Armstrong Siddeley was an interesting company. Best known for making various luxury cars and airplane engines, when they released the Whiteley sports saloon in 1949, it was available in a variety of different body styles, with possibly the rarest and strangest being a ute.
You could choose between a Utility Coupe or a Station Coupe, the difference being that the latter had a back seat (crew cab ute!). Only 1,022 of them were built, 60% of which were sold in Australia, the motherland of all utes. Interestingly, although they made a version for both right and left hand drive markets, the arrangement of the gauges on the dashboard remained the same on both, so if you got the LHD version, the speedometer was all the way on the passenger side.
This wasn’t because they couldn’t switch them. No, the dashboard was actually symmetrical. The reason why they didn’t switch them was because... they just didn’t. But at least in Australia, they got a speedometer on the driver’s side, which is what matters most. Power came from a smooth and durable 75 hp inline six which was coupled to a four-speed manual. Not a ton of power, but it’d get the job done.
They also had an under-slung chassis with independent torsion bar suspension up front and leaf springs in the back. Brakes were hydraulic up front and mechanical in the back, which was fairly common among British cars at the time.
The sport saloon it was based on was already a nice-looking car, and they kept the styling of the ute version elegant by making the shape of the bed flow nicely into the rest of the car’s body. It doesn’t look half bad if you ask me.
Also, they have suicide doors, which is just icing on the cake.
So if you like both utes and quirky old British cars, then this may be the car for you! In which case you should act quickly, because there’s one on Craigslist right now for $28,000...