Shedding light on the Sunbeam
THE SUNBEAM TALBOT DARRAQ REGISTER (STD), which wasformed in 1950, isstill thriving . In December 1949 and January 1950, Motor Sport published an article by J Coombes and J VVyer, titled ‘Sunbeams Between the Wars’, which brought much attention to the importance of these Wolverhampton-built cars and led to the birth of the first meeting of the Sunbeam Register. Coombes was willing to
assist but too busy to conduct the register on his own, so my wife Winifred agreed to undertake the secretarial work involved. By July 1950 there were 83 members, and by October 1951 we had four Sunbeam Register Rallies. The aim of the club
was to keep as many Wolverhampton Sunbeams on the road as possible by puffing members in touch with sources of spares and information; to hold social gatherings In order to give members the chance of contacting each other and exchanging experiences and advice; sporting events to enable members to compete with each other on a level basis, and Concours d’ Elegance to provide an incentive for Sunbeams to be kept in immaculate condition and appearance. The register would organise a yearly weekend visitto the Sunbeam’s birthplace at Wolverhampton and drive in convoy and pose outside the old
Sunbeam factory. Many of the old employees would turn up at the park and watch with interest as the cars were being judged for the concours. In the evening members would meet at the Star and Garter Hotel for a dinner with a guest speaker. One year I tried to get Louis Cocrtalen, the famous Sunbeam designer, but instead he sent over from France a scarcely-known Sunbeam driver. The police would arrange for the traffic lights to be set in favour of the cavalcade as it proceeded through Wolverhampton, and one year we even persuaded Rootes to take their Grand Prix Sunbeam to the event. As it was being readied for towing, the police said they
would like to hear the noise of the engine, but as the car was not taxed it could not be driven to the event. Being told there were trade plates somewhere in the car that had accompanied it They were happy to let it be driven through the town; in fact they escorted it to the park.
Around this time my wife bought a Sunbeam 16 Tourer, which we would use to take the whole family to these Wolverhampton events. Returning home in the dark, with three young children in the back and knowing that the ignition distributor was inefficiently mounted was slightly worrying but it never failed us.