Armstrong Siddeley Motor Cars and Aircraft engines 1919-1960

Armstrong Siddeley
Industry Motor cars
Aircraft enginesLight engineering
Fate Merged with Hawker Aircraft(1935)
Merged with Bristol Aero Engines (1960)
became Bristol Siddeley Merged with Rolls-Royce(1966)
Successor Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club Ltd
Founded 1919
Defunct 1960
Headquarters Coventry, England
Key people
John Davenport Siddeley
Parent Armstrong Whitworth (1919–27)
Subsidiaries Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft(1927–35)

Armstrong Siddeley was a British engineering group that operated during the first half of the 20th century. It was formed in 1919 and is best known for the production of luxury vehicles and aircraft engines.

The company was created following the purchase by Armstrong Whitworth of Siddeley-Deasy, a manufacturer of fine motor cars, that were marketed to the top echelon of society. After the merge of companies this focus on quality continued throughout in the production of cars, aircraft engines, gearboxes for tanks and buses, rocket and torpedo motors, and the development of railcars. Company mergers and takeovers with Hawker Aviation and Bristol Aero Engines saw the continuation of the car production but the production of cars ceased in August 1960.

The company was absorbed into the Rolls-Royce conglomerate who were interested in the aircraft and aircraft engine business. Eventually the remaining spares and all motor car interests were sold to the Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club Ltd, who now own the patents, designs, copyrights and trademarks, including the name Armstrong Siddeley.


Siddeley Autocars

Siddeley Autocars, of Coventry, was founded by John Davenport Siddeley (1866–1953) in 1902. Its products were heavily based on Peugeots, using many of their parts but fitted with English-built bodies. This company merged with Wolseley in 1905 and made stately Wolseley-Siddeley motorcars. They were used by Queen Alexandra and the Duke of York later King George V.


1913-siddeley-deasy1913 Siddeley Deasy

Main article: Siddeley-Deasy

In 1909 J. D. Siddeley resigned from Wolseley and took over the Deasy Motor Company, and the company became known as Siddeley-Deasy. In 1912, the cars used the slogan “As silent as the Sphinx” and started to sport a Sphinx as a bonnet ornament, a symbol that became synonymous with descendent companies. During the Second World War the company produced trucks, ambulances, and staff cars. In 1915 airframes and aero-engines started to be produced as well.

1919-armstrong-siddeley1919 armstrong siddeley

Armstrong Siddeley


Armstrong Siddeley 30HP Landaulette advert 1921
Armstrong Siddeley 30HP Landaulette advert 1921 1921 5-litre 30hp Landaulette Advert

1950-armstrong-siddeley-station-coupe1952-armstrong-siddeley-coupe-utility-fair-dinkum-aussie-uteCoupé utility for the postwar export drive

In April 1919 Siddeley-Deasy was bought out by Armstrong Whitworth Development Company of Newcastle upon Tyne and in May 1919 became Armstrong Siddeley Motors Ltd, a subsidiary with J. D. Siddeley as managing director. In 1927, Armstrong Whitworth merged its heavy engineering interests with Vickers to form Vickers-Armstrongs. At this point, J. D. Siddeley bought Armstrong Siddeley and Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft into his control. In 1928, Armstrong Siddeley Holdings bought


Avro from Crossley Motors. Also that year Siddeley partnered with Walter Gordon Wilson, inventor of the pre-selector gearbox, to create Improved Gears Ltd, which later became Self-Changing Gears – the gearbox that should be credited with enabling the marketing tagline “Cars for the daughters of gentlemen”.

Armstrong Siddeley manufactured luxury cars, aircraft engines, and later, aircraft. In 1935, J. D. Siddeley’s interests were purchased for £2 million by Tommy Sopwith owner of Hawker Aircraft to form – along with the Gloster Aircraft Company and Air Training Services – Hawker Siddeley, a famous name in British aircraft production. Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft became a subsidiary of Hawker. The aviation pioneer Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith– Tommy, later Sir Thomas, Sopwith – became chairman of Armstrong Siddeley Motors, a Hawker Siddeley subsidiary.

Armstrong Siddeley was merged with the aircraft engine business of Bristol Aeroplane Company (Bristol Aero Engines) to form Bristol Siddeley as part of an ongoing rationalisation under government influence of the British aircraft and aircraft engine manufacturers. Armstrong Siddeley produced their last cars in 1960. Bristol Siddeley and Rolls-Royce merged in 1966, the latter subsuming the former which remained for a while as an aircraft engine division within Rolls-Royce.

