Forty years ago Mrs WB started the Sunbeam Register (owning then a 1927 Sunbeam 16 tourer, the opening rally being held at the Hog’s Back Hotel, near Guildford, the most exciting of the 40 cars present being a 1914 TT Sunbeam. The following year the first Wolverhampton Rally was held, this club being the first, it is thought, to take cars back to their birthplace and soon afterwards Roesch Talbots and English Darracqs were admitted, hench the STD Register.
To commemorate all this, the 1990 event again went to the Castlecroft Hotel in Wolverhampton on July 1st, after 81 members had attended an anniversary dinner the night before at the Long Mynd. The cavalcade then moved off for tea at the Marston factory, where Miss Melissa Marston, whose grandfather had founded this forerunner of the Sunbeam Motor Car Company, was present as a guest. Also at lunch were two of the Marston daughters, one of whom recalled being taken to Shelsley Walsh, and the Register’s President, Mrs WB.
The splendid turn-out of cars comprised 42 Wolverhampton Sunbeams and seven Roesch Talbots, although no pre-1915 Sunbeams were present, nor any twin-cam 3-litres. The oldest Sunbeam was Pat Durnsford’s 1920 16 hp tourer, last seen 15 years ago and now arriving from Bournemouth, consuming five gallons of water on the way. Very similar was Mr and Mrs Kenyon-Smith’s 1921 model, but with multiple side curtains and two petrol cans on the running board. The casualties were few but Major Collings’ far-travelled 1929 20.9hp tourer this time expired in Worcester with a seized water pump and the AA had to rescue it. A prowl around showed that Ian Polson’s Talbot 105 was displaying an assortment of mechanical bits in front of it, that Ward’s 1928 Sunbeam 16 coupe had an unusual windscreen and lining on its coachwork, that Tyrer’s 1927 Sunbeam 16 tourer had a neat full length ‘tonneau’ cover and the initial ‘S’ on its front hubnuts, and that Smith’s 1928 Sunbeam 25 tourer sported an ‘Old Bill’ radiator mascot.
The Grammer Trophy for pride of ownership was won by Mrs Kay’s 1922 Sunbeam 14 with the very rare aluminium cylinder block, the fine Rootes Cup for age/distance by Grundey’s 1930 Sunbeam 16 on which he had done much of the restoration work and which had come from Aberdeen pausing about every 50 miles for water and was returning there on the Monday, the D’Acy Clarke Trophy for best under-bonnet condition by Basil Wilding’s 1935 Sunbeam Dawn swept-back saloon. Organiser Roy Jones was duly awarded the John Coombes Trophy, for services to the Register. Before we left we had the surprise of seeing Sunbeam ‘Tigress’ complete again, In the Marston factory. WB