The Armstrong Siddeley Car Club

The Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 236

Production period1955 to 1958
Number of cars produced601
Engine6 cylinder, 2309cc, 85BHP @ 4,400RPM
Body styles4 door saloon
TransmissionManual with optional overdrive
The Sapphire 236 was produced between 1955 and 1958, with a total production of 601 vehicles.

In 1956 Armstrong Siddeley released two completely new medium sized cars with identical bodies but radically different engines. These were intended to appeal to a significant proportion of its existing clientele who had previously purchased cars from the Armstrong Siddeley range that were smaller than the new 346 Sapphire. Further there was a trend generally towards smaller cars.

The 236 had a 2.3 litre engine producing 85bhp based on that of the 18 hp range discontinued several years earlier and was offered with an excellent 4 speed all synchromesh transmission with optional overdrive and outstanding power assisted drum brakes.

Armstrong Siddeleys attention to safety was evident. The chassis incorporated progressive deformation characteristics. Child resistant door locks were fitted to the rear doors and repeater indicators to the front mudguards. The front doors open 90 degrees allowing easy access.

The body was taught and aerodynamically efficient resulting in little wind noise. The car handled well and was delightful to drive with the exceptional gearbox and confidence inspiring brakes.

However, the styling was considered controversial by some. Only the grille echoed previous Armstrong Siddeleys. Further, the nomenclature was confusing – the public had grown accustomed to 6 cylinder cars being faster than 4 cylinder cars when in fact the reverse was true in respect of the 236.  The car looked nothing like the more traditional 346 Sapphire and another name should have been chosen to differentiate the two models.

Armstrong Siddeley’s parent company was focusing more on aircraft manufacture and this together with some initial buyer resistance resulted in the model being discontinued after only 2 years.

Time has been kind to the Sapphire 236, now recognized by Armstrong Siddeley aficionados as an excellent car ahead of its time!

The Armstrong Siddeley Car Club
Armstrong Siddeley Car Club The Court House 325 High Street Learmonth VIC 3352
Phone Cameron Wright, President, 0408 595 461
ACN 001 059 212
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