Here we have my late Fathers very lovely Armstrong Siddeley Saphire 236.
If you are looking for a great entry in to the world of classic cars, or even as a wedding car, you cant go far wrong with this Baby Siddeley. It’s a little bit of something unusual which always attracts attention where ever you go.
If you google about Armstrong Siddeley you can read about how they were a premium car and strongly linked to the aircraft business, which ultimately led to it being purchased by Rolls Royce.
These 236 Sapphires were only produced for 2 years, and a total of only 603 were ever made. I have been told that this was Armstrong Siddeleys answer to the MkII Jag, but it never really took off.
She is a 1956 with the clutchless Manumatic transmission and overdrive which were both optional extras. The Manumatic is fun and easy to drive once you are used to it. Basically it has a normal gearbox with no clutch. When you put your hand on the gearstick it automatically engages the clutch you change gear and away it goes. It just shows how advanced some of the Siddeleys were.
My dad brought this car for my mum to drive to Armstrong Siddeley events, which she still occasionally does to this day, and she is 73. It drives great, obviously a bit heavy but keeps up with modern traffic no problem, even on motorways.
It has had significant mechanical restoration prior to Dad buying it, and its really reliable. Prior to my Dad passing, he and mum went on holiday to the Isle of Wight for a week in this, and it never missed a beat. This was part of the owners club, which is strong and thriving. Search ASOC.
In the last 2 years its had a new rear gearbox oil seal and a new metal part of the top cooling system. She does drop a bit of oil, but she is 65 years old. As you can see she is pretty in white with a red contrasting interior. She has a look of a Bristol from the front ! Dad fitted seatbelts to it, as the car was made with the fixing points on it, so it was easy to install them.
It is very pretty and has been used at several classic car shows on the Armstrong Siddeley stand.
The bits which need attention to make it perfect are:
The rubbers on the windows have perished, its about £300 to get these swapped by a professional plus the rubbers. We have a spare screen to go with it.
She sags a little bit to the right due to a weak rear leaf spring. It’s safe and passes any inspection, but it can look like it has a bit of a flat tyre sometimes but it’s the leaf spring.
Both front doors need adjusting up as they have dropped, you have to lift them when you close them.
The chrome hub caps, and bumper over riders could benefit from a re chrome.
The wood inside could use a proper french polish. It’s proper wood so will come up.
A great car, unusual number plate and well known in the Armstrong Siddeley world. But its time for someone else to take her on.
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