It all started at the Beaulieu Spring Autojumble when a gentleman hurried onto our Armstrong Siddeley Club and Heritage stand bearing a piecrust Sphinx radiator mascot in his hand.
‘I collect mascots, and I’ve borrowed this from another dealer’s stand and I just wondered if you could tell me which Armstrong Siddeley car it is off. Is it from a Siddeley Special?’
It so happened there was a Siddeley Special owner present, having just looked in for a chat, and obviously we referred the questioner to him. Conversation ensued and we gave it no more thought. However over the next several weeks on our Heritage email we had three enquiries about the same subject.
Identifying a Siddeley Special mascot in isolation is tricky and it has to be admitted that even in Armstrong Siddeley circles there are several pet ways of establishing the Special mascot from that on the nineteen thirties 20hp or 12hp cars for example.
When seen together as in the picture below it is a much easier matter. We are indebted to a long term member of the Armstrong Siddeley Club and avid collector of Sphinx ornaments for his help on this occasion. Total production of the Siddeley Special was 253 cars. The desirable mascot was affixed to the Mk 1 versions only.
To help with the identification of a particular mascot when viewed in isolation we have listed off below the critical dimensions.
Siddeley Special - Length over all - 4.1/2 inches Width overall -3.1/2 inches.
Height of Sphinx from base - 2.1/4 inches.
20hp cars - Length over all - 4 inches. Width overall - 3.1/4 inches.
Height of Sphinx from base – 2 inches.
12hp cars - Length overall – 4 inches Width overall – 3.1/4 inches
Height of Sphinx from base – 1.1/2 inches.
The most common error is to mistake the version fitted to the 20hp car as that from a Siddeley Special. The 20hp version fits on the Special and in fact there is today the odd Special proudly bearing such a Sphinx.
On the Mk II Siddeley Special, the radiator cap now being accessed from under the bonnet, it bore the Sphinx shown on the left in the picture below which is similar to that on the 1935 onwards 17hp cars. According to the factory records 100 MK II cars were produced and assuming all were so fitted it means that there were only 153 cars bearing the pie crust cap.
In the preparation of this article we have noticed in the base for the 12hp and 20hp cap there can be a slight variance, especially in the length measurement, of about 1/8 of an inch.
So there we have it, and hopefully we are all now confident concerning identifying the Siddeley Special mascot.