In June 1972, Rolls-Royce (1972) Ltd sold all the stock of spares plus all patents, specifications, drawings, catalogues and the name of Armstrong Siddeley Motors Ltd to the Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club Ltd. This meant that “Armstrong Siddeley” and “A-S Sphinx Logo” are trademarks and copyright of the Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club Ltd.

The “Siddeley” name survived a while longer in aviation; in Hawker Siddeley Aviation and Hawker Siddeley Dynamics before they joined with others to become British Aerospace (BAe) which with further mergers is now BAE Systems.



Motor cars

The first car produced from the union was a fairly massive machine, a 5-litre 30 hp. A smaller 18 hp appeared in 1922 and a 2-litre 14 hp was introduced in 1923. 1928 saw the company’s first 15 hp six; 1929 saw the introduction of a 12 hp vehicle. This was a pioneering year for the marque, during which it first offered the Wilson preselector gearbox as an optional extra; it became standard issue on all cars from 1933. In 1930 the company marketed four models, of 12, 15, 20, and 30 hp, the last costing £1450.

The company’s rather staid image was endorsed during the 1930s by the introduction of a range of six-cylinder cars with ohv engines, though a four-cylinder 12 hp was kept in production until 1936. In 1933, the 5-litre six-cylinder Siddeley Special was announced, featuring a Hiduminium aluminium alloy engine; this model cost £950. Car production continued at a reduced rate throughout 1940, and a few were assembled in 1941.

The week that World War II ended in Europe, Armstrong Siddeley introduced its first post-war models; these were the Lancaster four-door saloon and the Hurricane drophead coupe. The names of these models echoed the names of aircraft produced by the Hawker Siddeley Group (the name adopted by the company in 1935) during the war. These cars all used a 2-litre six-cylinder (16 hp) engines, increased to 2.3-litre (18 hp) engines in 1949. From 1949 to 1952 two commercial variants of the 18 hp cars were produced, primarily for export. The Utility Coupé was a conventional coupe utility style vehicle, while the Station Coupé was effectively a dual cab vehicle, although it still retained only two doors. However, it did have two rows of seating to accommodate up to four adults. From 1953 the company produced the Sapphire, with a 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine.

In 1956, the model range was expanded with the addition of the 234 (a 2.3-litre four-cylinder) and the 236 (with the older 2.3-litre six-cylinder engine). The Sapphire 346 sported a bonnet mascot in the shape of a Sphinx with namesakearmstrongsiddeleysapphireArmstrong Siddeley Sapphire jet engines attached. The 234 and 236 Sapphires might have looked to some of marque’s loyal customers like a radical departure from the traditional Armstrong Siddeley appearance. However, in truth, they were simply too conservative in a period of rapidly developing automotive design. If the “baby Sapphire” brought about the beginning of the end for Armstrong Siddeley, it was because Jaguar had launched the unitary-construction 2.4 saloon in 1955, which was quicker, significantly cheaper, and much better-looking than the lumpy and frumpy 234/236 design.

The last model produced by Armstrong Siddeley was 1958’s Star Sapphire, with a 4-litre engine, and automatic transmission. The Armstrong Siddeley was a casualty of the 1960 merger with Bristol; the last car left the Coventry factory in 1960.

Model list

Cars produced by Armstrong Siddeley had designations that came from the Tax horsepower rating of their engines.

1947-armstrong-siddeley-lancaster-16hp1947 Lancaster six-light saloon1949-armstrong-siddeley-whitley1949-armstrong-whitley1949 Whitley four-light sports saloon

1950 Armstrong Siddeley Typhoon Typhoon fixed head coupé

1947-armstrong-siddeley-dvla-2300cc-manf-19471947 Armstrong Siddeley (DVLA) 2300cc

Hurricane drophead coupé

Model name Type Engine From To No. produced
Thirty Various 4960 cc 1919 1931 2770
Eighteen Various 2400 cc 1921 1925 2500 inc 18/50
18/50 or 18 Mk.II Various 2872 cc 1925 1926 2500 inc Eighteen
Four-Fourteen Various 1852 cc 1923 1929 13,365
Twenty Short and Long chassis 2872 cc 1926 1936 8847
Fifteen Tourer, saloon 1900 cc 1927 1929 7203 inc 15/6
Twelve Tourer, saloon, sports 1236 (1434 cc from 1931) 1929 1937 12500
15/6 Tourer, saloon, sports 1900 cc (2169 cc from 1933) 1928 1934 7206 inc Fifteen
Siddeley Special Tourer, saloon, limousine 4960 cc 1933 1937 253
Short 17 Coupe, saloon, sports saloon 2394 cc 1935 1938 4260 inc Long 17
Long 17 Saloon, tourer, Atalanta sports saloon, Limousine, landaulette 2394 cc 1935 1939 4260 inc Short 17
12 Plus & 14 Saloon, tourer 1666 cc 1936 1939 3750
20/25 Saloon, tourer, Atlanta sports saloonLimousine, landaulette 3670 cc 1936 1940 884
16 Saloon, Sports saloon 1991 cc 1938 1941 950
Lancaster 16 4-door saloon 1991 cc 1945 1952 3597 inc Lancaster 18.
Lancaster 18 4-door saloon 2309 cc 1945 1952 3597 inc. Lancaster 16.
Hurricane 16 Drophead coupé 1991 cc 1945 1953 2606 inc Hurricane 18.
Hurricane 18 Drophead coupé 2309 cc 1945 1953 2606 inc. Hurricane 16.
Typhoon 2-door fixed-head coupé 1991 cc 1946 1949 1701.
Tempest 4-door fixed-head coupé 1991 cc 1946 1949 6.
Whitley 18 Various 2309 cc 1949 1953 2624.
Sapphire 346 4-door saloon & Limousine 3435 cc 1952 1958 7697
Sapphire 234 4-door saloon 2290 cc 1955 1958 803
Sapphire 236 4-door saloon 2309 cc 1955 1957 603
Star Sapphire Saloon & Limousine 3990 cc 1958 1960 980
Star Sapphire Mk II Saloon & Limousine 3990 cc 1960 1960 1

A feature of many of their later cars was the option of an electrically controlled pre-selector gearbox.


Like many British cars of the age, there are active owners’ clubs supporting their continued use in several countries, e.g. the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Germany. ASOC Ltd has members worldwide and many members of the ASCC in Australia are resident overseas. In the United Kingdom, the Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club Ltd publishes a monthly Members magazine “Sphinx”. In Australia, the Armstrong Siddeley Car Club publishes “Southern Sphinx” six times a year. In the Netherlands ASOC Dutch publishes also six times a year, and in New Zealand, Armstrong Siddeley Car Club in New Zealand Inc. publish “Sphinx-NZ” every month. Further details are available from the Membership Secretary, or via the ASOC Ltd and ASCC Australia websites.

Aircraft engines

1958-armstrong-siddeley-lynx-7-cylinder-radial-from-the-avro-618-ten-aircraft-southern-cloudArmstrong Siddeley Lynx 7 cylinder radial from theavro-618-tenAvro 618 Ten aircraft, Southern Cloud

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Armstrong Siddeley produced a range of low- and mid-power aircraft radial engines, all named after big cats. They also produced a tiny 2-cylinder engine called the Ounce, another name for the snow leopard, for ultralight aircraft.

The company started work on their first gas turbine engine in 1939, following the design pioneered at the Royal Aircraft Establishment by Alan Arnold Griffith. Known as the “ASX” for “Armstrong Siddeley eXperimental”, the original pure-turbojet design was later adapted to drive a propeller, resulting in the “ASP”. From then on, AS turbine engines were named after snakes. Thearmstrong-siddeley-mamba-asm3Armstrong Siddeley Mamba ASM3 Mamba andarmstrong-siddeley-double-mamba-aircraft-engineArmstrong Siddeley Double Mamba aircraft engine Double Mamba were turboprop engines, the latter being a complex piece of engineering with two side-by-side Mambas driving through a common gearbox, and could be found on thea-royal-navy-fairey-gannet-as-4A Royal Navy Fairey Gannet AS.4 Fairey Gannet. Thearmstrong-siddeley-python-during-naca-wind-tunnel-testing-in-1949Armstrong Siddeley Python during NACA wind tunnel testing in 1949 Python turboprop powered thewestland-wyvern-s-mk-4Westland Wyvern S Mk.4 Westland Wyvern strike aircraft. Further development of the Mamba removed the reduction gearbox to give the Adder turbojet.

Another pioneer in the production of the RAE engine design was Metrovick, who started with a design known as the Metrovick F.2. This engine never entered production, and Metrovick turned to a larger design, the Beryl, and then to an even larger design, the Sapphire. Armstrong Siddeley later took over the Sapphire design, and it went on to be one of the most successful 2nd generation jet engines, competing with the better-known Rolls-Royce Avon.

The company went on to develop an engine – originally for unmanned Jindivik target drones – called the Viper. This product was further developed by Bristol Siddeley and, later, Rolls-Royce and was sold in great numbers over many years. A range of rocket motors were also produced, including the Snarler and Stentor. The rocket development complemented that of Bristol, and Bristol Siddeley would become the leading British manufacturer of rocket engines for missiles.

Aero and rocket engines
year type
Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah 1935 7-cyl radial
Armstrong Siddeley Civet 1928 7-cylinder radial
Armstrong Siddeley Cougar 1945 9-cylinder radial not-produced
Armstrong Siddeley Deerhound 1935 21-cylinder 3-row in-line radial engine. Not produced
Armstrong Siddeley Genet 1926 5-cylinder radial
Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major 1928 radial
Armstrong Siddeley Hyena 1933 experimental 15-cylinder 3-row inline radial
Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar 1923 14-cylinder 2-row radial
Armstrong Siddeley Leopard 1927 14-cylinder, 2-row radial
Armstrong Siddeley Lynx 1920 radial
Armstrong Siddeley Mongoose 1926 5-cyl radial
Armstrong Siddeley Ounce 1920 2-cylinder opposed
Armstrong Siddeley Panther 1929 14-cylinder 2-row radial
Armstrong Siddeley Serval 1928 10-cylinder 2-row radial
Armstrong Siddeley Tiger 1932 14-cylinder 2-row radial supercharged
Armstrong Siddeley ASX 1945 axial flow turbojet
Armstrong Siddeley Python 1945 turboprop, also known as ASP
Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba 1949 Two Mamba linked by gearbox
Armstrong Siddeley Mamba 1946 turboprop
Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 1948 turbojet
Armstrong Siddeley Adder 1948 turbojet
Armstrong Siddeley Viper 1951 turbojet
Armstrong Siddeley Snarler 1950 rocket

Diesel engines

In 1946 Armstrong Siddeley produced their first diesel engines. They were medium-speed engines for industrial and agricultural use. Initially there was a single-cylinder engine producing 5 bhp (3.7 kW) at 900 rpm and a twin-cylinder version. Each cylinder had a capacity of 988 cm3 (60.2 cubic inches). The power output and speed was progressively increased. By the end of 1954 the single-cylinder engine was rated at 11 bhp (8.2 kW) at 1800 rpm and the twin-cylinder engine 22 bhp (16.4 kW) at the same speed. In 1955 the range was extended with the introduction of a 3-cylinder engine rated at 33 bhp (24.6 kW).

The engines were built at Armstrong Siddeley’s factory at Walnut Street, Leicester until that factory closed in August 1957. Production was transferred to the factory of Armstrong Siddeley (Brockworth) Ltd in Gloucestershire and in 1958 to the factory of Petters Limited at Staines, Middlesex. The engines built by Petters were designated AS1, AS2 and AS3 to distinguish them from that company’s other products. Production ended in 1962 when Petters introduced a replacement range of lightweight small high-speed air-cooled diesel engines.

In April 1958 the company obtained a licence to build the Maybach MD series high-speed diesel engines. Several hundred were built by Bristol Siddeley Engines Ltd after that company took over Armstrong Siddeley’s manufacturing activities in 1959.

See also



  1. Jump up^ Kay & Springate (2014), p. 18.
  2. Jump up^ Smith (2006), p. 494.
  3. Jump up^ RAC Rating
  4. Jump up^ Armstrong Siddeley Air-Cooled Diesel Engines by Sid Beck inStationary Engine April 1992 reprinted in Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust Sphinx newsletter 49, December 2001
  5. Jump up^ Armstrong Siddeley Motors, Minutes of Board Meeting, 1 October 1957
  6. Jump up^ Armstrong Siddeley Air Cooled Diesel Engines by Tom Smith in Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust Sphinx newsletter 54, 2004
  7. Jump up^ Armstrong Siddeley Motors, Minutes of Board Meetings, 2 April 1958 and 28 April 1958


  • Kay, David; Springate, Lynda (2014). Automotive Mascots: A Collector’s Guide to British Marque, Corporate & Accessory Mascots (eBook). Veloce Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84584-785-2.
  • Smith, Bill (2006). Armstrong Siddeley Motors, The cars, the company and the people in definitive detail. Veloce Publishing. p. 494. ISBN 978-1-904788-36-2.

Further reading

  • Robert Penn Bradly: Armstrong Siddeley, the Post War Cars; Motor Racing Publications, Croydon, 1989.
  • Robert Penn Bradly: The 346 Sapphire explored to great depth; Pimula PTY Pvt., Bardwell Park, NSW, 2008.
  • Bruce Lindsay: Armstrong Siddeley, the Sphinx with the heart of a lion; Lindsay family trust, Thailand, 2010.

