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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

Armstrong Siddeley in Advertising

With the Hawker take over it was inevitable that there would be changes.

The new company's main interest was in the aircraft and aero engine side of the ASM business, also their established management style differed greatly from that of John Siddeley.

John Siddeley had overseen every aspect of his business and had a close, if somewhat autocratic, working relationship with his employees. Hawker on the other hand considered each company which made up the group as autonomous and having appointed someone to take responsibility for that company left them to run it. Sir Frank Spriggs took over as Managing Director of Armstrong Siddeley Motors and Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft. He was popular with the workers but Siddeley's sons Ernest and Cyril left the business in 1937 and 1939 respectively as they felt the loss of the family control within the business. These changes in management style reflected a general change in attitudes where the policy became to promote from within, rather than bring in many outsiders.

Named after the first Armstrong Whitworth commercial airliner, a high winged monoplane carrying Armstrong Siddeley engines, this Atalanta Sports Saloon, was introduced in May1936, to the by then well established 17hp range and was seen as a breakthrough in car design styling.

The advert above was placed in the April 1937 Autocar magazine at the time of the Coronation of King George VI and shows the car on the more powerful 20/25 hp chassis. Only 170 of the 17hp cars and 88 examples of the 20/25 cars were built, making the cars surviving today very special.

By 1937 we can see a change in the advertising style, involving on many occasions outside support, in this instance the distributor Warwick Wright. Ltd.

This is not surprising as W. G. McMinnies the former in house publicist left ASM in 1936 to work for Rolls Royce before founding his own travel magazine. The last reference we have found concerning this wordy character is in 1938 when aged 88, he drove a Bentley car round Britain with out a co-driver. What a man! Although we have to say that some of the average speeds he achieved when rallying or testing vehicles, including stops, require a little believing, no, make that a lot of believing!

Next Jotting war Approaches.


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