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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

Armstrong Siddeley in Advertising

AS the 1930s drew to a close and war clouds threatened on the horizon, Armstrong Siddeley Motors took one more throw of the dice. This time the all new 16hp and 20hp models.

In keeping with over 20 years experience of advanced technology this car was packed with the latest innovations. The all new chassis incorporated from scuttle to rear axle a stressed metal floor incorporating a torque tube tunnel. Added to this the body was bolted to the frame creating a ridged box structure. The front end carried a novel larger bore shorter stroke engine with rubber mountings as part of the balanced drive train which included a Wilson epicyclic gearbox with a Wilson centrifugal clutch (clutch manufactured by Newton & Bennet). The advanced design was completed with Luvex double acting shock absorbers and Girling self-compensating, easily adjustable brakes.

With hindsight we can perhaps see design stirrings towards monocoque shell construction and the short stroke or even over square engines of the future.

When launched at the Earls Court Motor show in October 1938 two 16hp. body styles were available - the Burlington in house 6 light Coach saloon (top Picture) and the 4 light touring saloon constructed for ASM by Mulliner as seen above. In 16hp guise, 704 of the former and 221 of the latter were sold along with a sprinkling of chassis completed by other coachbuilders.

The motoring press at the time were very favourably impressed with the performance of the new Armstrong Siddeley car.

The 20hp version of the car, however, did not go into production due to a very far sighted, brave and financially risky decision by T.O.M. Sopwith. The Chamberlain government's stance in 1938 towards appeasement caused them to rather dither over the placing of a projected order for 200 Hurricane fighter planes. Sopwith made the decision to go ahead anyway and authorised the tooling and materials for 800 planes. Had he waited for the government to make up its mind the heroic defence during the Battle of Britain would have been unattainable.


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