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YESTERDAY, THE CONCEPTS of single- and double-sleeve-valve automotive engines were discussed. Today in Part 2 we’ll focus on the Scottish Argyll marque, the high point of which came between 1910 and 1914.
These Argyll tidbits are gleaned from “The Single Sleeve-Valve Argylls,” by George A. Oliver, Profile No. 67 in Classic Cars in Profile, Vol. 3. In describing the Argyll’s engine, Oliver noted, “In each cylinder there were three specially shaped ports for inlet and exhaust respectively, but the sleeves had five ports only, the central one in each case being of double form, to serve both inlet and exhaust.”
Oliver quoted the catalogue: “The peculiar twisting motion of the sleeve has been found to possess inherent advantages. Its motion may be likened to screwing a plug into a plain hole, where, by twisting the plug round, and at the same time pushing it in, it can be entered with comparative ease.”
“In practice,” Oliver wrote, “this arrangement seems to have worked extremely well, and the 100 m.p.g oil consumption claimed may well have been true. The writer, who well remembers Argylls in use between the wars and has had comparatively recent road experience of the 1914 15/30 now in the Transport Museum in Glasgow, can vouch for the fact that they were not smokers on the Daimler scale.”
Argyll Four-Wheel Stopping. In 1914, Argyll chief engineer Henri Perrot acquired rights to a rarity at the time: four-wheel braking. Actuated by cable through either the pedal or hand brake, the braking had diagonal compensation and worked reliably in minimizing side-slip (a common hazard of rear-only retardation).
Oliver noted, “The unkind have suggested that Argylls were better at stopping than going…. The fact remains that their safety factor was higher than that of any of their home-produced contemporaries.”
Argyll Records at Brooklands. In 1913, a streamlined Argyll 15/30 was taken to the Brooklands Circuit, the plan being to run for 12 hours. Matters went so well that two more hours of lapping were added and no fewer than 26 records were set.
“Over the whole time,” Oliver noted, “an average of 72.59 m.p.h. was maintained—a most praiseworthy performance for an engine of 2614 cc capacity with 2726 lb. to pull.”
On the matter of oil consumption, Oliver reported, “The driver had an extra hand-operated oil pump under his control and Perrot indicated when the engine needed oil by waving a white flag; as soon as blue smoke appeared from the exhaust, he signalled to the driver to stop pumping by waving a blue flag.”
Demise, Yet Vindication. Argyll never recovered from a change of management in 1914. The factory suffered from overcapacity in the 1920s, made its final appearance in the London Motor Show in 1927, and ceased operations completely in 1932.
“The Argyll disappeared from showrooms and exhibitions,” Oliver wrote, “though not from motoring history. In the end, its supporters were fully vindicated, for in 1934 the Bristol Aeroplane Co. adopted the Burt McCollum principle for use in air-cooled radial engines so well that Bristol power units of this type had great commercial and military success until the coming of the jet.”
And, besides, Argylls always smoked less than Daimlers. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2019