Armstrong Siddeley Fourteen Four
Armstrong-Siddeley-14hp-MK-II-Cotswold-T

14/4 MkII Cotswold Tourer

As we have seen Armstrong Siddeley Motors returned to the manufacture of cars in 1920, after the Great War, with the introduction of the 30hp car, followed by the scaled down 18hp version in 1921. These were cars of quality and placed towards the top end of the market. Although the company was enjoying steady sales, concerns were expressed as to which sector of the market attention should next be directed.

This was the beginning of a time of considerable competition in the world of personal transport, a motorcycle or motorcycle with sidecar was one solution another was a cycle-car. The latter were produced by a large number of small manufacturers endeavouring to bridge the gap twixt motorbike and car. These were available in some cases for as little as one tenth of the cost of an Armstrong Siddeley.

John Siddeley had a dalliance with the cycle-car market in the middle years of the 1920s under the banner of a subsidiary company, Stoneleigh, which had supplied ambulances and trucks to the government during the war. This 9hp car performed reasonably well, but sadly lacked the styling which appealed to the public. However the experience led to the decision that the middle sized car sector with the Armstrong Siddeley badge held the most promise.

 

This was a fortunate decision as the era of the cycle-car would soon be over. Herbert Austin had launched in 1922 his 7hp model which in the eyes of the public was moving on from motorcycle technology and though scaled down, functioned and looked like a 'proper car.'  Soon it was christened the 'baby' Austin. Sometimes a manufacturer gets it really right and Austin had identified and satisfied a large number of first time car buyers at the lower end of the market. Even today these cheeky little cars have a strong following in the world of classic cars.

Armstrong-Siddeley 4 14hp1925 Chiltern-c
14/4 Mk II Mendip 2 to 3 seater

Reverting back to 1921 there was a third consideration in that the economy as the following year approached was slowing and the need for a relatively less expensive yet quality car was becoming more pressing. The Armstrong Siddeley board approved a mid-sized vehicle, having a low revving, long stroke, four cylinder overhead valve engine of 1852cc. with three speed manual gear box. The vehicle rated as 14hp would be known as the Armstrong Siddeley 14/4.

Apart from the aforementioned points the rest of the layout resembled ASM standard practice. One, to us today, little quirk was the method of oiling the rockers and top end valve motion. These were encased in a traditional rocker cover which had a number of holes forming a grid on the top surface. Oil was poured through these onto a wick contained below at recommended 200mile intervals.

When launched in 1923 the factory workers referred to the car, as we would expect, as the 14/4, but when Armstrong Siddeley's press advertising first appeared it was described  the 'four 14'.  A confusion, which lingers even today whenever the model is being discussed

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The rest of the specifications followed the by now well tried formula with a couple of new innovations. One departure was the fitting of cantilever springs both fore and aft rather than to the rear of the car only. Another very striking feature was the departure from the 'V' shaped radiator cowl in favour of a flat type.  After 2000 cars were produced the springing arrangement reverted to the traditional A.S. rear cantilever arrangement, while the flat radiator remained throughout 14/4 manufacture.

The first body type was the five seater open tourer which came fitted with hood and side screens, fibre matting for the driver's compartment and pile carpet for the rear passengers, upholstery was finest quality leather and buyers had a choice of three body colours, mole, dark grey or dark green over black wings and running gear.

Armstrong Siddeley 4 14 Chassis plan vie

The price included clock, speedometer, five lamp lighting set, a lusty electric horn, spare wheel, number plates and delivery ex-works, all for the sum of £360.00. For £25.00 extra, an Auster screen for rear passenger weather protection when driving with hood down, windscreen wiper, dashboard lamp, luggage straps, and running board fitments, were included.

To publicise the cars journalists were invited to press demonstration runs in the Cotswolds and these became known as the Cotswolds trials. Hardly surprising therefore, that when at this time Armstrong Siddeley began naming their various body styles this type became the Cotswold Tourer.

 

The reactions of the motoring press were very favourable and in essence the car was found to be an excellent well built family car selling at a very reasonable price. The car was praised for its logical layout and the smoothness of the engine which could in top gear pull from 5 or 6 miles per hour to the top speed of 50 miles per hour without any engine vibration. The car handled well, was comfortable and easy to drive.