External links

1904-siddeley-vvl 1904-wilson-pilcher 1908-armstrong-whitworth-28-36hp-touring 1911-armstrong-whitworth-18-22hp-landaulette 1913-siddeley-deasy 1919-armstrong-siddeley

Armstrong Siddeley 30HP Landaulette advert 1921
Armstrong Siddeley 30HP Landaulette advert 1921

1923-armstrong_whitworth_advertisement_brasseys_1923 1923-stoneleigh-3754149675 1924-armstrong-1924-04 1926-armstrong-siddeley-14-hp-convertible-coupe 1930-armstrong-siddeley-12-6 1930-armstrong-siddeley-12hp 1930-statelibqld-1-112632-southern-sun-an-avro-618-ten 1931-armstrong-siddeley-12-saloon 1932-armstrong-siddeley-20-sports-saloon-extra-long-special 1932-armstrong-siddeley-poelje 1933-armstrong-siddeley-special-4541440014 1934-armstrong-12-saloon 1934-armstrong-siddeley-12hp-coachbuilt-saloon-gr 1934-armstrong-siddeley-12hp-coachbuilt-saloon 1935-armstrong-siddeley-12hp-drop-head-coupe 1935-armstrong-siddeley-17hp-saloon 1935-armstrong-siddeley-17hp 1935-armstrong-siddeley-101a 1935-armstrong-siddeley-fourteen-saloon-dvla 1935-armstrong-siddeley-long-15 1935-armstrong-siddeley-long-20hp-limousine-landaulette 1935-armstrong-siddeley-saloon 1935-armstrong-whitworth-lms_5mt_45305_sir_wga_plate_1935_edited-2 1936-armstrong-siddeley-12 1936-armstrong-siddeley-20-sports-saloon

taken at Wisley Bus Rally 2010
taken at Wisley Bus Rally 2010

1937-armstrong-atalanta-25hp 1937-armstrong-siddeley-17-saloon-april 1937-armstrong-siddeley-atalanta-37 1938-armstrong-17hp-landaulette 1938-armstrong-siddeley-16 1938-armstrong-siddeley-17-saloon 1939-armstrong-siddeley-star-sapphire 1939-armstrong-siddley-station-coupe


1945-armstrong-lancaster 1946-armstrong-siddeley-hurricane-drophead 1946-armstrong-siddeley-hurricane 1946-armstrong-siddeley-hurricane-drophead-coupe-1946 1946-armstrong-siddeley-hurricane-drophead-coupe 1947-armstrong-siddeley-dvla-2300cc-manf-1947 1947-armstrong-siddeley-hurricane-2000cc 1947-armstrong-siddeley-lancaster-16hp 1948-armstrong-typhoon-lav342 1948-wyvern-prototype-with-the-rolls-royce-eagle-piston-engine 1949-armstrong-siddeley-whitley-4 1949-armstrong-siddeley-whitley 1949-armstrong-whitley 1950-armstrong-siddeley-lancaster-6-light-saloon-mulliner-max 1950-armstrong-siddeley-lancaster 1950-armstrong-siddeley-station-coupe


1950-wyvern-t-3 1951-armstrong-lav81 1951-armstrong-siddeley-eighteen 1951-armstrong-siddeley-landaulette-2309cc 1952-armstrong-sapphire 1952-armstrong-siddeley-coupe-utility-fair-dinkum-aussie-ute 1952-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire 1952-armstrong-siddeley-whitley-six-light-saloon 1953-armstrong-sapphire 1953-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-346-saloon 1953-armstrong-whitley-six-light-saloon 1953-wyvern-tf-2-being-demonstrated-at-the-farnborough%e2%80%85air%e2%80%85show-in-1953-by-a-westland-pilot 1954-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire 1954-armstrong-siddeley-star-sapphire-mkii 1954-armstrong-siddeley-whitley 1955-armstrong-sapphire-234 1955-armstrong-siddeley-october-advert 1955-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-234-saloon 1955-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-236 1955-wyvern-s-4-strike-aircraft-of-813%e2%80%85naval%e2%80%85air%e2%80%85squadron-at-rnas%e2%80%85stretton 1956-armstrong-346-limo 1956-armstrong-lav176 1956-armstrong-siddeley-cheetah-x 1956-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-236-6cyldvla 1956-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-236 1956-mk-1-armstrong-sapphire-chassis-c342943 1957-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire 1958-armstrong-siddeley-234-sapphire-mff-496 1958-armstrong-siddeley-lynx-7-cylinder-radial-from-the-avro-618-ten-aircraft-southern-cloud 1958-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-234 1958-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-236-in-black 1958-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-346-bw-1 1958-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-346-hearse-woodall-nicholson-series-ii 1959-armstrong-siddeley-mkii-star-sapphire 1959-armstrong-siddeley-star-sapphire-a 1959-armstrong-siddeley-star-sapphire-aa 1959-armstrong-siddeley-star-sapphire 1959-armstrong-siddleley-sapphire-346 1960-armstrong-siddeley-sapphire 1960-armstrong-siddeley-star-saphire-6-light-saloon 1960-armstrong-siddeley-star-sapphire-limousine 1960-armstrong-star-limo a-royal-navy-fairey-gannet-as-4 armstrong-siddeley-14hp-front armstrong-siddeley-civet armstrong-siddeley-double-mamba-aircraft-engine armstrong-siddeley-genet-aero-engine armstrong-siddeley-jaguar-aircraft-engine-at-the-science-museum-london armstrong-siddeley-mamba-asm3 armstrong-siddeley-mongoose armstrong-siddeley-poster-1 armstrong-siddeley-python-during-naca-wind-tunnel-testing-in-1949 armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-200-turbojet-aircraft-engine-photo-taken-at-the-raf-museum-cosford-shropshire-england armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-ad armstrong-siddeley-sapphire-open armstrong-siddeley-sapphire armstrong-siddeley-star-sapphire armstrong-siddeley-tiger-at-the-science-museum-london armstrong-siddeley-vf5664-010511-cps armstrong-siddeleys-sphinx armstrong_siddeley armstrong_siddeley_motif_-_flickr_-_exfordy armstrong_whitworth_catalogue_cover armstrong-siddeley-2 armstrong-siddeley-hurricane-11 armstrongsiddeleysapphire avro-618-ten avro bugatti-51-cockpit-with-wilson-preselector-gearbox emblem-wolseley-siddeley-v-s-m-copy hawker-siddeley hawkersiddeley-trident-516

