The recent announcement of the conversion of Rootes Securities to a public company and of its past year’s earnings totalling £1,143,000 focusses attention on its products, of which the Sunbeam-Talbot “90” is by far the most interesting from the sporting driver’s point of view. Recently we covered over 200 miles in one of these cars and were favourably impressed with the silent, refined running and the comfort and convenience of the appointments of this handsome-looking saloon. The detail aspects of the car’s bodywork and equipment are the same as those of the Sunbeam-Talbot “80” which was dealt with in Motor Sport last September, but whereas that car has a 68 by 95 mm., 1,185-c.c. engine, the “90,” also a push-rod o.h.v. four-cylinder, is of 75 by 110 mm., 1,944-c.c., and an efficient unit at that, developing 64 b.h.p. at 4,100 r.p.m. Consequently, in spite of the car’s appreciable weight, 26¼ cwt. unladen, the performance is brisk, with an absolute maximum of 77 m.p.h. and 57 m.p.h. obtainable in the 6.41-to-1 third gear. Top gear is 4.3 to 1 and tends to snatchy running below 6 m.p.h. The car is usually started in second gear (10.62 to 1) and at 20 m.p.h. one changes into third, the smooth acceleration continuing to 40 or more m.p.h., when one normally selects top. The silent running of the car, its excellent Lockheed brakes and its generally comfortable riding impart a pleasing sense of luxury and the steering, which is light once the car is really moving, allows the driver to swing through bends with ease, while the castor action is useful after rapid negotiation of acute corners. There is a tendency to pitch at times, but the ½-elliptic non-independent suspension gives generally comfortable riding, the deep leather upholstery further absorbing any shocks or tremors transmitted. There is a slight sense of top-heaviness when cornering fast, but generally the Sunbeam-Talbot controls well. The wheel and pedals are well-placed and the engine is as untroublesome as it is inaudible and does not “pink” on Pool. It starts easily from cold, thanks to the self-starting carburetter. That the car has good ground-clearance and an exhaust system which rough-going does not damage we discovered when negotiating parts of the Icknield Way in the course of covering the Cottingham Trophy Trial. Full marks are awarded to the pleasant driving position, easily accessible capacious rear locker, effective Clayton heater, H.M.V. radio, lever-controlled quick-action front windows, and adjustable squab of the driver’s seat. The doors were, however, disinclined to shut properly unless slammed very hard. The remarks relating to the “80” otherwise apply to the “90,” which offers easy speed and modern convenience in attractive combination, and that notable refinement of running which has always been a feature of Sunbeam-Talbot cars.
It is a car of particular interest to overseas buyers. The price is £991 0s. 7d., inclusive of purchase-tax (heater and radio extra), and under unfavourable conditions the petrol consumption was slightly less than 21 m.p.g., giving a range of over 200 miles. The petrol gauge had an unfortunate optimism, showing 5 litres when the tank was bone-dry and as there is no reserve this can entail a long walk. The makers are: Sunbeam-Talbot, Ltd., Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry.