The Armstrong Siddeley Saphire certainly couldn’t look more different than an Olds Ninety-Eight from 1960. But in terms of the very highly structured class pecking order of British cars of the time, it might have been about right; or not. There were still an astonishing array of small independent manufacturers in the fifties in the UK, and Armstrong Siddeley pretty much perfectly represents their dilemma: old fashioned, frumpy, low-tech, where to stop?
Ultimately, it was the Jaguar that killed the Sapphire. Compared to many of the small upscale builders, Jaguar was as aggressive as its mascot, and its line of sedans quickly dominated the shrinking field. The Saphire was the last new car A-S built, appearing in 1958 with a four liter OHV six. By 1960, it was already history. 1940’s design wasn’t going to cut it in the sixties.