Senior Specialist, Head of Department, UK
The origins of the Siddeley marque may be traced back to 1892 when John Davenport Siddeley, a former racing cyclist for Humber, joined the latter as its sole designer. After a spell with The Pneumatic Tyre Company (late known as Dunlop), Siddeley set up his own Clipper tyre company in Coventry. Resigning from Clipper in 1901, he became the UK importer for Peugeot motor cars. The following year he set up the Siddeley Autocar Company, whose first product, perhaps not surprisingly, showed a strong Peugeot influence. Both the chassis and engine were imported at this time, but Siddeley wanted to free himself of foreign dependence and produce a wholly British car. Thus it came about that the first 'proper' Siddeley motor cars were manufactured by Wolseley and assembled by Vickers, JDS having concluded a deal with Wolseley's parent company, Vickers Sons & Maxim.
These early British-built Siddeleys incorporated many advanced features, having vertical engines (rather than horizontal), aluminium cylinder blocks, and shaft drive. Impressed by Siddeley's products, Wolseley took over his company early in 1905, keeping John on as Sales Manager. From then until 1910 these vertical-engined cars were marketed under the Wolseley-Siddeley brand name. By then John Siddeley had left to join the Deasy company, giving rise to the Siddeley-Deasy marque. When Siddeley-Deasy was taken over by Armstrong Whitworth & Co in 1919, the motor manufacturing side of the business was reorganised as Armstrong-Siddeley.
Known as the 'Green Goddess' (named after the brass pixie mascot on the bonnet), this early Siddeley is the only known survivor of approximately 31 12hp cars built during this period. Pictured in Ray Cook's book, Armstrong Siddeley – the Parkside story (page 11), 'H 1864' is powered by a vertical twin-cylinder engine featuring an aluminium block and mechanical valves, while the cylinder liners and heads are cast-iron. Lubrication is by total loss, and the engine's operating range is between 80 and 1,800rpm.
The gearbox contains four forward speed plus reverse. Both the foot and hand brakes operate on the rear wheels only. The rear-mounted 8-gallon fuel tank is pressurised initially by a hand pump, switching to exhaust gas pressurisation when the engine is running. An exhaust cut-out valve is fitted. The car has a top speed of 28mph and returns around 20 miles per gallon.
In 1993, the Siddeley was purchased by the lady vendor's late husband from Mrs R V Hazell via agent Mr A J Cousins, who was brother-in-law of the late George Hazell, the car's owner for several decades. At the time of purchase the buyer, Mr Baxendale, noted that the car required a repaint, radiator repair, brake overhaul and a full mechanical check. The Siddeley was a two-seater at that time, but it is understood to have had a tonneau body originally (according to the Dating Certificate). Subsequently a new rear-entrance tonneau body was fabricated by Bryan Goodman and then painted and trimmed (drawings and bills on file). The car had completed a few London-Brighton Runs with Mr Baxendale (a committed and enthusiastic Armstrong Siddeley Club member) prior to his untimely death in the late 1990s. Since then the car has been run regularly on the London-Brighton Run by family and Club members, even transporting Fiona Bruce one year for an edition of Antiques Roadshow. It last completed the London-Brighton Run in 2019 and has not be used since.
The car comes with history files containing, among other documents, a hand-written list of L-B entries dating back to 1946; a duplicate VCC Dating Certificate (No. 111); the 1993 bill of sale; a V5C Registration Certificate; assorted correspondence; and a quantity of old MoTs and invoices.
This Lot is available to view at 101 New Bond Street from Friday 28th October to Friday 4th November during normal business hours
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