What Could Have Been

Rover

Rover

It all began when the bicycle was king. James Starley was well known for making sewing machines but, in 1869, made the transfer into the bicycle trade. One of his employees was his nephew, John K Starley, who left his uncle’s company, joined forces with William Sutton and founded Starley ...

Lanchester

Lanchester

Born in 1868 in south London, the middle of eight children, Fred was a gifted scientist and engineer, and won a scholarship to the Royal College of Science. At the age of 21, he joined the Forward Gas Engine Company in Birmingham, where he made some very successful refinements to ...

Armstrong-Siddeley

Armstrong-Siddeley

A-S was based in Coventry, the British Detroit, and came about through some large industrialists shuffling the deck. John Davenport Siddeley came to the automobile field, as many Victorians did, through bicycles. He worked for Humber Cycles before moving to the Pneumatic Tyre Company, but left when it became the ...

Humber

Humber

Over the past few instalments of What Could Have Been, we’ve looked at a number of motor manufacturers from the Coventry area; here’s another: Humber. Many people (OK then, perhaps it’s just me) always assumed that Humber Limited was named for its location. Not so. The company name has nothing to ...

Alvis

Alvis

f you join the dots of Greater Birmingham, Luton, Dagenham, Cowley and back to Birmingham, you’ll have a very long, thin diamond shape. Going back a few decades, most of the UK’s motor car production happened within that narrow rhomboid, and one of the liveliest spots within it was Coventry. ...

Gordon-Keeble

Gordon-Keeble

From the mid-Fifties on, Europe was awash with elegant coachbuilt GTs for the distinguished chap. France had Facel, Italy had Iso, Lamborghini and Ferrari, while Great Britain had Aston Martin, Bristol, Alvis, Jensen and AC, alongside the traditional Bentley. Although those latter companies were very, very British, they would often ...

Allard

Allard

Sydney Allard is the very picture of a man whose life revolved around motorsport in one form or another. Born in Streatham in 1910, Sydney’s first proper taste of competition came in 1929 at the wheel of his elder brother Jack’s hand-me-down Morgan Grand Prix three-wheeler. Syd and his other ...

Singer

Singer

Another look back at a name from Britain’s proud motoring heritage. This month, Singer: a great independent that was swallowed by the corporate machine Think ‘Singer’, and most people will think of sewing machines. Sadly, that’s how far this once-great motoring name has fallen from the public consciousness over the past ...