A very stately looking Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire in 3.4L straight-six guise
A fully operational example that presents very well indeed
Boasting a lovely, original patina to its comfortable and capacious interior
Armstrong Siddeley was one of those interesting conglomerates from the first half of the 20th Century, that produced, seemingly, diverse products. In Armstrong Siddeley’s case that was luxury cars and aero engines. Armstrong Siddeley had cemented its reputation for stately conveyances when used by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) during his 1930 tour of Uganda. This led to the Armstrong Siddeley being known as "an elegant car appropriate for royal use."
The Sapphire 346, as seen here, was the first of the Sapphire range to be introduced when it was launched in 1952. The car was all about the luxury with leather seats and walnut veneered accents being standard. The car was ideally suited to civic and royal duties being smooth, quiet and refined. Even the Sphinx bonnet mascot was known as “the symbol of silence.” On our car, however, the Sphinx is fitted with tiny jet engines as a nod to the firm’s less quiet products.
The History and Paperwork
Our car was first registered in March 1954
Thanks to the dashboard plaque, we know it was supplied by Vincents of Reading
Not too much is known about the early life of our car
Prior to its current ownership it was in use by a wedding car company
The current owner acquired the car approximately two years ago
The car is regularly used and very original
So much so as it recently appeared in a feature film set in the 1970’s
Paperwork comprises just the current V5 in the name of the owner
An original hardbacked owner’s manual is present
The car is registered as a Historic Vehicle
As such it is MOT and VED exempt in the UK
Our car features a beautifully patinaed leather interior
Finished in a light tan and wearing its years proudly, it is a lovely place to be
The front is fitted with a full width bench stitched into vertical box pleats
There is a folding armrest for use when required
Thanks to the column mounted gearchange, this is a bench that can accommodate three
The rear cabin is also fitted with an equally commodious, full width bench
This features a central folding armrest
Additional armrests are built into the side panels, at either end of the bench
The prominent dashboard is finished in wood veneer
A number of white on black Smiths gauges populate the dash
Bakelite pull / push knobs take care of other key functions
An original push button MW/LW radio is also fitted
Door cards are leather trimmed and populated with chrome door furniture
The cream-coloured headlining appears tightly fitted and in good, overall condition
The large boot presents in a good, if somewhat full, condition
This is also home to tools and full-sized spare wheel
Our example abounds in characterful road presence
This is due to the very 1950’s upright design of the Sapphire and the two-tone paintwork
This example is finished in black over Old English white
The two colours are dissected and separated by a thin and subtle gold coach line
The paintwork and bodywork appear to be in excellent condition for a 70-year-old car
The front end features the distinctive, Palladian style chrome grill
The chromed Sphinx, with jets, sits atop the grill
Large Lucas headlights and supplemental driving lights finish the look
At the rear, full spats feature and are picked out in black for extra drama
Another charming period feature are the semaphore style indicators in the B pillars
Our car rolls on 16-inch steel wheels
These are black painted and centred with chrome finished hub caps
Period correct, radial type tyres are fitted all round
Large and shiny chromed bumpers top and tail this stately and elegant car
This 346 model is fitted with a 3,435cc straight six engine
This featured hemispherical combustion chambers and was good for around 120bhp
Power was fed to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual, full synchromesh gearbox
The pillowy ride is thanks to independent coil springs at the front
The rear suspension is a rigid axle and leaf springs set up
Brakes are hydraulically operated drums all round
This configuration enabled the car to reach 100mph in its day
The current owner attests to the car driving very well indeed
It is reported that everything works as expected with no known issues
The under-bonnet presentation appears to be good overall
The underside of the car appears to be in good order for a car approaching 70 years old
With the passing of time Armstrong Siddeley has, perhaps, become less well known for its luxury cars than contemporaries from Rolls Royce, Bentley, Daimler and Jaguar. This is unfortunate, perhaps, but does present an opportunity to luxuriate in a British built, stately limousine that offers an excellent value proposition.
This example looks amazing in its two-tone paintwork complete with rear spats and imposing and chrome-heavy front end. This is certainly a car to make an entrance in, yet in a less obvious and more considered way than some of its contemporaries. This is reported to be a useable and enjoyable classic limousine and an exciting and interesting ownership proposition.
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This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*
UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Car & Classic are run through an online HPI check. On the HPI report, this vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft. It is currently not covered by a finance agreement.
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1954 Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 346
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