Those Grand Prix Sunbeams

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[The following letters have been received relating to the history of Bill Lake’s 1922 Grand Prix Sunbeam (Motor Sport, June) and the other three team cars. No doubt the following correspondence in turn will provoke further response. We hope to have sifted some of the “evidence” in time to return to the subject next month. — Ed.]

The 1922 GP Sunbeams

Sir,

I’ve no wish to discredit a very well-presented article on the 1922 GP Sunbeam but there are parts of it that I find hard to accept. My brother’s and my own car is Reg. No. DA 6468, Chassis 2, Engine No. 2, not No. 3 as stated in your article. My own notes on these are on loan to a friend so I write from memory.

There is no photograph or document I know of that gives any indication as to what car Segrave used or its chassis no. It has been accepted that parts from these cars were used in the 1923 cars; we have no proof that any parts were restored to their original chassis. I suggest Mr. Lake has a very careful look at his engine number.

I saw the car when in the hands of Colin Crabbe and I think the car had a different Reg. No. All the original photographs that I’ve been shown show Nos. DA 6466, DA 6467 and DA 6468. I don’t attribute the No. DA 6436 to any of the team. I can only assume the number was given to the car during the rebuild. I have not seen any photographs of Segrave’s car with a Reg. No. on it.

On page 823 Guinness is seen sitting in a Sunbeam you say by its Reg. No. to be Segrave’s car, the Reg. No. is different from that on Mr. Lake’s car; the No. in the photograph is DA 6466. [Under the microscope it is 6436, as is on the car we showed being unloaded at Douglas. — Ed.]

Please Mr. Lake, show us some simple proof that your car is Segrave’s or be like us, contented to own such a car and remove the brass plates on the dash.

One point that could help is that if Segrave’s car had the seat set back 2″, bearing in mind the body is the seat, and the petrol tank set on cast-aluminium brackets let into the chassis, these brackets would have had to be modified.

One last point; it’s always been assumed the car, less engine, in Australia is the spare car. Is it not unfair to say this, as we are not in a position to prove it?

Sevenoaks

M. D. Geer

* * *

Sir,

It was with great interest that I read your article on the Grand Prix Sunbeams in this month’s issue. It would appear that the history of these cars is somewhat muddled, as the Hon. Jock Leith did not own chassis no. 1, but the spare car, Chassis No. 4 which he bought in burnt and rusty condition in 1934 for £10.

I hope that this short note does not confuse the Sunbeam history still further!

Upton Cross

A. Noel-Johnson