taken at Wisley Bus Rally 2010
taken at Wisley Bus Rally 2010

martini-16hp-tonneau-am-steuer-h-h-p-deasy royal%e2%80%85air%e2%80%85force-hawker-siddeley-hawk-t-1a-with-its-pilot-this-aircraft-used-for-aerobatic-displays-is-in-a-special-colour-scheme sole-surviving-western-wyvern-tf-1-at-the-fleet%e2%80%85air%e2%80%85arm%e2%80%85museum westland-wyvern-s-mk-4 wyvern-s4-silh wyvern-a-tf-1-exhibited-outdoors-at-the-fleet-air-arm-museum-at-rnas%e2%80%85yeovilton-in-1971

armstrong_siddeley 1947-armstrong-siddeley-hurricane-2000cc

SAURER Buses Arbon Switserland 1903-1982


Adolph Saurer AG
Former type Public company
Industry Automotive,
Fate Merged with Franz Brozincevic & Cie into Nutzfahrzeuggesellschaft Arbon & Wetzikon (NAW)
Successors Saurer AG
Founded 1903
Defunct 1982
Headquarters Arbon, Switzerland
Key people Franz Saurer
Products Motor vehicles

Adolph Saurer AG based in Arbon, Switzerland was a manufacturer of trucks and buses under the Saurer and Berna (beginning in 1929) brand names, active between 1903 and 1982.

Saurer was very well known all around Europe in the years between World War I and World War II (1918–1939).

Especially, in World War 2 a modified version of Saurer trucks was sponsored by the Nazi and used to gas people in Chełmno


 1930 Saurer Car-Alpin

A Saurer Car-Alpin in 1930

In 1853 Franz Saurer (1806–1882) from Veringenstadt in Germany established an iron foundry for household goods near the Swiss town of Sankt Gallen. In 1863 he started a production of Jacquard sewing machines in Arbon, from 1869 together with his sons as company associates of F. Saurer & Söhne. In 1896 his eldest surviving son Adolph Saurer (1841–1920) took over the company, he and his son Hippolyt (1878–1936) developed the enterprise as a joint-stock company.

From 1896 Saurer also manufactured petrol engines and the next year Hippolyt Saurer initiated the production of a phaeton body automobile run by a one-cylinder opposed-piston engine. In 1902 a first four-cylinder T-head engine model with touring car and sedan chassis was built.

From 1903 onwards Saurer concentrated on the production of commercial vehicles which soon gained a good reputation. The company ran subsidiary companies in Austria (1906–1959, in the end taken over by Steyr-Daimler-Puch), France (1910–1956, taken over by Unic), the United Kingdom (1927–1931, taken over by Armstrong Whitworth), and in Germany (1915–1918, taken over by MAN). In Italy, the Officine Meccaniche (OM) manufacturer was for many years licensee of Saurer engines and other mechanical units, which they used in their own ranges of truck and buses. In Poland the state-owned Państwowe Zakłady Inżynieryjne produced license-built Saurer engines (powering, among others, the 7TP and 9TP tanks) and coach chassis used in the Zawrat bus.

