Armstrong Siddeley Star Sapphire

The Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire was a large post-war saloon automobile made by the British company of Armstrong Siddeley. A distinctive element of the Sapphires was the V-shaped radiator which had the winged Armstrong Siddeley sphinx motif mounted on it. On some models the sphinx sported jet engines on its sides.

There were a number of Sapphire models produced between 1952 and 1960, when the company ceased car production.

Sapphire 234

The 234 was produced from 1955 to 1958 and used a four-cylinder 2,290 cc version of the 346 engine. The transmission was a manual four-speed gearbox with optional overdrive.

803 were produced.

Sapphire 236

The 236 was made between 1955 and 1957 and used the six-cylinder 2,310 cc engine previously seen in the Armstrong Siddeley Whitley. A conventional manual gearbox was available but many were fitted with a Lockheed Manumatic "clutchless" transmission.

603 were produced.

Sapphire 346

The 346 was the first of the Sapphires introduced late in 1952 for sale in 1953 and continuing until 1958. The six-cylinder 3,435 cc engine had hemi-spherical combustion chambers and could have optional twin Stromberg carburettors (£25 extra) which increased the output from 125 to 150 bhp (93 to 112 kW) giving a top speed in excess of 100 mph (161 km/h). The front suspension was independent coil springs with a rigid axle and leaf springs at the rear. The Girling hydraulic brakes used 11 in (279 mm) drums all round.

The body was available as a four- or six-light (two or three windows on each side) at the same cost and with either a bench or individual front seats. The seats were finished in leather, with the dashboard and door-cappings in walnut veneer. A heater was standard.

It was introduced with the choice of a Wilson electrically-controlled finger-tip four-speed pre-selector gearbox as a £30 option, or four-speed synchromesh gearbox. It became available with automatic transmission (Rolls Royce four-speed) with the introduction of the Mark II in 1954.

A long-wheelbase model was launched in 1955 as a limousine version which had the pre-selector gearbox as standard, however, there was an optional four-speed manual column-change gearbox available.

A small number of Utility models (US term pickup trucks) were produced for the Arabian and Australian markets. Models for export to the U.S. were always delivered with twin caburettors.

A saloon with the optional twin-carburettors and synchromesh transmission tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1953 had a top speed of 100.1 mph (161.1 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 13.0 seconds. A fuel consumption of 18.7 miles per imperial gallon (15.1 L/100 km; 15.6 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1,757 including taxes.

7,697 were produced.

Star Sapphire

The first Star Sapphire saloon prototype was built on a converted 346 Sapphire chassis. The production models replaced the Sapphire in late 1958 and continued through to the summer of 1960.

The six-cylinder engine was enlarged to 3,990 cc with twin Zenith carburettors as standard and power output increased to [SAE] 165 bhp (167 hp, 123 kW), or [DIN] 145 bhp (147 hp, 108 kW).

Servo-assisted 12 in (305 mm) Girling disc brakes were used on the front wheels and power steering was added. A BorgWarner type DG automatic gearbox was usually fitted.

902 saloons were produced, as well as 77 long-wheelbase cars, 73 of which were built as limousines (including 2 prototypes). The limousine version was made in 1960 only and had a single-carburettor engine and manual gearbox (the automatic gearbox was fitted to 12 examples). The remaining 4 chassis were used for 3 hearses and an ambulance. 980 Star Sapphires were produced.

A Star Sapphire saloon with automatic transmission was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1959. It had a top speed of 99.6 mph (160.3 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 14.8 seconds. A fuel consumption of 15.4 miles per imperial gallon (18.3 L/100 km; 12.8 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £2,498 including taxes of £735.


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Armstrong Siddeley vehicles