Vintage postbag, January 1985

An Armstrong Siddeley


Your article “Out of the Past”, page 1345 November issue, concerning the 1924 30 hp Armstrong Siddeley owned by Lady Ewart, has awakened my memories. According by my records this was almost certainly the car I purchased in 1945 from a car hire company in London for the princely sum of £26. I used it for delivering newspapers until 1947, it had absolutely no power having covered something over 200,000 miles with the very minimal of mechanical expenditure. Its virtues were complete reliability in all weathers, plus leaving it in low gear would allow it to make its own way down any straight road at about 3 mph whilst I dashed in and out of houses.

Having no further use for this huge box on wheels I swapped it for a 2-seater Austin 7 convertible — the new owners were a group of soldiers stationed appropriately at a local Army petrol depot in Hertfordshire. I saw it regularly up to 1950, when I moved from the area. Thank you for reminding me of happier days of Armstrong Siddeley ownership.

Best wishes for an excellent magazine.

Poole J. D. Hubbuck (Ex-member Armstrong-Siddeley Motors Design Team)

Pontiac Details


Reader Kraayeveld’s letter in September regarding Pontiac can be quickly answered. The 1927 Pontiacs did indeed have two wheel brakes. Other specifications include a Carter Carburetter, Delco Remy Ignition, a 110 in wheelbase, a 4.18 gear ratio and 3¼ in x 3¼ in bore and stroke. The Oaklands were quite different. The wheelbase in 1923 was 115 in and dropped to 113 from 1924 through 1927 and then jumped to 117. Pontiac stayed with 113 in through 1930. A simple measurement of the wheelbase on Kraayeveld’s car can clear things up.

The Oakland six cylinder engine throughout 1928 was a long stroke unit of 4¾ in and did not resemble the more modern Pontiac block. The Oakland unit was always substantially larger than the Pontiac.

The Pontac was introduced in January 1926, not 1927. Approximately 41,715 were built in the initial 1926 version.

A final check would be serial numbers. The Pontac primary code is 6-27 plus number. The Oakland code is either 6-44 or 6-54 plus number for the period of the mid-twenties.

Pebble Beach, California Paul Woudenberg

A TT Riley


I attach a photograph of the Riley Ulster Imp, AVR 718 which ran in the Ards TT in 1934 entered by A. Freeman and driven by Dr. H. B. Prestwich. I have recently purchased this car, and am trying to gather information about it. Nothing is known about the car after it left the track on lap 6 at Quarry Corner in that event, and an eventual ownership by a Manchester garage in 1945. While now red, the car was originally works dark blue, then red, then black. I intend to restore it in the original blue. The car is sound, and generally original. It led a quiet life after the war, but bears signs of some competition modifications, with further chassis lightening, and painting(!), most of which must be prewar. Are any of your readers able to help me out, especially those with long memories in the North West? I shall be grateful for any help.

Redditch John R. Gathercold