Today we have a failure story.

Meet the Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphire 236.

Armstrong-Siddeley were a British company who made aircraft engines, small industrial diesels and a few cars, most of which they called after either aircraft or engines. In the post war period they built the Lancaster, Hurricane, Whitely, Typhoon and Tempest, all with flying namesakes. The car business specialised in large, staid, luxurious cars intended for a staid but unfortunately for them small market so in the 1950s they introduced the smaller Sapphire 234 and 236 models (called after the Sapphire jet engine) as a trendier alternative to their Sapphire 346, a large car that is still sometimes used in the wedding limo trade. By the 1950s they were using a Ferrari naming system so the 234 was a 2.3 litre four and so on.

We can work out then that the 236 was a 2.3 six and that it would be a more refined and powerful alternative to the 234. Not quite. The 234 had a claimed 120 bhp, the 236 only 85 bhp because it used an old pre war engine and was intended to provide sedate progress. To add to the luxury feel it had a Lockheed Manumatic semi automatic gearbox, a thing we’ve seen more of since but not with any more success.

Just 1,400 of the two models were made as the rival Jaguar 2.4 was seen as much more modern and was considerably cheaper and quicker.