Selwyn Allen’s 1958 Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 346 hearse is one of the rarest cars in the world. A truly remarkable vehicle that adds a touch of elegance & splendour to any funeral service.
At the time Selwyn Allen purchased this hearse, it was the only operational vehicle of its kind. A classic-car enthusiast since childhood, Selwyn obtained the hearse after fifteen years of polite appeal to it’s previous owner, a funeral director in Wales who only relinquished his hold on the Sapphire 346 hearse after his retirement.
The vehicle was shipped to Australia to undergo a meticulous restoration, returning it to its former glory. To maintain and operate this vehicle this unique—and one that is over a half century old—is a labour of love, to which Selwyn Allen gladly dedicates himself.
History of Armstrong Siddeley and Selwyn Allen
The connection between Armstrong Siddeley and Selwyn Allen runs deeper than just a classic car restoration. A keen eye will note that the Selwyn Allen All Faiths Funerals logo is modelled closely on that of the Armstrong Siddeley– with an intertwined “A” and “S” enclosed in an oval with the profile of a sphinx. The similarity is no mistake: at a young age, Selwyn was given a 1925 Armstrong Siddeley 14HP Tourer, and was delighted to find his own initials cast into the brake and clutch pedals.
The love of this classic marque would become a lifelong hobby, eventuating with Selwyn serving as the National Historian of The Armstrong Siddeley Car Club of Australia as he does today. 18 year ago when beginning his funeral director business he even managed to register the famous Sphinx logo for his own brand.
The emblem comes from the slogan “silent as a sphinx”, referencing the Armstrong Siddeley engine’s quiet purr in relation to its competitors.
The sphinx was eventually used as a bonnet ornament, it became ubiquitous with the brand, similar to the Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament that adorns all Rolls-Royce cars. It can be recognised on the bonnet of the Selwyn Allen hearse, as well as on the logo that Selwyn Allen All Faiths Funerals uses today. A sphinx emblem adorns the bonnet of each of the modern hearses, too.
Today the hearse stands as a symbol of the Allen family’s commitment and compassion to their client families: dedicated to providing a truly unique & prestigious hearse for a truly unique & prestigious service. It represents Selwyn Allen’s simple, unerring commitment to honour the memory of your loved one with true elegance and dignity.