A new home for an Old Dame - Restoring a 1929 15HP
by Peter Mitchell
When the Southern Sphinx arrived in December I noticed an advert for a 1929 15HP Armstrong Siddeley Saloon, but just glanced at it. The next day I started thinking about this car for sale. I did a bit of homework and realised that they are getting pretty hard to come by. I then had a look in Bruce Lindsay's book to find out what a 1929 15HP looked like. I liked the look of the "Old Dame", so a phone call was made and a deal done. I now owned a classic piece of motoring history. Then reality took over; the car was in Perth and I was in Echuca, Victoria with a few thousand kilometers in between. How do I get an old car, and one in bits, home all that way? After a lot of enquiring I decided not to drive over and back towing a trailer and declined all the offers from friends to accompany me and settled on a train journey for the "Old Dame". I flew to Perth and was met by Rod Smith, the son of Stan Smith who had saved the car some years ago from a paddock north of Perth W.A. Stan had put a lot of time and effort into the restoration, from a very sad state of timber and steel to a car on wheels and rolling. Rod and I, with the help of Hugh McMinn then spent two days preparing and packing parts, spares and wooden body pieces for the journey east. A tilt tray took us to the rail head where it was loaded and secured into an enclosed rail wagon. The train left Perth on Sunday and on the following Wednesday I was able to pick her up in Melbourne, along with two pallets of spares, and bring her by road to her new home in Echuca. Many thanks to Rod and Hugh for their assistance and particularly Stan for all the restoration work he has carried out. This stage was the arrival, the next is the planning and restoration; I aim to restore this 1929 15HP saloon to her former glory.
.....To be continued........