The Big Car Database

British Salmson

British Salmson was a British based manufacturer of cars, from 1934 to 1939.

An offshoot of the French Salmson company, it was taken over by local management. After producing war supplies during World War II, it ceased car production, moved to Glasgow,Scotland, and produced printing machinery.

Industry Automotive
Fate Defunct
Founded 1929
Headquarters Raynes Park, London,England
Products Aero engines, Cars, Printing machinery
Parent Salmson

Foundation

In 1929, the French Salmson company started a British branch company, Moteurs Salmson in Raynes Park, London, as a radial aero engine maker for the British Empire market. Taken over by British sports car racer Howard Martineau and investors in 1930, they renamed it British Salmson Aero Engines Ltd and continued production under license.

As aero engine sales proved slow, the company extended the license deal to include local production of cars from 1934.

Production

S4C

The British S4C had the same twin-overhead-camshaft, 1471 cc, four-cylinder engine and chassis as its French parent, but the gearbox was updated to include synchromesh on the top two ratios. The coachwork was to a British design and was available in four-door saloon, sports saloon, open tourer and drophead coupé versions bought in from Ranalah orNewns. Two engines were offered, the single carburettor 12/55 and the tuned, twin carburettor 12/70. The latter was claimed to take the car to 80 mph (130 km/h). About 230 are estimated to have been made.

In 1937 the engine was enlarged to 1596 cc and the car became the S4D. Hydraulic brakes and transverse spring independent front suspension were fitted. The new car was heavier than the superseded S4C and in spite of the larger engine, there was no significant increase in performance. A curved back saloon and drophead coupé were offered. About 75 were made, production stopping in 1938.

The S6D or 20/90 of 1936 to 1939 had no French equivalent. The engine was a six-cylinder unit of 2580 cc, still with twin overhead cams and the car was available as either Sports Saloon, 2-seater sports or drophead coupé. A maximum speed of nearly 90 mph (140 km/h) was claimed. Bendix cable brakes were fitted to the first few cars but later ones had Lockheed hydraulics. About 15 were made up to the outbreak of war.

World War 2 and beyond

At the outbreak of World War II, car production ceased and the company became a general engineering company, producing components and sub-assemblies for other manufacturers.

Car production did not restart after the war, but a few small 31 cc engines for converting bicycles were made. The company eventually moved to Glasgow, Scotland, where they made printing machinery.

Parent Salmson France

Salmson was a French engineering company, initially in the automobile and aeroplane manufacturing area, turning to pump manufacturing in the 1960s.

Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1890
Founder Émile Salmson
Headquarters Boulogne-Billancourt (France)
Products Aircraft
Automobiles

History

It was established by Émile Salmson (1858-1917) as Emile Salmson, Ing. as a workshop in Paris (1890), making steam-powered compressors and centrifugal pumps for railway and military purposes. Subsequently joined by engineers George Canton and Georg Unné, it was renamed Emile Salmson & Cie, building petrol-powered lifts and motors (1896).

The company became one of the first to make purpose-built aircraft engines, starting before World war I and continuing into World War II.

After World War I the company looked around for other work and started making car bodies and then complete cars.

Car production finished in 1957.

Focus also moved back to pump production and the facilities moved to Mayenne in 1961. The firm was bought by ITT-LMT in 1962 and then by Thomson in 1976.

Its headquarters today are in Chatou.

Aircraft manufacture

It moved to Billancourt and manufactured the Salmson 9 series of air- and water-cooled radial engines. During World War I Salmson made its first complete aeroplanes, mainly the two-seat fighter/reconnaissance plane, the Salmson 2A2. These were used in combat by both the French and the American Expeditionary force. The company also designed a prototype of a single seat scout/fighter, the Salmson 3, but this was not produced in large quantities.

Salmson aircraft were also used for air mail to India in (1911).

Aeroplane manufacturing moved to Villeurbanne near Lyon.

Two world records were set by Maryse Bastié, who flew Le Bourget to Moscow (1931).

