STD Wolverhampton Rally

(July 11th)

It was nice to be back among the Coatalen Sunbeams, Roesch Talbots and the Darracqs, at Wolverhampton, where Register members meet ex-employees of the old Sunbeam Company, take the traditional Policeescorted parade to the Villiers Street factory, and have their cars judged for various attributes, at the Castlecroft Hotel. It was especially enjoyable for me, because it marked the coming out of retirement of my 1922 8 h.p. Talbot-Darracq, its crack-welded cylinder head replaced only the day before, but the run from Wales being accomplished satisfactorily, the little car driven by its restorer, Capt. Fox, with the Register's President, Winifred Boddy, as passenger. According to Register records, this was the first productionmodel, of its type, is apparently the only one remaining, and 41 years ago it competed against modern cars in the RAC Rally. That it went away on a trailer after the meeting caused some amusement among those who know I am "anti-trailer" where vintage cars are concerned. This was occasioned because my up-to-now favourite Insurance Company had failed to cover it in time for mc to drive it, and its other driver had an urgent engagement elsewhere...

The previous day the STD cars had been to the Stratford Motor Museum. Now more than 30 of them formed up for the impressive cavalcade through the town of Sunbeam's birth. They ranged from Mrs. Foster's 1912 12/16 Sunbeam tourer to L. Wiggin's 1936 Talbot 105 d.h. coupe. All were packed with passengers, many of them ex-Sunbeam workers, Geoff Hughes finding room for nte in his yellow Sunbeam Speed-20 which he uses regularly as business transport. Those cars present included Norris' beautiful 24/70 Sunbeam, Vaughan-Shaw's 15/40 DS Darracy, Peter Moores' well-known 1921 Sunbeam Cunard landaulette, an 18/55 Talbot tourer, two twin-cam 3-litre Sunbeams, a smart 10/23 Talbot tourer, a Dawn, Ward's ex-Fox & Nichol' Talbot 75; in fact, one of almost every STD model. Some Sunbeam motorcycles also joined in, including a 1930 Model-10 and an earlier sidecar outfit. The only "gate-crasher" was Max Hill's Bugatti and that was on photographic duties . . .

After tea Mrs. Boddy presented the prizes, the Age/Distance Award going to John Clarkson's aforesaid 1924 Sunbeam-like, 18/55 Talbot (245 miles, and back to Cornwall that evening), the Pride of Ownership prize to M. Barker's Talbot 90 Special, and the award for best under-bonnet condition to a 14/40 Sunbeam. The Perkins Trophy was given to Frank Selwyn for his hard organisational work and a special presentation was made to Jacques Michard who had set out from Paris three days earlier in his French Talbot, only to have it expire in the exceptional heat. Those present seemed to enjoy it all, in spite of the torrid temperature, as the hotel must have done, when selling us tea at 15p a cup!

The STD Register not only runs this annual pilgrimage to Wolverhampton and other events but it produces an excellent, magazine, the last issue of which had a very well-balanced content, including John Coombes' article on the last years of Sunbeam, an account of a 1925 Darracq's pilgrimage to France, the story of how a 20.9 Sunbeam fared in the 1929 Monte Carlo Rally, etc. The Secretary is: J. Grammer, 78, Hillside Gardens, Barnet, Herts. In spite of the splendid array of prizes no entry fee was charged, which must be the envy of other clubs.—W.B.