The President's Page

Armstrong Siddeley Car Club of Australia - President's Report

March 2015

There are many joys in being President of the ASCC and possibly three of the most delightful recently in which I have been involved are the restoration of a Mendip in South Africa, the Hinkler project and the restoration of a Sapphire by a Queensland member.

These projects are driven by people who dare to dream the dream and climb the mountain. They bring special vehicles to life and I really enjoy encouraging their efforts exchanging emails about the problems and the progress.

The Mendip in South Africa has been special. In 2013 Alan Evans obtained the remains of an Armstrong Siddeley Mendip. The car, a Mk 2, Y Batch from the period up to November 1926, with chassis number 24301. The body built by the Burlington Carriage Co owned by Armstrong Siddeley.

According to the Factory Ledger Sheets, Swift & Co of Durban during 1926 imported thirty (30) Cotswold five seater open tourer cars. They received one (1) Mendip 2/3 Seater. This car has amazingly spent fifty years stored in barns after the murder of John Western, the owner. Alan has restored the Mendip and it is believed to be one of three in the world. Alan has written to me saying, “I never realised when I towed this vehicle home 16 months ago that I would find such a history and overseas interest in Armstrong Siddeley

Tom Smethurst contacted me last year. He had attended the formation meeting of the Queensland Branch held at Athol Duncan’s home at Mansfield in1977 with Penn Bradly. Tom has owned the 1926 Short 18 Hp Chassis 40760 used by pioneer aviator Bert Hinkler since the 1970’s. The car imported in chassis form by British Australia Motors during 1926, was fitted with a body by Peels of Stanley Street, Brisbane.

This car now forms the basis of a full restoration project being undertaken by the Hinkler Hall of Aviation Museum at Bundaberg. The project was launched by the Mayor of Bundaberg, Cr Mal Forman on Australia Day, 26th January, 2015. Sandy Cameron represents the ASCC in discussions with the sponsors, Wide Bay Australia, The Museum, The Restoration Team and the car donor, Tom Smethurst.

Athol Duncan did comment they were not exactly Apostles of the Faith, but never the less keenly interested in the Club all those years ago. Tom has dared to dream the dream about the restoration of a special Armstrong Siddeley car for a long time. We all look forward to the completion of a wonderful project.

Another car imported by British Australia Motors in Brisbane, a Sapphire C340575 has been in restoration for some time. Before buying the project Queensland member, Peter Ferguson made contact and we have exchanged emails now since 2012. Last year, Peter’s Father joined the restoration team and now I exchange emails with the A (awesome) Team. The photographs show that a high standard of restoration is being achieved by two men with a wealth of experience in restoring British cars. Again it will be a very special occasion when this car’s tyres roll onto the bitumen. Peter will be another to dream the dream and climb the mountain of restoration assisted by his Father.

I have advised the Board and now you as Members that I will not be seeking re-election at the AGM in Broken Hill. My upcoming commitments will not give me the time to devote properly to Board responsibilities.

"As I have never believed in holding office in name only as a lame duck - it would be wrong in my view to continue to stay a member of the Board.

I have written about encouraging members into Club positions. We have new members who bring with them new ideas and enthusiasm. It is an opportunity to welcome and embrace this new thinking, building on the best combination of new and existing thoughts. There will now automatically be two vacancies on our Board."

We should actively encourage members to come forward into these positions giving of their thoughts, knowledge and experience for our mutual benefit. New members who find our activities unsatisfying will leave our fold. Their ability to contribute unfulfilled and the Club’s opportunity to benefit sadly lost.

"This year, 2015 should be regarded as a year for planning, development and consolidation. Please take the opportunity, use it wisely and be involved."

Tina and I are both looking forward to the Broken Hill Rally in May with great expectation.

Until next time,
Happy Motoring,

Tony Carter
ASCC President