining both company’s aircraft and motor car production capabilities. The outcome was the formation in 1919 of Armstrong Siddeley Motors, with all of Armstrong's aircraft and motor production facilities joining those of Deasy in the new company with J. D. Siddeley as managing director.
1928 Armstrong Siddeley 18hp with a Burlington Ascot Tourer body
Armstrong Siddeley Motor Cars in the 1920s
In 1919 advertisements in the press alerted the public to the resumption of car manufacturing. Concentrating on one model - a 30hp six-cylinder motor carriage of the highest grade, stately in appearance, having ample power and constructed of the best materials. They were comfortable, dependable, smooth running, well equipped as standard, yet with low maintenance costs.
Deliveries were to begin in August 1919 which coincided with the opening of offices and a showroom at 10, Old Bond Street, London. This flagship car was joined in 1921 by an 18hp six-cylinder car and in 1923 a 14hp four-cylinder car was introduced.
This latter car continued through seven years with several body options and even fared well against mass produced cars of the period. While development and improvements were made to these cars there was a completely new 15HP car introduced in October 1927. This took the range into the 1930s along with a 12HP car, both of these cars having side valve engines. This followed the then current trend and was unusual for Armstrong Siddeley, a return to overhead valves soon followed.
Armstrong Siddeley Motor Cars of the 1930's
The first years of the thirties were a period of economic downturn and the motor industry slowed dramatically. Armstrong Siddeley cars were designed with the professional classes in mind and with steady refinement continued to concentrate on this sector of the market.
The introduction of the Armstrong Siddeley self-changing gear at this time doubtless opened up new opportunities for those who had been reluctant to drive themselves and the ease of driving was also cleverly promoted to 'The Daughters of Gentlemen'.
With participation in runs, competitions, rallies, good advertising and publicity, Armstrong Siddeley remained strong.
In 1933 John Siddeley chose to launch the Siddeley Special, a luxury car probably more discussed in 'Siddeley' circles than any other. Only 253 were made and a few are still on the road today. By 1935 John Siddeley again caused a stir when approaching 70 years of age he sold his company to The Hawker Aircraft Co.
The new Hawker Siddeley Aircraft Co. continued to develop the car section of the business with the introduction of the 17HP and a 20 -25HP which took on the mantle of the Special Six. The body styles were becoming less formal and more in keeping with the changing tastes of the time. Another new design was launched in October 1938 in the shape of the 16HP saloon. Pending hostilities cut the production of cars short as a return to War production closed the era.