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Car Models

The British Salmson S4C was virtually entirely made in England and bodied delightfully by the best coach builders. It was made and tested with the greatest care in batches of about 25 and in all something like 250 were built between 1934 and 1938.

Quite a few S4C sports models were made usually with open 2-seater bodies. To identify, look for a revolution counter and confirm from the chassis number: the third letter will be an ‘S’.  This number can be found on a brass plate mounted on the driver’s side of the bulkhead, under the bonnet.

In 1937 & ’38 the S4D model was offered with a bored out engine, and with advanced features such as dual-circuit hydraulic brakes and IFS (Independent Front Suspension) with rack and pinion steering. About 50 were sold.

At the same time a few (estimated to about 12) dream cars were made – the 20/90; a 6 cylinder engine, designed by the British company, and put in an S4D chassis.

The British Salmson models can be easily told apart: the S4C has Rudge-Whitworth wire wheels while those of the S4D are pressed Jordan steel wheels, though still secured by a center knock-off.

As a point of interest, British Salmson cars are accepted by the Vintage Sports Car Club Ltd. as Post Vintage Thoroughbreds.

Chassis characteristics

S4C 12/55, 12/70 S4D 14/65 S6D 20/90
Wheelbase (inches)

110

112

112

Weight (cwt.)

24

25

29

Tires

5.00 x 18

6.25 x 16

6.25 x 16

Capacity (cc)

1480

1596

2596

Bore (mm), all strokes 98

69

72

75

Compression ratio

6.1  Sports 6.5

6.1

6.1

BHP

55  Sports 70

65

90

Mph / 1000 rpm

16

16.5

18.6/19.7

Top speed (mph)

70  Sports 80

80

90

Miles / Gallon

30

27

22

 
S4C 12/70 Sports Front

The Sports model had a 2 inches lower radiator, than the non Sports models.

Originally the headlamps had mechanical dip function only on one lamp and a fixed reflector on the other. When the dip was used an opening contact in that lamp switched off the lamp with the fixed reflector. The car on the photo is modified and has two dipping headlamps to comply with modern traffic regulations.

The Rotax Dynastart visible at the bottom of the radiator is one of the characteristics of British Salmson cars. Believed by many persons to be a Supercharger. The Dynastart is directly coupled to the crankshaft and is always rotating at engine speed. The Salmson cars made in France had a more traditional arrangement with a separate Dynamo driven by the fan belt and Starter driving on the starter ring on the flywheel.