Advertising

October 13th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Armstrong Siddeley advertised widely in the 1920s in a range of ways, including in all the leading magazines. These included the motoring magazines, such as the Autocar and Motor, and popular news and household magazines such as Illustrated London News, Sphere, Punch, Country Life and Homes and Gardens. The company employed some of the best known motoring artists to illustrate adverts and catalogues, including Bryan de Grineau and here, below F T Steerwood. This image was published in 1927 to advertise the following year’s prices. To see Fred Steerwood’s Armstrong Siddeley cover for the Autocar in 1926 and for more information on the artist go to FT Steerwood

 

Armstrong Siddeley FT Steerwood advertisement

Armstrong Siddeley 18 HP car 1928


Background

J D Siddeley was a skilled manager and salesman. This is one of a series of illustrations used to advertise Siddeley Autocars in 1908. JD Siddeley was employed by the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company, owned by Vickers Sons and Maxim, from 1905 to 1909. The cars were called Wolseley-Siddeley and Siddeley during this time. J D Siddeley was General Manager when these illustrations appeared in advertisements and the sales brochure. This one, called “A Doctor’s Car” shows the 10 HP Siddeley Phaeton with Dickey Seat.

 

Siddeley Autocar 1908

Siddeley Autocar 10 HP Phaeton with dickey seat 1908

Wolseley-Siddeley had the Royal seal of approval in 1907 when the Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII, bought a Wolseley-Siddeley car. Hence this postcard issued by the company in 1907.

The Queen's Choice 1907

Armstrong Siddeley Motors was formed in 1919, just after the First World War, from Sir WG Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd and Siddeley Deasy. During the 1920s Armstrong Siddeley described the models as 30 HP, 18 HP, 14 HP etc. – not very inspiring – but they had evocative names for the different body styles, many of which were called after places around Britain, such as Cotswold, Chiltern, Mendip, Canterbury etc. Here is an illustration from the Armstrong Whitworth brochure for 1913 in which all the body styles have names – here, for example is Sydenham. So it seems likely Armstrong Siddeley took this idea from Armstrong Whitworth.

Also below is a 1913 advertisement for Siddeley Deasy. As you can see JD Siddeley was already using the sphinx mascot. There is also a similarity between the form of the typeface used for Siddeley Deasy to that later adopted for Armstrong Siddeley. Note also the intertwined SD, a precursor for the intertwined AS cast into the pedals of Armstrong Siddeley cars.

 

Armstrong Whitworth 1913 Siddeley Deasy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armstrong Whitworth and Siddeley Deasy cars 1913

 

 

Armstrong Siddeley Motors

Armstrong Siddeley Motors started advertising in 1919. They used Godbolds to produce this simple advertisement for the company’s first model, the 30 horse-power car. The advertisement declares that “You cannot buy a better car”. The price of the chassis was £720 and the annual cost of car tax was £8.40p (eight guineas). It was published in January 1920.

 

Armstrong Siddeley 1919

Armstrong Siddeley 30 HP car 1919

This advertisement, published in August 1920, for the 30 HP tourer includes a simple drawing by J M Ellwood. The advert also includes the oval with the Sphinx and the wording Armstrong Siddeley Coventry, which the company used widely until 1924.

Armstrong Siddeley 1920

Armstrong Siddeley 30 HP Tourer car 1920

This advertisement, probably dating from 1921, shows three models passing Piccadilly Circus in London – the tourer, coupe or town saloon and limousine. Do let me know if you know who the artists is. The advert lists the service depots in Coventry, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and Bristol. Establishing these was an essential part of giving buyers confidence in the cars at a time when there was a lot of competition in the luxury car market.

Armstrong Siddeley 1921

Armstrong Siddeley 30 HP car 1921

The advertisement below shows a change in style with a more realistic image of the 18 HP “Kingsley” All Weather Tourer which had a leather hood and glass windows in the doors. This was published in April 1924.

Armstrong Siddeley 1924

Armstrong Siddeley 18 HP Kingsley all-weather car 1924

This was a very different change in style for an advertisement for the 14 HP car in July 1924. The period illustration has the feel of a children’s book illustration. I would love to know who the artist is. The advertisement refers to the British Empire Exhibition held at Wembley in 1924. Armstrong Siddeley exhibited in the Palace of Engineering.


Armstrong Siddeley 1924 British Empire Exhibition

Armstrong Siddeley 14 HP car 1924

This, more conventional, advertisement appeared in May 1924 and also refers to the exhibition at Wembley. The car illustrated is the 30 HP Open Touring car.

Armstrong Siddeley 1924 British Empire Exhibition

Armstrong Siddeley 30 HP car 1924

In December 1924, Armstrong Siddeley advertised all three modes together – the 30 HP, 18 HP and 14 HP cars, with Enclosed Landaulette, Saloon and Touring bodies.

Armstrong Siddeley 1924

Armstrong Siddeley 14, 18 and 30 HP cars 1924

Armstrong Siddeley used this lovely illustration to advertise the 18 HP Saloon in November 1926.The scene shows a picnic with the men and woman wrapped up in jackets and coat. The bottles suggest they were planning to have a good time.


Armstrong Siddeley 1926

Armstrong Siddeley 18 HP car 1926

These two advertisements from February and March 1927 make the link between the cars and the Armstrong Siddeley aeroplane engines that had been used to power Sir Alan Cobham’s flight from England to Australia in August 1926.