Aircraft

  • Hanriot HD.3
  • Hanriot H.26
  • Hanriot H.31
  • Hanriot H.33
  • Salmson-Moineau A92H
  • Salmson-Moineau S.M.1
  • Salmson-Moineau S.M.2
  • Salmson 1 A.3 (3-seat Artillery Spotter)
  • Salmson 2 A.2 (2-seat Artillery Spotter)
  • Salmson 2 Berline (Transport version of 2 A.2)
  • Salmson 2 de l'Aéropostale
  • Salmson 3 C.1 (Single-seat fighter)
  • Salmson 4 Ab.2 (ground attack aircraft;)
  • Salmson 5 A.2 (2-seat Artillery Spotter)
  • Salmson 6 A.2 (2-seat Artillery Spotter)
  • Salmson 7 A.2 (2-seat Artillery Spotter)
  • Salmson 16 A.2 (2-seat Artillery Spotter)
  • Salmson D-1 Phrygane (1934)
  • Salmson D-2 Phrygane
  • Salmson D-3 Phryganet
  • Salmson D-4 Phrygane Major
  • Salmson D-6 CriCri (1936)
  • Salmson D-7 CriCri Major
  • Salmson D-21 Phrygane
  • Salmson D-211 Phrygane
  • Salmson D-57 Phryganet

Aero-engines

Aero-engines produced up to 1917 are shown in the following table:

Name Cyl. Year Bore Stroke Capacity Power Remarks
A 2 x 7-cyl barrel 1908 75 mm (2.953 in) 125 mm (4.921 in) 7.7 l (469.88 cu in) 37.285 kW (50 hp) at 800 rpm Barrel engine 1 built bench tests only
B 2 x 7-cyl barrel 1910 75 mm (2.953 in) 125 mm (4.921 in) 7.7 l (469.88 cu in) 37.285 kW (50 hp) at 800 rpm 1 built bench tests only – water-cooled.
C 2 x 7-cyl barrel 1910 85 mm (3.346 in) 95 mm (3.740 in) 8 l (488.19 cu in) 44.74 kW (60 hp) at 1,100 rpm 1 built with rotary inlet valves – water-cooled.
D 2 x 7-cyl barrel 1910 85 mm (3.346 in) 95 mm (3.740 in) 8 l (488.19 cu in) 44.74 kW (60 hp) at 1,100 rpm 1 built with rotary inlet valves – water-cooled.
E 2 x 9-cyl barrel 1911 110 mm (4.331 in) 130 mm (5.118 in) 22 l (1,342.52 cu in) 55.93 kW (75 hp) 1 built – timed valves – water-cooled.
F 2 x 9-cyl barrel 1911 110 mm (4.331 in) 130 mm (5.118 in) 22 l (1,342.52 cu in) 55.93 kW (75 hp) at 1,200 rpm 1 built – timed valves – water-cooled.
K 2 x 7-cyl barrel 1912 85 mm (3.346 in) 105 mm (4.134 in) 11 l (671.26 cu in) 63.4 kW (85 hp) at 1,200 rpm 1 built – automatic inlet valves – water-cooled
A7 7-cyl radial 1911 120 mm (4.724 in) 140 mm (5.512 in) 11 l (671.26 cu in) 59.65 kW (80 hp) – 74.57 kW (100 hp) 5 built for bench testing – water-cooled
A9 9-cyl radial 1912 122 mm (4.803 in) 140 mm (5.512 in) 14.73 l (898.88 cu in) 82 kW (110 hp) – 96.94 kW (130 hp) 30 built – certified to 47 hours running by 1914
C9 9-cyl radial 1912 150 mm (5.906 in) 180 mm (7.087 in) 28.63 l (1,747.11 cu in) 223.7 kW (300 hp) 1 built for testing
M7 7-cyl radial 1913 122 mm (4.803 in) 140 mm (5.512 in) 11.5 l (701.77 cu in) 74.57 kW (100 hp) – 85.75 kW (115 hp) 50 built for bench testing – water-cooled
2M7 14-cyl 2-row radial 1913 122 mm (4.803 in) 140 mm (5.512 in) 23 l (1,403.55 cu in) 149.1 kW (200 hp) at 1,300 rpm Water-cooled – 15 built in France 300 built in Great Britain. Powered the Kennedy Giant, Short Type 166,Sopwith Bat Boat II, Sopwith Type C, Sopwith Type 860 and Wight Navyplane.
2A9 18 cyl 2-row radial 1913 122 mm (4.803 in) 140 mm (5.512 in) 29.46 l (1,797.76 cu in) 233.7 kW (313 hp) at 1500 rpm 1 built for bench testing – water-cooled
B9 9-cyl radial 1913 122 mm (4.803 in) 140 mm (5.512 in) 14.73 l (898.88 cu in) 104.4 kW (140 hp) Water-cooled – 106 built in Great Britain, 300 built in France. Powered the Short Type 135, Short S.74 et Short Type 830 and Voisin LA 5
M9 9-cyl radial 1914 122 mm (4.803 in) 140 mm (5.512 in) 14.73 l (898.88 cu in) 89.48 kW (120 hp) – 96.94 kW (130 hp) Water-cooled – 500 built in France. Powered the Voisin LA 3, Bréguet U2, Blackburn Type L, Breguet 14 prototype.
P9 9-cyl radial 1915 122 mm (4.803 in) 140 mm (5.512 in) 14.73 l (898.88 cu in) 111.85 kW (150 hp) Water-cooled – 300 built in France, 300 built in Russia. Powered theVoisin type LA 5 and Farman HF.27
R9 9-cyl radial 1915 125 mm (4.921 in) 140 mm (5.512 in) 15.46 l (943.43 cu in) 111.85 kW (150 hp) – 119.3 kW (160 hp) at 1,300 rpm Water-cooled – 50 built in France, 300 built in Russia. Powered theLebed 12, Anatra DS, and Salmson-Moineau (1917) prototype
9Z 9-cyl radial 1917 125 mm (4.921 in) 170 mm (6.693 in) 18.7 l (1,141.14 cu in) 186.4 kW (250 hp) at 1,400 rpm a.k.a. Z9 Water-cooled – 3000 built in France, 56 built in Great Britain. Powered the Salmson 2A2, Farman 60, Voisin Triplane, Caudron C.23, Hanriot H.26 and Vickers Vimy prototype
9Za 9-cyl radial           Variant of the 9Z, powered the Hanriot HD.3
9Zm 9-cyl radial           Variant of the 9Z
9Zc 9-cyl radial           Variant of the 9Z
CM9 9-cyl radial         194 kW (260 hp) powered the Salmson 2 Berline
Salmson 18ZA 18-cyl radial         373 kW (500 hp) powered the Hanriot H.33
Salmson 18ZC 18-cyl radial         373 kW (500 hp) powered the Hanriot H.31

