1952 Armstrong Siddeley
One-family-owned for 60 years; only 33,900 miles indicated, believed correct; recently restored after 35 years in storage; only 600 miles on rebuilt engine; a charming example of this exceedingly rare saloon
Established in Coventry in 1919, Armstrong Siddeley was one of the UK's most respected manufacturers in the post-war era, producing staid but well-built luxury saloon and tourers. Most models were named after aircraft (Lancaster; Typhoon; Hurricane), a logical move since the company was foremost an aero engine maker, a field in which it gained vast experience during WW2.
Getting its name from the Armstrong-Whitworth twin-engined bomber, the Whitley was made from 1949-1954 and was a 4- or 6-light saloon made of steel and aluminium panels fitted over a wooden frame in the fashionable semi razor-edge style. The engine was a smooth 75bhp 2,309cc straight-six with a tax rating of 18hp that had first appeared on export versions of the Tempest, coupled with a choice of conventional four-speed synchromesh or Wilson pre-selector gearbox.
The chassis used independent torsion bar suspension at the front with a conventional live axle with leaf springs at the rear, while a Girling hydro-mechanical braking system provided the stopping power, the front drums hydraulically operated while those at the rear used rod and cable. Armstrong Siddeley were particularly proud of the car’s heating system which had an early form of air conditioning under the bonnet and kept the windscreen commendably mist-free – a real novelty at the time.
Costing £1,216 (including hefty £271 purchase tax) the Whitley was always an expensive car and only 4,321 were sold in total, many of which were exported to Australia, and only 329 are known to survive today. Armstrong Siddeley continued to make cars until 1960 at which point it went back to concentrating on its core business of aero engines.
First registered to Armstrong Siddeley themselves in April 1952, this 4-light saloon then had two further private owners before being acquired by Mr JR Wilson of Carlisle in 1958. It was to remain in his family for 60 years, although due to ill health it got laid up in a barn in the mid-1970s and spent the next 35 years in storage.
In 2011 another family member finally decided to drag the car out and restore it, as shown in photos and invoices on file. This included new front wings, one new rear wing, new bumpers and a full repaint in the original black. The engine was also rebuilt with new pistons, gaskets etc, all parts being supplied by the owners’ club. Back on the road the following year, it flew through its MOT in August 2012 with no advisories recorded.
Our vendor acquired the car from the family in the summer of 2018 and has continued to look after it well, including fitting a new clutch to the floor-change gearbox which cost £700. It has only covered 600 miles since the engine rebuild, the odometer currently showing 33,874 miles which is believed to be genuine. The original brown leather interior is still in fine shape and lends credence to this claim.
Documentation includes the original buff logbook; original maintenance manual; spare parts catalogue; a copy of a factory service manual which runs to over 220 pages; restoration invoices and photos, plus photos of the car as found in 2011; club literature; various old tax discs back to 1971 and the 2012 MOT. Supplied with two sets of keys and sundry useful spares, it also retains its original starting handle and wheel-changing kit.
Starting promptly, we noticed a slight misfire while driving it around onsite so it could do with a good service, but shows good 40psi oil pressure. This fine old Whitley no doubt has another 70 years of useful life ahead of it.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
Reg No: LKV706
Chassis Number: 1812534
Engine Number: 1812526
Engine Size: 2309cc
Docs: V5C; copy older V5C; buff logbook; one old MOT; restoration invoices and photos; original maintenance manual; copy workshop manual; club literature etc.
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