100 years of Armstrong Siddeley

By: Unique Cars magazine

armstrong siddeley 2 armstrong siddeley 2

A happy history of manufacturing diversity


Armstrong Siddeley turns 100

The story of the once upmarket Armstrong Siddeley brand has so many twists and turns that it’s hard to keep up. Inevitably it became entangled with other famous motoring marques of the 20th century and was distinguished by its eventual close relationship with numerous famous aviation names along the way. Think Hawker, Avro, Sopwith, Vickers – the list goes on.

Founder of the motoring lineage was one John Davenport Siddeley, who began making cars in a modest way from around 1902. They were using Peugeot mechanicals with English-built bodies – mixed parentage such as this was a common enough story in the emerging motoring industry.


Siddeley was encouraged to drop his own efforts for a while and become involved in the management of the Wolseley group (then a Vickers subsiduary), which he did with considerable success. From there he moved to the Deasy Motor Manufacturing Company and ended up with his own name on the product – Siddeley Deasy.

The Deasy name was soon to sink without trace, but it did lead to an ongoing legacy. One of the firm’s claims to fame was its cars were "as quiet as the Sphinx". That somehow turned into a Sphinx bonnet mascot, which stayed with Siddeley cars for decades.


A takeover by the Armstrong company in 1919 finally led to the Armstrong Siddeley brand appearing; it was the one that lasted. It was a surprisingly diverse company, producing aero engines and, eventually, whole aircraft.

Yet another round of mergers in 1960, this time into the Bristol aircraft company (also a car producer), effectively saw the Armstrong Siddeley marque disappear. However the Hawker Siddeley name survived in the aircraft industry for another decade or so.



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