1911 Armstrong Whitworth B3 15.9HP
Armstrong Siddeley is a very well-known and well respected British engineering company, best known for the manufacture of luxury cars and aircraft engines. Armstong Siddeley built cars from 1919 until 1960. What is less well known is how Armstrong Siddeley began. The company was created when Armstrong Whitworth and Siddeley-Deasy merged at the end of the First World War.
William George Armstrong was born in England on the 26th November 1810. He was an industrialist, scientist, inventor and philanthropist. By the mid 1800’s he had invented a hydraulic crane and in 1847 set up WG Armstrong & Company to build hydraulic cranes and other hydraulic equipment. His business empire grew and he was soon involved in the construction of bridges as well as the manufacture of armaments. The company merged with the ship building firm Charles Mitchell to form Armstrong Mitchell & Company to focus on building warships. This company then merged with Joseph Whitworth in 1897 and not surprisingly started to manufacture cars and trucks. Armstrong Whitworth took over the manufacture of the Wilson-Pilcher in 1904. The first cars sold as Armstrong Whitworths were built in 1906/1907 and designated as 28/36. This car was powered by a 4524cc four cylinder engine.
Armstrong Whitworth built a number of different model cars from 1906/1907 through until 1915 when production stopped due to the war.
Armstrong Whitworth had a reputation for producing very reliable and well-built motor cars. For the day these were ‘big cars’ and the majority were powered by four cylinder engines, ranging in size from 2.4 litres to 7.6 litres, though they also built cars with 5.2 litre and 5.7 litre six cylinder engines. It is understood that the majority, if not all, of the Armstrong Whitworths were bodied by independent coach builders, further enhancing their reputation as cars for more exclusive clientele.
It is understood that perhaps 3,000 Armstrong Whitworths were built in just under ten years of production, however, there are very few survivors known to exist today. Most of the company’s records were destroyed or lost during the war, so the history of Armstrong Whitworth remains much of a mystery. What is known is that due to their build quality and reliability a number of Armstrong Whitworths were sent to Australia where they were more than capable of performing well in our harsh environment. The book, Veteran & Vintage Cars by Pedr Davis published in 1980 features a 1911 Armstrong Whitworth 17.9hp and notes that at that time there were three complete and ten in parts Armstrong Whitworths known in Australia.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for a sale a rare surviving 1911 Armstrong Whitworth B3 15.9hp Tourer. This particular model is powered by a 2413cc four cylinder engine mated to a four speed gearbox that is capable of propelling the car to a top speed of around 70 km/hr. The car cruises comfortably at 60 km/hr.
Little is known of the car’s early history, however, it was discovered under a peppercorn tree in Lara, country Victoria in the mid 1980’s and acquired by Mr Alan Collis. Collis is referred to in the veteran car world as the ‘Godfather of the Armstrong Whitworth’, having devoted much of his life to researching and understand these cars. This Armstrong Whitworth changed hands and it was then on sold to the current owner in 1994 who spent the next 13 years restoring the car to its former glory. The mechanical work was undertaken by Egge Machining, the coach work by Richard Stanley Coachcraft and the trim by Geoff Davie Upholstery.
This car is not a garage queen! It gets used and has attended and successfully completed a number car rallies, including three Hospice rallies where it travelled around 600km on each occasion. The car presents and drives really well. The green paintwork has a good depth of colour and it remains in very good condition with the odd blemish or stone chip evident. The wheels, all of the exterior trim and brass work are in excellent condition, which are a real feature and highlight on this car. The interior, including the timberwork, leather upholstery, instruments and gauges are also in excellent condition.
Make no mistake this a big car and it has quite a presence about it! The coach work is exquisite and this is a lovely looking car from all angles.
There are a number of spare parts that will accompany this car, including a chassis (cut in three pieces – but with a chassis number) from another Armstrong Whitworth, an engine and gearbox from a 1912 Armstrong Whitworth, clutch assembly, 4x steel brackets for artillery wheels (reproduction), hand brake & gear lever, 2x steering columns and floor mounting brackets, steering wheel, triangular firewall & floor board brackets, foot brake cross shaft, inlet manifold, crank handle assembly, front axle, rear 3/4 elliptical springs, White and Poppe carburettor (incomplete), 815 x 105 spare tyre, assorted brass P&H side light parts and a Bosch DU4 magneto (restored).
There is also an owner’s manual, significant documentation pertaining to this car and copies of other documentation pertaining to Armstrong Whitworth.
- Armstrong Whitworth B3 15.9HP