A luxury you can afford - Armstrong Siddely Sapphire

By: Guy Allen, Unique Cars magazine

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Serious 1950s Brit limo for under $10k

A luxury you can afford - Armstrong Siddely Sapphire
Lots of Brit limo on offer here.

It says something about the depth of the pool of muscle and classic cars on this site that you can trip over something like this.

It's a 1954 Armstrong Siddely Sapphire 346, on the market for $9500. (At the time of writing there were two Armstrong Siddeleys on our site, one is a re-powered version.)

Back when it was new, this was a limousine - among the finest the English could produce - and a fairly powerful car, the 3.4 litre straight six claiming 125 horses in this single-carburettor form, and a heady 150 in dual-carb set-up. Even in its lower spec, it would have managed 90mph (140km/h). The twin-carburettor cars could touch 100mph (160km/h).

Its owner says it's semi-automatic, which we interpret as meaning it has the four-speed pre-select transmission - effectively a semi-auto and a fascinating feature to use. Transmissions of this style had been in common usage for at least a couple of decades by then.

The idea is you preselect the next gear with an arm (like an indicator arm) on the side of the steering column and then briefly dip the clutch pedal to make it shift. It's actually a pretty civilised way to drive.

Seating is done in leather and much of the trim in walnut. We particularly like the rear wheel spats.

We're pretty sure this was the last generation to feature the 'Sphinx of Silence' bonnet mascot - but are willing to stand corrected on that count.

This example claims there is no serious rust and all the mechanicals are good.

Okay, maybe you have to be of a fifties nut to appreciate it, but we reckon it potentially (so long as it checks out) packs a lot of punch for the asking price.

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