In the United States, the Saurer Motor Truck Company, headed by C.P. Coleman, had the rights to manufacture and sell heavy trucks under the Saurer brand name at its plant in Plainfield, New Jersey (which commenced operations in November 1911). On September 23, 1911, the Saurer Motor Truck Company merged with the Mack Brothers Motor Car Company of Allentown, Pennsylvania, headed by J. M. Mack, to form the International Motor Truck Company (IMTC). IMTC would continue to make and sell trucks using the Saurer name until 1918. In 1922 IMTC would become Mack Trucks, Inc.

In 1929 Saurer acquired its Swiss rival, Motorwagenfabrik Berna AG of Olten, but the Berna name was allowed to continue, badging the very same Saurer models.

From 1932 on, trolleybuses were a very significant segment of Saurer production. Typically Saurer, or Berna, trolleybuses featured Brown, Boveri & Cie or Société Anonyme des Ateliers de Sécheron (SAAS) electric equipment and Carrosserie Hess bodies. Saurer trolleybuses operated in most of Central Europe countries, and still do it in several of them.

In World War 2 a restructured type BT 4500 and 5 BHw of Saurer trucks were used to gas people in the Nazi extermination camp of Chelmno.[3]

In 1951 Saurer and its Italian licensee, OM, reached an agreement by which Saurer would market in Switzerland OM’s light and medium-weight trucks and buses, using Saurer-OM and Berna-OM badges. This was successful and lasted until Saurer closure.


Declining sales in the early 1980s saw the two leading Swiss truck makers, Saurer and FBW (Franz Brozincevic & Cie of Wetzikon, Switzerland), forming a joint organization calledNutzfahrzeuggesellschaft Arbon & Wetzikon, proceeding with motorbus and trolleybus production under the NAW brand, while the last Saurer-badged truck sold in the open market was delivered in 1983. Four years later, in 1987, a model 10DM supplied to the Swiss Army meant the very last Saurer truck produced in history.

In 1982 Daimler-Benz had acquired a major shareholding in NAW and soon took full control; and in a short time dropped Saurer, Berna and FBW brands, while using NAW premises to assemble heavy haulage versions of Mercedes-Benz trucks.

Eventually NAW went into liquidation in early 2003.

The textile and automotive spin-offs

In 1995, Ernst Thomke, reputed Swiss Manager, took over the leadership of Saurer AG in Arbon as Chairman of the Board. To restructure this conglomerate, he had previously abandoned his position with its then major shareholder: BB Industrie Holding AG (22%). The previous major shareholder, Tito Tettamanti, of the conglomerate, founded in 1853, specialized in textile machinery and “propulsion technology”, had acquired the main competitor in each field, Schlafhorst, with a large manufacturing capacity excess and Ghidela.

Thomke led actively Saurer AG until 1996, when he retired to the direction of the Board until 1999. In his years he promulgated transparency at all levels, flexible working hours, optimized the production and refined accounting systems. In 1996, the group Saurer AG went back into financial results showing profits. More than half of the revenues originating from Schlafhorst, upon its positive restructuring.

Doflug D-3802A

A Doflug D-3802A powered by aSaurer YS-2 aero-engine.


Saurer also produced the YS-2 and YS-3 aero-engines, closely related to the Hispano-Suiza 12Y series of engines designed and built in France, to power the Doflug D-3802 and Doflug D-3803 fighters.

Oerlikon Textile

Since 2007, the conglomerate Saurer AG, which meanwhile had reached a worldwide leading status in textile machinery, has been integrated into the Oerlikon Corporation (see: Oerlikon Textile )

Oerlikon-Saurer Textile is a manufacturer of systems for spinning, texturizing, twisting and embroidery.

Oerlikon-Saurer “Graziano Trasmissioni

Also since 2007, the remaining Saurer AG automative part, “Graziano Trasmissioni”, a manufacturer of gear, gear groups and complete transmission systems for agricultural, earth moving and special vehicles as well as for four wheel drive passenger cars and luxury sport cars has also been integrated into the Oerlikon Corporation. (see: [2] Oerlikon Drive Systems)

Gallery of Saurer, Berna and NAW vehicles

1853 SAURER(CH) (1) saurer-reisewagen saurer-n4c-komet-01 Saurer-Hess-Secheron 91GTS 536 saurer-busse-oldtimer-02b-100032 saurer-busse-oldtimer-02b-100031 saurerbus-salzburg-094jpg_29689 saurer-bus-ex-svb-nr91-55870 saurer-bus-06 saurer-bus-(suisse)--12461 Saurer-Bus Salzburg Seitenansicht saurer-airport-coach-01 saurer_logo_200x200 Saurer_logo Saurer_im-Schnee-1 Saurer Saurer zurck-zur-oldtimer-auswahl_23acb Saurer VH Saurer V2C44 met Krapf opbouw Saurer Tüscher 3DUK-50 index Saurer Tannkosh-2008n Saurer Saurer Saurer RH525-23 Saurer RH525 Postbus Saurer Omnibus L 4 C Saurer N2C-H met Geser carrosserie saurer k550-23 Saurer de la C.G.T.E. Série Saurer Cover Suisser Saurer bussen in Nederland. de RET 329

