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This Armstrong Siddeley 234 was first registered on 2nd March 1956 to High Duty Alloys Limited of Slough which was a Siddeley subsidiary company producing aluminium parts for aircrafts. The car spent most of its subsequent life in the Birmingham area, including the 29 year period from 1960 - 1989 with the Barber family before being acquired by the most recent owner in 2008, a long standing customer of ours who has spent in excess of £14000 on the car.
By 1953/54, the Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 346 had been successfully established and the factory was free to design a car to satisfy the traditional medium sized car market. Other companies were producing similar designs at the time, notably the Jaguar 2.4, the Singer Hunter and the Morris Isis. At the 1955 Motor Show, the public was surprised to see two new Sapphire models on the Armstrong Siddeley stand alongside the larger Sapphire. The new models - often labelled the "baby" Sapphires were a radical departure from the traditional Armstong Siddeley appearance and were possibly too advanced in style for what was still a fairly conservative era. The 234 and 236 models were an outstanding design, but were not a commercial success. The total production run of 1,406 (803 234s and 603 236s) over the three year period from 1956 to 1958 illustrates the point. Wire wheels were an optional extra as was overdrive as fitted to this example. The seats were mainly trimmed in ICI vinyl with an exception of woven nylon inserts fort both cushion and squabs. Full leather trim was available as an unadvertised optional extra.
The 234 was considerably lighter than its bigger brother, the 346 but only had 5bhp less, a combination which made the car a real flier; it was also much more powerful than the 236. With the cars aerodynamics, shape and taut suspension, the engine coupled with the sweet all syncromesh gearbox, meant that you had nothing short of a sportscar, appearance notwithstanding. The 234 has consequently often been described as wolf in sheep's clothing, a highway eater and yet docile in traffic.
The 234 and 236 Sapphires must be amongst the most underappreciated cars ever to have been produced, technically and practically successful, yet largely overlooked. Compounding the small production run is the low survival rate of approximately 350 of the 1,406 produced.
XPP 315 is a beautifully detailed example in exceptional mechanical condition. The last owner bought the vehicle in good, useable condition four years ago but the £14000 plus expenditure has made this 234 into a wonderful car to both look at and drive. The Armstrong Siddeley has been present on the Yorkshire show scene and recently completed the Armstrong Siddeley Diamond Jubilee club run from Sandringham to Windsor. XPP 315 performed faultlessly on the 500 mile plus journey as expected having had such expenditure and fine attention to detail. The car has been finished to a very high standard and everything works, including the radio. XPP 315 comes with a wonderful, comprehensive history that includes buff logbook that confirms the car was originally a 236 (engine changed), all receipts and invoices for recent expenditure, 1955 Armstrong Siddeley price card, parts prices, brochure and Mike Hawthorn road test report from the Sunday Express London, November 11th 1956.
XPP 315 has an excellent body with sharp paintwork and excellent chrome. The upholstery is fabulous and both the engine bay and boot area are nicely detailed. The wire wheels and tyres are excellent and this 234 has come to us with a current MOT test showing no advisories. Recent mechanical work includes new track rod ends, all new shock absorbers, new front and rear anti roll bar link bushes, rebuilt master cylinder, new servo, new brake shoes, brake pistons, wheel cylinders, brake flexi pipes, new rear gearbox mounting, new clutch reservoir tank, SU carbs, kenlowe fan, new overdrive unit and solenoid, new distributor, coil, rotor arm and condenser and general servicing. Further work includes re-trimming seats, minor paintwork, electrical system overhaul and check, various re-wiring, all gauges checked and repaired as necessary, interior light repaired, dash lights checked and replaced as necessary, window mechanisms checked and repaired as necessary and leather parcel shelf panel fitted. The list of work continues and shows what attention to detail has been put into this delightfully rare and useable car.
This is a very rare opportunity to purchase a stunning Armstrong Siddeley 234 Sapphire that has been hugely improved over four years with no expense spared. The car is ideal for long distance touring and taking to shows. XPP 315 can be driven and enjoyed with full confidence, the car has already proven reliability and finding a similar car will prove very difficult.