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Sunbeam-Talbot Limited

The Sunbeam-Talbot Company is an amalgamation of the technical skill and manufacturing experience of two famous British sports and racing car concerns.

From 1909 to 1926 Sunbeam cars won races and broke speed records with remarkable regularity. In 1926 it was a Sunbeam which first exceeded 150 m.p.h. and a year later it was again a Sunbeam which raised the world's record to the phenomenal figure of 203.44 m.p.h.

The Clement-Talbot Company was established in London in 1902 and a Talbot car, in 1913, became the first vehicle to cover more then 100 miles in an hour. By 1914 the company had won more than 100 first awards.

The two distinguished names were merged under the Rootes banner in the mid-1930s and the post-war years saw Sunbeams pioneering the return by manufacturers to competitive work in the rally field.

A steady run of successes soon won Sunbeam Talbot cars - the ``Talbot'' was later dropped to avoid confusion with a French model - a new reputation in competition motoring. Since the war major Sunbeam victories included:

First place, acceleration and braking tests, International Alpine Trial (1948, 1949, 1950); second place Monte Carlo Rally (1952); three Coupe des Alpes and manufacturer's team prize, Alpine Trial (1952); four Coupe des Alpes, Alpine Trial (1953); manufacturer's team prize, Great American Mountain Rally (1953, 1954); first place and Coupe des Dames, Monte Carlo Rally (1955).

In the 1956 Monte Carlo Rally Sunbeams made history by taking the manufacturer's team prize for the third tine, so winning the Charles Faroux Challenge Trophy outright - the first time this had been done in the history of the arduous Rally.

The name of Sheila van Dam: will always be associated with Sunbeam, for she won more than 56 trophies driving cars of the famous marque, Miss van Dam won the title of Champion European Woman's Driver in 1954 and 1955. She retired in January but returned to the wheel in the spring of 1956 when a brand new Sunbeam made its competition debut.

The new Sunbeam Rapier won its class in the Mille Miglia road race and since then has gained an outstanding reputation as a rally car: winning the 1958 R.A.C. International rally outright, gaining a Coupe des Alpes in the Alpine Rally that year and gaining the unique distinction of being highest placed British car in the Monte Carlo Rallies of 1958, 1959 and 1960.


next up previous contents
Next: Singer Motors Limited Up: The Rootes Group - Previous: Hillman Motor Car Company   Contents
Rob Allan 2016-01-03