Three further body styles were introduced during 1924.  First a two seater with dicky which also sold for £360.00. This was followed by a saloon version capable of seating 4 or 5 people. The body was of light but strong construction and benefited from a large window area. These were available in ether dark grey or dark blue priced at £480.00. Finally, a saloon landaulette version was also produced allowing open air motoring for the rear passengers should they wish at a price of £505.00.

YR 8063 Armstrong Siddeley 14 4 1925 Cot

The price included clock, speedometer, five lamp lighting set, a lusty electric horn, spare wheel, number plates and delivery ex-works, all for the sum of £360.00. For £25.00 extra, an Auster screen for rear passenger weather protection when driving with hood down, windscreen wiper, dashboard lamp, luggage straps, and running board fitments, were included.

 

In mid 1925, by which time some 2,950 units had been purchased by the public, the company launched the improved mark two 14/4. Though much of the layout was a continuation of the original design there were significant changes and improvements. The chassis was redesigned and lengthened to 13 feet. Semi-elliptic springs front and rear replaced the quarter elliptic springs which had under certain road conditions and at higher speeds given problems. Also ground clearance was increased to 9/10 inches which over rough terrain and poor roads was particularly welcomed overseas. The scuttle mounted fuel tank was enlarged to an eight gallons capacity and now had a fuel gauge mounted on the filler cap, which the driver viewed through the front windscreen. Four wheel brakes were now standard and all operated by foot pedal or handbrake lever.

Once again the motoring press were eager to test the new car and found the construction, the well presented equipment, ride comfort and improved performance worthy of praise. Increased top speed, ease of hill climbing in all gears and a return of 27mpg were commended.

These improvements made the car a winner, in all some 11,479 units were sold, reflected in the good level of sales worldwide. 

The 14/4 car as we have catalogued benefited from many changes and improvements over the six years of its production. As the MKII version of the car came to the stage where the new 15HP was about to be launched Armstrong Siddeley had secured a firm foot hold in the medium to smaller car sector of the market. The 15hp would continue to be developed, but from the launch it had the features which fulfilled what the buyers of the time believed should be found in a 'modern' car.

14/4 Technical Specification
As mentioned earlier the company, in line with other manufactures, started to identify by name the various body styles on offer and in this pictorial section which follows some idea can be gained as to the variety of choice given to would be purchaser.
The following images enlarge if you click on them
Armstrong Siddeley 4 141927  oS engine v
14/4 Engine
Capture 3 to 2  v2.jpg
Mk II 1927 Broadway Saloon
5380072-1 3 to 2.jpg
Salmons Special Coupe with Dicky
Blue 1 3to 2.jpg
Cotswold Tourer
Image 3 PM 7646 Armstrong-Siddeley-Chilt
Mendip 2/3 Seater
5380058 3 to 2.jpg
Interior of Salmons Coupe
1926 Cotswold tourer NE 65 4.jpg
The simple dashboard of a 14/4
1926 14 4 Cotwold Tourer reg NT7668 Bonh
Cotswold Tourer
Image 1 c Armstrong Siddeley 14 4 1927 B
Dashboard 1927 Broadway Saloon
 These are images taken from the 1926 Armstrong Siddeley brochure showing the Mk II 1927 model year range.
As mentioned earlier the company, in line with other manufacturers, started to identify by name the various body styles on offer and in this pictorial section which follows some idea can be gained as to the variety of choice given to the would be purchaser. These are images taken from the 1926 Armstrong Siddeley brochure showing the Mk II 1927 model year range.
1926 Broadway Saloon.jpg
Broadway Saloon £375
Armstrong Siddeley Sandown Special Toure
Sandown Special Tourer £365
Chiltern Coupe.JPG
Chiltern Coupe £425
Mendip 2 3 Seater 2.jpg
Mendip 2/3 Seater £325
Grasmere 3 quarter Landaulette.jpg
Grasmere 3/4 Landaulette £425
Cotswold  Five Seater Tourer.jpg
Cotwold 5 Seat Tourer £325