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Armstrong Siddely 16hp - 18hp models
our thanks to www.siddeley.com  by John Peatling


Armstrong Siddeley Motors was the first company in the UK to introduce a new range of cars after the Second World War. An article in "The Motor" magazine on the 9th May 1945, the day following VE day, announced "an entirely new 16 h.p. Armstrong Siddeley car". Sadly and otherwise good car was spoiled by the lack of performance from the engine.

The various models within the range offer the present day enthusiast a practical usable 4/5 seater classic car. They were produced from 1945 until 1954 offering a variety of body options, initially the only model was a two door drop head

The first two cars produced were delivered to America and formed the basis of a fascinating article in "The Autocar" (March 22 & 29, 1946) in which the cars were driven from New York to Los Angeles. In February 1946 a four door saloon, the Lancaster, was introduced, with the body being coachbuilt by Mulliners Ltd. In September 1946 a further variation appeared as the Typhoon Sports Saloon, basically a Hurricane with a fixed hard top.

At the 1949 Earls Court motor show the 4 light Whitley (later to be offered in 6 light configuration) was displayed, it offered more back seat room than the Lancaster and was made in-house. All these cars were named after the very successful aircraft that the Hawker Siddeley group built during the Second World War. In response to the Governments cry "export or die" two pick-ups were eventually included in the range and were aimed specifically at the export market, particularly in Australia. The Utility Coupe was of conventional lay out with a front seat whilst the Station Coupe had an extended cab enabling two more (small!) people to be seated behind. Late in 1950 a limited number of extended chassis' were produced and fitted with Limousine or Landaulet bodies. The following table shows the number of cars produced with each body style:-

Whitley 4 light
Whitley 6 light
Utility Coupe
Station Coupe

Chassis only

Drop-head coupe


6 (The Tempest was a 4 door version of the Typhoon)


1 (by Hooper)


A total of almost twelve and a half thousand chassis' fitted with the various bodies mentioned above were produced during the eight or so years of production. Known survivors world wide of all the models number 921 as at January 2004.

Other than the Limousines etc all the models were based on the same chassis which is a strong cruciform lay-out incorporating independent front suspension via longitudinal torsion bars. Additional dampers were added to the front suspension of those cars being exported and eventually became standard fitment on all models. The brakes (except on the Limousines which has a fully hydraulic Lockheed system) are Girling hydro-mechanical. The front leading/trailing self adjusting shoes are operated via a "floating" master cylinder which in turn pulls on a system of rods to apply the rear mechanical brakes. This design offers a fail safe operation should the hydraulic system develop a leak.

The range was initially powered by a 16hp (2 litre) engine; but this was revised to 18hp (2.3 litre) in 1949 and gradually introduced to all models. The in-line 6 cylinder OHV engine is of a long stroke and consequently very flexible to drive. The valves are operated via hydraulic tappets although towards the end of the model run the suppliers (Lockheeds) ceased production of these units and solid tappets were introduced. The increased capacity of the 18hp engine is achieved with a larger bore size and uses wet sleeve cylinder liners. The power increases from 70bhp to 75bhp and torque from 96lbs.ft. to 108lbs.ft., a significant improvement.

Two gearbox options were available, a conventional four speed manual box with synchromesh on 2nd 3rd and top, and a Wilson preselector box. The latter is a very interesting unit developed pre-war by the Self Changing Gears company, as its name implies a gear is selected in advance via a hand lever and then the change pedal (in-lieu of the conventional clutch pedal) is depressed to complete the engagement. Smooth fast changes are possible and versions were used on military Tanks, London Transport buses and a variety of sports and racing cars produced by other companies.

By 21st century standards the cars are low geared but are quite capable of coping with conditions on modern main roads, but less so with those prevailing on motorways. A number of manual gearbox cars have been retro-fitted with overdrive units and this makes for more restful driving at higher speeds. Unleaded petrol can be used with a suitable additive and consumption in the range 20 - 25 mpg is achievable depending on road conditions and driving style. Brakes are powerful if properly maintained but the limitations of drum brakes should always be recognised in very hilly country.

1949 Armstrong Siddeley Hurricane Coupe

Wheelbase 2921 mm 115 in  
Length 4725 mm 186 in  
Width 1727 mm 68 in  
Height 1550 mm 61 in  
Kerb weight 1412 kg 3113 lb  
Type S-6
12 valves total
2 valves per cylinder
Bore stroke 70.00mm 100.00mm
2.76 in 3.94 in
Bore/Stroke ratio 0.7
Displacement 2309 cc
(140.904 cu in)
Unitary capacity 384.83 cc/cylinder
Compression ratio 6.50:1
Fuel system 1 St carb
Aspiration Normal
Max. output 76 PS (75.0 bhp) (55.9 kW)
@4200 rpm
Max. torque 145.0 Nm (107 lbft) (14.8 kgm)
@3000 rpm
Coolant Water
Specific output 32.5 bhp/litre
0.53 bhp/cu in
Specific torque 62.8 Nm/litre
Power-to-weight 53.12 bhp/ton
Engine location Front
Engine alignment Longitudinal
Suspension Front I.TB.
Rear LA.SE.
Transmission 4M
Drive RWD
Top gear ratio 1.00
Final drive ratio 5.10