Salmson post world War One engines

In common with several other French aero-engine manufacturers Salmson named their engines with the number of cylinders then a series letter in capitals followed by variant letters in lower-case. Engines not included in the 1932 table are listed here:

3 Ad

5 Ac

5 Ap-01

5 Aq-01

6 Ad

?

6 TE

6 TE.S

7 Aca

7 Aq

7 M

7 Om

8 As

9 AB

9 ABa

9 ABc

172 kW (230 hp)

9 Az

9 A2c

9 M

9 Nd

131 kW (175 hp)

9 P

9 Y

11 B

12 C

W-12

18 AB

18 Cm

18 Z

  • Salmson 11 B
  • Salmson 12 C W-12
  • Salmson 18 Ab
  • Salmson 18 Cm
  • Salmson 18 Z

Salmson-Szydlowski SH18

Salmson air-cooled engines available in 1932 are tabled here:

Name Cyl. Year Bore Stroke Capacity Power Weight
7 AC 7-cyl radial   100 mm (3.937 in) 130 mm (5.118 in) 7.150 l (436.32 cu in) 78 kW (105 hp) at 1,800 rpm Weight 130 kg (287 lb)
9 AD 9-cyl radial   70 mm (2.756 in) 86 mm (3.386 in) 2.979 l (181.79 cu in) 33.56 kW (45 hp) at 2,000 rpm Weight 68 kg (150 lb)
9 ADb 9-cyl radial   70 mm (2.756 in) 86 mm (3.386 in) 2.979 l (181.79 cu in) 41 kW (55 hp) at 2,200 rpm Weight 74 kg (163 lb)
9 ADr 9-cyl radial   70 mm (2.756 in) 86 mm (3.386 in) 2.979 l (181.79 cu in) 48.5 kW (65 hp) at 2,700 rpm Weight 79 kg (174 lb)
9 AC 9-cyl radial   100 mm (3.937 in) 130 mm (5.118 in) 9.189 l (560.75 cu in) 96.94 kW (130 hp) at 1,800 rpm Weight 170 kg (375 lb)
9 NC 9-cyl radial   100 mm (3.937 in) 140 mm (5.512 in) 9.9 l (604.14 cu in) 111.85 kW (150 hp) at 1,800 rpm Weight 155 kg (342 lb)
9 NCt 9-cyl radial   100 mm (3.937 in) 140 mm (5.512 in) 9.9 l (604.14 cu in) 126.77 kW (170 hp) at 1,800 rpm Weight 165 kg (364 lb)
9 AB 9-cyl radial   125 mm (4.921 in) 170 mm (6.693 in) 18.765 l (1,145.11 cu in) 186.4 kW (250 hp) at 1,700 rpm Weight 265 kg (584 lb)
9 NA 9-cyl radial   140 mm (5.512 in) 160 mm (6.299 in) 22.140 l (1,351.07 cu in) 246 kW (330 hp) at 1,800 rpm Weight 292 kg (644 lb)
9 NAs 9-cyl radial   140 mm (5.512 in) 160 mm (6.299 in) 22.14 l (1,351.07 cu in) 41 kW (55 hp) at 1,800 rpm Weight 315 kg (694 lb)
18 AB 18-cyl 2-row radial   125 mm (4.921 in) 180 mm (7.087 in) 39.76 l (2,426.30 cu in) 410.1 kW (550 hp) at 1,700 rpm Weight 150 kg (331 lb)
18 ABs 18-cyl 2-row radial   125 mm (4.921 in) 180 mm (7.087 in) 39.76 l (2,426.30 cu in) 484.7 kW (650 hp) at 1,700 rpm Weight 465 kg (1,025 lb)

