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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Wall's Ice cream connected cars.

Many of the cars which have survived the rigours of the sixty, or in many cases, considerably more years, since their manufacture, have an interesting history. To this end, in this week's jottings, we set the ball rolling, but invite you the reader to send a picture and the historic details of your Armstrong Siddeley car for inclusion in future editions on this web page.

Late in 1950 a Mr. C. Rodd of the Walls Ice cream company placed an order for a long wheel base 18HP chassis which was sent to Hooper's Coach builders of Westminster London to be bodied. This first picture shows the drophead coupe on test sometime before finishing. It was when completed, delivered to Mr. Rodd on the 8th February 1951.

Based on the same chassis as the Armstrong Siddeley Limousines this is a large car. Depending on body weight and gearing one would expect the car 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.

Little is known of the car's history until it was rescued from a derelict condition by club member Thomas Clark. It passed into the hands of a fellow club member who sent it to a garage in the Caterham area for full restoration.

Sadly there was a fire in which it was totally destroyed along with a much loved Armstrong Siddeley Whitley car, registration NXT 188. Readers of the Sphinx magazine will recall a recent article giving the history of this vehicle.

Our second picture is of the beautifully restored Armstrong Siddeley Whitley belonging to Heritage trustee member John Pulfer. This is also a 1951 year car and allows us a direct comparison of the standard product with the special above. By strange coincidence this is also a car first registered to Thomas Wall and Son.

Those of us who were young in the 1950s/60s remember the name being famous for the pork sausages and the variety of ice creams which the company produced. The company was founded in 1786 as a butchers stall in St James's Market, London selling meat and meat products. By 1812 the company had received the first of several 'Royal appointments' and in the following year the idea that the summer time fall in demand for meat products could be countered by the making of ice cream, so avoiding the laying off of skilled workers. However due to the first WW it would be 1922 before this plan could be put into operation. Subsequently the company was taken over by Unilever. Many of the varieties of ice creams which we enjoy today had their origins in the Wall's products of our youth.

The car in this picture lay in a barn for 39 years and when rescued by the present owner was collected along with seven boxes of bits. John is to be congratulated on a thorough restoration which is as perfect inside and under the bonnet as it is on the outside.


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