Twice this week when browsing the TV channels we have happened across the 'McGuinness and Flintoff ' Top Gear team driving the cars from the Bond 007 collection.
When the first Bond 007 film, 'Dr No' hit the screens in 1962 the car driven by Bond was a Sunbeam Alpine Mk II manufactured by the Rootes Group. In the first chase scene in a Bond movie the 'baddies' driving a black hearse chased Bond in the Alpine till of course they went off the twisty mountain road and plunged down into a ravine and exploded in a ball of fire. The laconic comment from James Bond was 'I think they were going to a funeral'
Credit Film Daddy
What has all this to do with Armstrong Siddeley Heritage? Well quite a lot actually.
In 1959 Armstrong Siddeley was merged with Bristol Siddeley Engines and sadly for economic reasons the decision was taken to cease production of Armstrong Siddeley Cars. However the company was approached by the Rootes Group, who were expanding very quickly at that time. Armstrong Siddeley were asked to complete the design and to assemble the new Sunbeam Alpine sports car at Parkside where the facilities were still in place to produce vehicles. The Mk I and Mk II Alpines, some 31,860 units, were produced at Parkside.
Rootes were then in a position to take over production and the car continued to a Mk IV version and a total output of some 69,000 plus vehicles.
But that is not all. The creator of the Bond 007 legend, Commander Ian Fleming purchased an Armstrong Siddeley 346 saloon on the 1st of November 1954 when living in central London. In 1958 the car moved to a new owner in Croydon and then in 1961 into the ownership of Helmut Kolson, who was working at the London branch of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney. The last UK road tax duty payment was made to the end of December 1963. The car is next recorded as being based in Australia and we may assume it journeyed there with Helmet. The car is now in the care of an Australian Armstrong Siddeley Club member.
If any one can send us an up to date picture of this car we would be delighted to publish it in this jottings section.