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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

Interesting Cars with Interesting Histories -8




We last gave consideration to the car pictured above in a jotting dated September 2020.  At that time we established that an Armstrong Siddeley long wheelbase, 18hp chassis, was ordered late in 1950 by Mr C Rodd, then C.E.O. of the Walls Ice cream company based in Gloucestershire. The chassis was sent to Hooper’s, Coach-builders of Westminster, London to be bodied. Only three chassis were fitted with this style of body, two on Daimler underpinnings  and the third being the car in the photo, which shows the drop-head coupe on test prior to finishing. When completed it was sent to Mr. Rodd on the 8th February 1951.


 Based on the same chassis as the Armstrong Siddeley 18hp Limousines this is a large car. Depending on body weight and gearing one would expect it to have a touring, rather than sporty performance, but it certainly made a fashion statement at the time. Apart from the very large headlights, the sidelights streamlined into the wings, and the wing mirrors, the most notable item is the one piece curved windscreen, a then recent development in windscreen technology.


Some little time past we received an email from a gentleman who spotted our ‘Jottings’ entry mentioning the car, and the recent sad death of the ASOC member who till now owned the car, has reignited interest in the history of the vehicle.


Briefly, it seems Mr Rodd, aided by his chauffeur, kept the car for six years, when in mint condition it was sold through the esteemed Welbeck Motors, London for the sum of £3000.  Some seven years on in 1963 it is residing in Leamington Spa Warwickshire in the ownership of a Mr. Crowther. A young man aged 18, who by chance had the same surname, spotted the car and decided to make every effort to purchase it if possible. Geoffrey Crowther then a trainee auctioneer managed to purchase the car for £25. Geoffrey loved the car with the electric hood, windows etc. and was probably the last regular user of the car. After a couple of years repair of a broken half shaft was beyond the young man’s means and he sold it on to another young lad for £15. This lad repaired the car but when reversing opened the driver’s door to better see where he was going only to come into heavy contact with a solid object which resulted in severe damage to the door and ‘B’ post. Next stop, removal to a scrap yard in Morton in Marsh.






 

 

 From here it was rescued in 1969 by an ASOC member who also purchased a 1951 18hp Limousine as a donor car with the intention of fully restoring this ‘one-off’ Hooper Siddeley. Sold to another ASOC member the car once again changed hands and the restoration was once more under way with a restorer in Byfleet Surrey. Unfortunately in around the late 1980s a fire in an adjoining  workshop caused gas bottles to explode, quickly engulfing the restorer’s premises, severely damaging the Hooper and  destroying three other collectable cars.


The Hooper bodied 18hp Armstrong Siddeley is now, once again, in need of an enthusiast or organisation to gather up the parts and recreate this one-off piece of history.


The car may have been painted white, but it has to be admitted it had a, but it has to be admitted it had a colourful history.







For further information concerning the purchase of this car ASHT may be contacted on heritage@siddeley.org who would be happy to pass on your enquiry. 





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