1934 British Salmson S4C 1500cc drop head sports coupe 2+2,.
Current recorded mileage 26,000.
I am offering my cherished British Salmon for sale as we are downsizing and will no longer have room for an extra vehicle.
First registered in January 1934, this is the oldest S4C known to the British Salmson Owner’s Club of 40 known survivors and one of half a dozen or so of which are taxed and roadworthy today. As such it can only increase in value. Chassis Number AZ 102, (101 the first car, is missing from the register and it thought to have been scrapped). The car was rebodied in aluminium in the 1970s and has been extensively refurbished during my ownership notably adding the two rear seats making it a 2+2. The plate reading “John Charles & Co Ranalah Coachwork South Avenue Kew” has been retained which refers to the original bodywork.
The car is in good working order and it starts on the button. (no key!) In 2009 the twin-cam, cross flow engine was fully rebuilt by the previous owner including a re-bore, cylinder head regrind and the fitting of four new AJS pistons. The car has since covered just over 1000 trouble free miles. It runs and drives well maintaining healthy oil pressure although care must be taken in view of the 1934 braking system. The car has recently been fitted with electronic ignition. The levers and mechanism for the manual advance is still in situ. in the centre of the steering wheel and can be used for fine tuning on the go. The lump on the front of the car often thought to be a supercharger is in fact the Dynostart. This provides reliable, almost silent starting being a huge electric motor mounted directly on the end of the crank which converts into a dynamo when the engine is running.
The single SU bronze bodied carburetor is not original but known to be a common upgrade. As a two+2 seater with leather upholstery and a teak dashboard, it comes with a hood and tonneau cover but no side screens, in 10 years of ownership it has never been out in the rain! The fuel tank, exhaust and luggage rack are all in stainless steel. This is a well cared for example of a very rare car that is ready for immediate use.
The French firm of Salmson first came to prominence making aero engines during the First World War. In the 1920s they came became more famous for a range of Grand Prix winning light cars that were even a match for Bugatti. In the same decade they established a UK subsidiary, Moteurs Salmson in Chiswick, to sell and service their cars. In 1929 British Salmson Aero Engines Ltd set up a new factory in Raynes Park specifically to build Salmson engines for light aircraft, which they did initially, but as sales were not that successful they moved on to making cars.
In 1934 they started making their own version of the French Salmson S4C under licence. The British S4C had the same finely-engineered twin overhead cam 1471cc four-cylinder engine and chassis as its French counterpart, but the gearbox was updated to include synchromesh on the top two ratios. The coachwork was also to a British design and was available in four-door saloon, sports saloon, open tourer and drophead coupé versions bought in from Ranalah or Newns. About 230 S4C cars are estimated to have been made before it was replaced by the larger engined S4D and S6D models in 1937.
Car production ceased at the outbreak of war in 1939 when just over 300 British Salmsons had been built in total. Car production did not re-start after the war. The company eventually moved to Glasgow where they made printing machinery.
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