PRIVATE VENTURE
An Armstrong Siddeley "Sapphire" motor car engine, specially modified and hotted up to meet the requirements of modern sports racing, has been fitted in a new racing car built by Mr. T. E. B. Sopwith, son of Sir Thomas Sopwith, the Group chairman.
Since Mr. Sopwith was 14 years of age it has been his dream to build his own racing car. He has named his car The Sphinx and claims that the engine will develop more than 200 b.h.p. (202 cv) at 5,200 r.p.m. On a test run a maximum speed of nearly 140 m.p.h. (225 km./hr.) was recorded on a mile-long course (1.6 km.) and he believes that, given suitable conditions, the top speed can be raised to well over 150 m.p.h. (240 km./hr.).
The fact that the car has no clutch but is provided with an Armstrong Siddeley electric pre-selector gearbox and a miniature gate lever on the steering column is proving advantageous. Three twin-choke Weber carburettors are other important features.
The chassis is a modified form of the Allard J.R. Boundless enthusiasm has gone into the project and much valuable help has come from Mr. Sydney Allard and his works manager, Mr. Reg Canham. The car is a two-seater of lightweight aluminium construction.
With the car Mr. Sopworth has formed a new motor car racing stable near Coventry. He has named this Equipe Endeavour, recalling memories of yacht racing in the mid-thirties when Sir Thomas's racing yachts, Endeavour I and Endeavour II, were challengers for The America's Cup. The colours of the stable are identical with those used by Sir Thomas before the war with the addition of a gold edging to differentiate between the two.
Mr. Sopwith is a post-graduate apprentice at Armstrong Siddeley Motors. Although neither the stable nor the car is in any way sponsored by the company the team is composed almost entirely of Armstrong Siddeley staff, who devote most of their spare time and week-ends to this enterprise.
Mr Sopwith's Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire powered racing car 1954.
Mr T.E.B. Sopwith at the wheel of the new racing car he has built, using an Armstrong Siddley Sapphire car engine