This handsome three-quarter landaulette by one of Englands top
coachbuilders was one of the cars that George Milligen bought at the Sword Sale in 1965. He paid £1280 for it and began restoration in 1985. He had its four-cylinder engine, three of whose separate-cast cylinders were damaged, completely rebuilt in 1986 by the respected antique car engineer Arthur Archer of Dunmow. The engine, originally of 95mm bore, now has a 102mm bore, making the swept volume of this car 3.9 litres. The restoration also included repainting the car in its distinctive livery of vertical red and black stripes. It has only covered a nominal distance - 30 or 40 miles, according to George Milligen - since the rebuild, but will obviously require recommissioning before it goes on the road.
The early history of this fine car is unknown, but its Brighton registration dates from 24 March 1919, when it was owned by Mr George John Green, who kept the car until its last excise licence expired on 30 September 1931. It is known that it served as a hire car at Brighton Station and, despite its obviously hard life, is in remarkably original condition. An unusual feature is the quick-release water filler on the radiator.
The Armstrong-Whitworth was built by a division of the famous Tyneside engineering, armaments and shipbuilding company Sir W.G.Armstrong, Whitworth & Co, which had been created in 1897
by the merger of two of Britains most distinguished engineering
companies. Armstrongs, pioneers of hydraulic machinery, had invented the breech-loading gun and built over 1,000 warships at Scotswood on the River Tyne from 1885, while Whitworth had pioneered the standardised screw thread.
Sir W.G.Armstrong, Whitworth & Co entered the motor industry by taking over production of the flat-four Wilson-Pilcher in 1904. Armstrong-Whitworth manufacture began at their Elswick Works in 1906, and around a dozen cars a week were being built by 1913. In 1919 the company merged with Siddeley-Deasy to form Armstrong-Siddeley and production was concentrated in Coventry.
The Armstrong-Whitworth was a car of considerable quality. The owner of a sister car, writing in 1910, described it as fast and very reliable, adding: I found the car to be an excellent hill-climber. In the Savoy district of France, where there are some very steep gradients, including the Grand Chartreuse, I had no difficulty in negotiating all the hills, and very seldom dropped below third speed
Although I did not take particular notice of the amount of petrol consumed, I think I must have averaged twenty miles to the gallon
I have done over four thousand miles without any trouble whatever.
Though Maythorn, the builder of this cars stately bodywork, was based in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, its client list included the Prince of Wales and the Nizam of Hyderabad, and it bodied many leading marques, fully justifying its proud boast, Builders of Carriages of the Highest Quality Only.