© R.J.M.v.d. Zant

saurer bus Saurer Bus Photo SAURER Boekje (CH) (1-a) Saurer Bern Extrawagen SAURER A926t67 SAURER a Saurer 3359779998_28c431674c SAURER 26838547 SAURER 3055 SAURER 29 Mini Campingnachbere us em Emmental mit eme bsundrige Saurer Wohnmobil SAURER 24 CT 3D belle-clot Saurer 5GF-U (M 3781) Saurer 4IILM in Gdynia Saurer 4IILM historic trolleybus in Gdynia Saurer 3DUX Saurer 2 SAURER (CH) (5) SAURER (CH) (4) SAURER (CH) (3) SAURER (CH) (2) Sauer N2C-H mit Geser carr Sauer 3 CT 3D 1954 Grindler carr. Belle-Clot 1984 sats saurer coach mln261w seapoint 1982 saurer-bus-bogota 1982 SAURER RH 300 1981 SAURER K5 rer 1968 saurer3dux68 1964-SAURER_904 1964 Saurer P 23219 6 1962 Saurer 4CT1D Saurer carr Den Oudsten GTW 360 1962 Saurer 4CT1D Saurer carr Den Oudsten GTW 355 1962 Saurer 4CT1D Saurer carr Den oudsten GTW 352 1960 Saurer-5-GF-U-Hauber-Ueberlbus-Radevormwalder 1957 Saurer P 19992 1955 Saurer-Arbon Gesellschaftswagen CT 2 D 1954 Saurer-Hainje foto van Jan Voerman RET 1954 Saurer Vienna 1954 1953 Saurer-Hainje Jan Voerman RET Breeweg 1953 Saurer, L4CT 2D R&J 1953 Saurer 5GFO 1952 Saurer 1952 Saurer N4C-H-CT2D carr. Hainje  NB-69-68

© R.J.M.v.d. Zant

1951 Saurer 3 C-H with Ramseier & Jenzer 1951 SAURER 3 C H R&J 310 1950 Saurer, L4CT 2D Ramseier & Jenzer 1950 SAURER L4C-CT2d 860 1949 Saurer 4CT1D carr Verheul GTW 380 de Steeg 1949 Saurer 4CT1D carr Verheul GTW 377 1949 Saurer 4CT1D carr Verheul GTW 372 1949 1949 Saurer 4CT1D carr Verheul GTW 370  1949 1949 Saurer 4CT1D carr Verheul GTW 368 Dieren 1949 Saurer 4CT1D  carr Verheul GTW 378 1949 Saurer 4CT1D  carr Verheul GTW 373 1949 Saurer 3C DI ROSA Frankreich SAUER CT 1 D 6cyl 7970cc 1948 Saurer, 4CT1D-H Seitz 1948 Saurer RET 1948 Saurer 4C RET 223 1948 Saurer 4C - Seitz  RET 223 1947 Saurer 4CT 1D carr Verheul GTW 185 1947 Saurer 4CT 1D carr Verheul GTW 184 1947 Saurer 4CT 1D carr Verheul GTW 183 1947 Saurer 4CT 1D carr Verheul GTW 182 1947 Saurer 4CT 1D carr Verheul GTW 181 1947 Saurer 4C-H CT 1D Verheul RET 208 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 200 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 197 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 196 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 194 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 192 1947 Saurer 4 CT 1D carr Seitz GTW 191 1947 1947 Saurer 3ct1d orlandi gd Belle Clot 1939 Saurer P 1601 hummeli 1939 Saurer Lith 1937 Saurer Deiters 1933 SAURER kh 1932 SAURER TL.22 527 1932 Saurer BLD n° 22 Lausanne 1932 ATO Saurer 1931 Saurer-Verheul  008aa 1931 Saurer Verheul 1931 Saurer - Werkspoor, Zuilen A'dam 1930s Saurer bus, Zurich, Switzerland 1930 saurer-4-bl-po-01 1930 saurer 5su6.3039 1923 Saurer Alsa 1922 Saurer 1921 Saurer P 20 1915 Saurer mit Baader-Anhaenger 1914 Saurer bus

That’s it