Car manufacture

The Billancourt factory became the car manufacturing plant directed by Emile Petit. As the firm had no direct car design expertise they started by building the British GN cyclecar under licence, displaying six cars at the 1919 Paris Salon.

In 1922 the car part of the business became a separate company, named Société des Moteurs Salmson.

The first Salmson car proper used a four-cylinder engine designed by Petit with unusual valve gear: a single pushrod actuated both inlet and exhaust valves pushing to open the exhaust and pulling to open the inlet. This was used in the AL models from 1921. Later the same year the company built its first twin-overhead-cam engine, which was fitted to the 1922 D-type, although most production at first used the pushrod engine.

Models included

  • AL (cyclecar, 1920),
  • D-type (1922)
  • VAL3 (1922),
  • AL3 (1923),
  • GSC San Sebastian,
  • Gran Sport (GS, 1924-30),
  • 2ACT (1926).

Salmson won 550 automobile races and set ten world records (1921-28) before closing the racing department in 1929. The S-series cars took over from the D-type, starting in 1929 and becoming a long lived series.

  • S4 (1929–32)
  • S4C (1932)
  • S4D (1934)
  • S4DA (1935–38)
  • S4-61 (1938–51)
  • S4E (1938–51).
  • 2300 Sport Coupe (1953 to 1957)

After World War II the Salmson Typ S4E and Salmson Type S4-61 were re-introduced. Initially, as before the war, they were in most respects mutually indistinguishable from the outside apart from the slightly longer nose on the Type S4-E. The Type S4-61 retained its four-cylinder in-line 1,730 cc engine. The standard body was a four-door sedan/saloon, 4510 mm in length for the four-cylinder car and 4610 mm with the larger engine. As well as the sedan/saloon there was a four-seater two-door coupe version of the S4-61 although this variant represented barely 10% of the post-war S4-61‘s total sales. A few two-door cabriolets were produced.

In October 1947 a substantially updated body appeared for the Type S4-E, featuring more flamboyant wheel arches and lowered headlights, now set into the body work rather than perching above the front wings. The revised frontal treatment also quickly found its way onto the coupé and cabriolet variants, making the 13CV (2312cc) S4-E easier to distinguish from the 10 CV (1730cc) S4-61 than hitherto. Like France's other luxury car makers, Salmson sales suffered from a government taxation policy that penalised cars with large engines and a French economy which during the five-year period from 1945 to 1950 resolutely failed to show significant signs of growth. Overall volumes were depressed. Nevertheless, the 336 cars produced in 1948 – split between the 10CV and 13CV cars in a ratio of approximately 2:1 – did provide grounds for cautious optimism when compared to the 1947 volume of just 143 cars built.

In 1950 a new car arrived in the shape of the Randonnée E-72. Car sales nevertheless continued to be slow in the postwar market. The company's passenger car production reached a postwar peak of 1,162 in 1950, but by 1952 had slumped to just 89. The company had been kept going by its aircraft engine sales, although the factory had to close for a period.

A new car, the 2300 S, was shown in 1953 and it even took part in the 1955, 1956 and 1957 Le Mans 24-hour races

After bankruptcy in 1953, all activities ended in 1957 and Renault bought the factory.

 

Subscribe to our mailing list