Armstrong Siddeley 1927 Sir Alan Cobham


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armstrong Siddeley 18 HP cars 1927

 

 

 

From 1925 to 1927, Armstrong Siddeley often emphasised the link between the company mascot of the Sphinx and ancient Egypt as in the border of this advert from August 1927. This was inspired by the growing public interest in Egypt following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and the wonderful treasures within it in 1922.

 

Armstrong Siddeley 1927 Bryan de Grineau

Armstrong Siddeley 14 HP Broadway saloon 1927

 

In 1927 and 1928 Armstrong Siddeley employed Bryan de Grineau to illustrate advertisements and brochures. He was one of the leading motoring illustrators in the late 1920s, contributing drawings of motor races to The Motor. Here, in an advertisement from January 1927 he creates a wonderful image of an 18 HP reaching the brow of a hill. For more information on Bryan de Grineau go to motoring art.


Armstrong Siddeley 1927 Bryan de Grineau

Armstrong Siddeley 18 HP car 1927

Bryan de Grineau also drew this advertisement, which has to rate as one of the oddest Armstrong Siddeley advertisements – De Grineau shows the 18 HP dwarfing a country house. And, oh yes, what is the man doing with a leg by the door?

Bryan De Grineau drawing for Armstrong Siddeley 1927

Armstrong Siddeley 18 HP 1927

In 1928 Armstrong Siddeley backed the Buy British campaign. This was an initiative to support British jobs during the economic downturn. Sounds familiar doesn’t it.

Armstrong Siddeley 1928

Armstrong Siddeley 20 HP Eaton Special Saloon car 1928

Looking ahead to the 1930s, here is an advertisement, full of the feel of Art Deco published in March 1933.

Armstrong Siddeley 1933

Armstrong Siddeley advertisement 1933

Other ways of advertising Armstrong Siddeley

All car makers had a range of ways of advertising their models in the 1920s. An important event to attend was the annual motor show held at Olympia in London in October or November – The International Motor Exhibition. Manufacturers showed their models for the following year alongside coachbuilders showing their latest coachwork and makers of car parts and equipment.

I know that on two occasions at least Armstrong Siddeley toured the country in a fleet of three cars representing England, Scotland and Wales, labelled St George, St Andrew, and St David and painted red, blue and white. The first was in the mid 1920s with the Sandown tourer 14 HP car and the second in 1930 with 15 HP saloon cars. Photographs survive of the latter cars when they were used for the Australian cricket team when they visited the UK.

Armstrong Siddeley took part in a number of reliability trials or staged their own. These were used to publicise the quality of the cars. Below is a photograph of a trade gift that Armstrong Siddeley Motors gave away at the end of the Cotswold Tour in September 1926. The tour involved people from the press driving 18 HP cars through the Cotswold hills on a day’s tour. The gift in the form of the V radiator with miniature sphinx is hinged at the top and could be used for matches or as an ink well.

 

Trade gift Armstrong Siddeley 18 HP Cotswold Tour 1926

The company gave away brochures at shows and through their dealers. Customers could also request more detailed catalogues. Often these contained testimonials from owners and even lists of eminent owners, including members of the Royal family. The Duke and Duchess of York both owned Armstrong Siddeleys.

A good way of attracting interest in cars with young people was through sets of tin-plate or printed cards given away with children’s comics. Adults could collect or give their children the cards that came in packets of cigarettes.

Armstrong Siddeley cards, souvenirs, advertising

Armstrong Siddeley souvenir cards

Clockwise from top left: This Year’s Motor Car Crests No 5, tinplate souvenir given away with The Rover the favourite boy’s paper; This Season’s Latest Motor Cars No 15, presented with The Rover around 1927 and showing the 14 HP Cotswold tourer; Motor Car Radiators No 3 issued by Lambert & Butler and given away with cigarettes; Motor Cars 3rd series No 4 issued by Lambert & Butler showing 14 HP Broadway saloon; 14 HP tourer given away with ‘Goblin’ Prepared Fig Meat; Armstrong Siddeley No 15 issued by James Illingworth Ltd Kendal; Motor Cars No 19 (first series) issued by Lambert & Butler and showing 30 HP limousine; Makes of Motor Cars and Index Marks No 4 given free with The Triumph The Great New Paper For Boys; Motor Cars at a Glance Armstrong Siddeley No 3 issued by Godfrey Phillips around 1923.

  1. April 16th, 2012 at 08:12 | #1

    we are restoring a 1917 model, 30HP Armstrong Siddeley Tourer/Covertible and interested to have carburettor assembly, water Pump Assy, Radiator Assy, Magneto Assembly if we can get.

  2. Stuart Middlemiss
    September 22nd, 2016 at 09:30 | #2

    Just a small correction regarding the artist Bryan de Grineau mentioned above – he worked for “The Motor” magazine, not “Autocar” magazine (that was F.Gordon Crosby).

    • Gordon
      September 26th, 2016 at 22:37 | #3

      Hello Stuart Thank you, I have changed the reference and updated the link to the motoring art website.

  3. Ian Leighton-Boyce
    October 22nd, 2017 at 16:10 | #4

    Thank you for A very interesting feature. I am looking for a good example of the Radiator Inkwell/Match holder as given to the participants of the Cotswold Reliaility Tours in the 1920ies. I know it is a longshot but hope springs etc..

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