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SNAPSHOT 117: Armstrong Siddeley Hurricane

This snapshot was taken, almost certainly in London, around the late 1960s or early 1970s.  The Ford Capri Mk 1 in the background dates it to 1968 or later.  It depicts an Armstrong Siddeley Hurricane: the first new car to be introduced by the British motor industry after the Second World War, launched on May 11 1945.  The Hurricane in this picture is a little later, because it has the slightly lowered bonnet line and stoneguards on the leading edges of its rear wings, both introduced in 1948.  Very few other changes were made from introduction to withdrawal of the model in 1953.

At a time when many ‘new’ British cars were warmed-over versions of pre-war designs, the Hurricane, and its saloon sister the Lancaster, were virtually new from front to back, with independent front suspension for the first time on an Armstrong Siddeley, using torsion bars.  Only the engine was a reworked version of the pre-war 16hp.

In September 1946 the range was joined by the fixed-head version of the Hurricane, the Typhoon.  Both Hurricane and Typhoon were made entirely in the Armstrong Siddeley factory, because they were virtually identical.  However, such was the demand for the new cars, the Lancaster bodies were bought in from Mulliners of Birmingham.

The six-cylinder in-line overhead-valve engine came in two forms: the 2-litre 16hp and the 2.3-litre 18hp.  The 18hp engine arrived in 1949 with the introduction of the Station Coupe and the Utility Coupe.  At the time, the Station Coupe was a remarkably innovative vehicle, with a long cab with seating in two rows for up to 6 people, and a relatively modest ‘pickup’ load area behind.  The Utility Coupe was a more conventional pickup.  Both Station and Utility Coupes were for export only, many being sold to Australia, and initially only export vehicles were fitted with the 18hp engine.  By 1950, the 18hp engine took over completely.

2,606 Hurricanes of various types were made, and today it is considered by enthusiasts to be the most desirable of all the 16/18hp post-war Armstrong Siddeleys.  If, however, we could go back in time to London, it is very probable that the owner was then still using it as ordinary everyday transport – and taking advantage of a fine day to leave the hood down.


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