This vintage ad caught my eye for more than one reason. Yes, the Armstrong Siddeley Hurricane is hardly rendered accurately. The size of the two occupants make it look vast, bigger than a Bugatti Royale.
Now about that airliner towering over it…at least the Hurricane existed in real life.
The contra-rotating propellers mounted in front of the Armstrong Siddeley Python turboprop are readily identifiable. But not the giant four engine airliner they’re mounted on. There never was such a thing; it was purely wishful thinking.
The Python started out as a pure-turbojet engine, the ASX, in the mid forties. But since there were already several other turbojet engines in the works in the UK, A-S decided to turn it into a turboprop, dubbed ASP.
That became a whole family of engines with snake names, the Python being the most successful and used in the Westland Wyvern attack fighter.
A-S also took over a different pure jet program, one of the very first, which started out life as the Metrovick F2. A-S developed it into the Saphire, one of the most advanced turbojets in the post war era, and used in a number of British planes like the the remarkable H-P Victor HP.80 (B1A version).
The Sapphire was licensed by Curtiss-Wright and built as the J65, which powered a number of US jets including the Grumman F-11 Tiger, the plane used by the Blue Angels from 1957 to 1969.
It’s a bit of a digression from our featured ad. Armstrong-Siddeley may have been projecting about an airliner powered by the Python, but their other engines did get around some.
Here’s what that A-S Hurricane looks like in real life,with a real live person behind the wheel; just a wee bit more modest.
Could they not be Bristol Centaurus engines on a Brabazon ? Or on THE Brabazon, as I think they only built one… Maybe A-S hoped their engines might be an option.
I was wondering the same thing. A huge airplane for a hugely optimistic plan.
Here’s a better picture of the Brabazon’s wing, props and air intakes.
No; the Bristol Centaurus engines on the Brabazon (picture attached) were radial piston engines, two per unit, and they had large intakes between the propeller nacelles.
These are clearly an A-S Python units on a projected possible future airliner. The line in the ad reinforces that quite obviously: “By Land, By Air, By Armstrong Siddeley”.
I think this takes the record for miniature people. The driver could enter the car through the vent pane.
Perhaps they’re toddlers dressed in suits. It was a more formal time, after all.
Several of the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz movie were from the UK, just sayin’
The Bulgemobile Fireblast:
What is it about British design in jets in the immediate post-WWII period? Their planes were absolutely gorgeous, and I swear you had to be a dedicated science fiction reader to get a job as an aircraft designer. I’d never seen the Victor HP.80 before, it absolutely blew me away.
If there’s a puddle of oil underneath the engine, that’s a sure sign the English had something to do with it.
Or an older Harley was parked there.
US radial piston engines dripped plenty of oil as well.
A bit tangential, but some of the companies mentioned here highlight that aviation or automotive companies may have been too complex to a manage without combined capital. Hence Armstrong-Siddeley, Handley-Page, Curtiss-Wright … and of course Pratt and Whitney. And good point Syke about the style of these planes; since my childhood, the Victor and giant delta wing Vulcan seemed very advanced to me compared to American B47’s and B52’s. Too bad that style didn’t get into the British automotive industry; well maybe Jaguar got some of it. But imagine if the Victor designer had worked on the Austin A30 and A35 or the Triumph Mayflower.
Certainly; which is why Rolls-Royce Holdings and BAE had to swallow them all up.
Aviation design is a bit more driven by science than car design out of necessity. 🙂
There was a passenger plane called the TU-116 based on the TU-95 strategic bomber built by the USSR with contra-rotating propellers. The Bristol Type 167 Brabazon did have contra-rotating propellers and Uncle Mellow is right – they only made one. Brabazon picture attached.
As I pointed out in a previous comment, the Brabazon’s piston engines had large intakes between the propeller nacelles. The imaginary A-S Python turbojet powered plane depicted in the ad doesn’t. That’s the key difference.
The second, unfinished, prototype was due to have turbo-prop engines – the Centaurus engines were obsolete by the time the first Brabazon flew (sleeve valves !)
A customer ordering a Brabazon would presumably have been able to specify their choice of engine, and A-S would have promoted the Python in ads like this.
The Brabazon had counter-rotating turboprops much like the Tu95 Bear. But the landing gear wasn’t as tall (or spindly) as depicted in the ad.
Note the large air intakes; they’re none on the depicted plane in the ad.
And this is the last time I’m saying this. Does anyone read the previous comments before commenting? 🙂
Funny. We seem to be well-behaved in that regard when it comes to cars, but veer onto another topic and this happens! Kind of like the Facebook syndrome.
It’s all about aspiration. People used to aspire to own or witness new and better things, and advertising enthusiasm would reflect that, getting out in front of reality, often to the point of showing something that never would come to be, specifically, even if things continued to move that way in some general direction.
The “Pan Am” space plane in the movie “2001” was a classic example of the genre. There was never such a plane, and Pan Am went away, but there it was, in the movie. Aspirational thinking.
As to sizing and proportions, that has always been an ad game, to move things around and resize them for maximum effect. One wonders what the level of gullibility might have been at the time, or whether the artist even cared about being convincing.
Ironically enough, on the very next page in the Armstrong Siddeley brochure is this very realistically-proportioned rendering of a Hurricane. I guess one image for the dreamers, and one for the realists.
I know nothing of the marque–neither autos nor aviation. Plenty for me to learn today!
FWIW, Getty Images has this 1955 photo of Sapphire engine manufacture:
The H.P. Victor was a fantastic looking aircraft-it always reminded me of the rocket ships in the 1930’s Flash Gordon serials.
It’s their habit of putting the engines inside the wings. Maybe not the best idea in some ways, and the world’s first jet airliner the Comet turned out to have some slight structural issues elsewhere before they fixed them, but they did look cool.
There’s one inside at Imperial War Museum Duxford and one outside at the National Museum of Flight in Scotland.
The closest you could argue might be the Canadair CL-44, derived from the Bristol Britannia. Some of these had contra-rotating props but as Paul points out the illustration is speculative, even if Armstrong-Siddeley ended up as part of Bristol Engines and then into Rolls-Royce plc.
But seeing an airliner do a three point turn is quite amusing!
The pictures of the Brabazon are always fun, but have little to do with AW. The illustration is an early AW proposal for a four engine turboprop transport/airliner, the Armstrong Whitworth Apollo:
AW likely had a lot of turboprop engine designs sketched out in 1946. The Apollo ended up with (single) Mamba turboprop engines, not the Double Mamba which would have had contra-rotating props. The actual plane was an underpowered dog, four Double Mambas (eight engines!) might have given it a fighting chance against the far more successful Vickers Viscount.
When I look at those front wings [fenders] I can’t help but speculate: Did some executive look at the prototype and tell the designer the wings were too long at the front, and to chop off the extra foot or so?
The side view of the car shows off some gracefully flowing lines, only to have the wing ridge line make a turn inward to collide with the radiator/grill assembly. I guess they needed a flat area to install the headlamps.