Rootes Archive Centre - Catalogue.
Competition cars built by Rootes.
Rootes Competitions Department.
The trust was very pleased to recently be able to acquire some of
the records from the Competition Department lastly run by Des
O'Dell. We are very grateful to Gail O'Dell for her help. For informatino about Des O'Dell see
An event is being held at the Silverstone race circuit on 25-27th
July 2008 to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Rootes Competitions
Department as founded by Norman Garrad in 1948. This coincides with
Silverstone's own 60th Anniversary and its associated Classic
Festival. Hopefully some interesting photos are to follow.
Competition cars at Rootes had a long heritage. We list here also
information on the Sunbeam racing and land speed record attempts
managed by J.S.~Irving. Chief engineer was Louis Coatelen.
- c. 1911 Sunbeam Nautilus, improved 3-litre 12/16 (Coatalen) ran in
the Coupe de l'Auto race for Voiturettes
- c. 1912 Sunbeam Toodles II (Coatalen)
- 1912, Four Sunbeams were entered for the French Grand Prix and
Coupe De L'Auto in June 1912. The cars came 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the
Coupe De L'Auto and 3rd, 4th and 5th in the Grand Prix. Sunbeam
instantly became internationally famous.
- 1913 Sunbeam finished 3rd in the Coupe de l'Auto behind
- 1913 Talbot car reached 100 mph. A Sunbeam finished 14 at
- 1914 Singer 10 won all the one to nine hour records at Brooklands
for under 1100cc.
- c.1914 Kenelm Lee Guiness (founder of the KLG spark plug company)
won the Tourist Trophy in a 3.3 litre 94 bhp Peugeot-derived Sunbeam
- 1921 STD 3 litre finished 5th in French Grand Prix
- 1921 STD 3 litre finished 5th in Indianapolis 500 driven by Ora
- 1922 3 litre STD won the TT sports car race driven by Jean
- 1922 Guiness achieved a land speed record of 133.75 mph in a 350HP
Sunbeam (STD) V12 at Brooklands
- 1923 Sunbeams finished 1-2-4 in the French GP
(Segrage-Divo-Guiness). Divo won the Spanish GP in a Sunbeam
- 1924 Segrave set fastest lap in the French GP but finished 5th. He
won the Spanish GP in a supercharged Sunbeam
- 1924-5 Sir Malcolm Campbell achieved the record of 146.16 mph and
150.78 mph at Pendine Sands in a Sunbeam. This was the former KLG car
modified and re-named Bluebird
- 1925 Sunbeam Super Sports came 2nd at Le Mans
- 1926 Henry Segrave's new 308 bhp 4 litre V12 Sunbeam was called
Ladybird and later re-named Tiger when driven by Kay
Don at Brooklands. Segrave achieved 152.33 mph at Southport and won
the Boulogne Land Speed Trials at 140.6 mph. This is the last time
that the land speed record was broken on English soil.
- 1927 Sir Henry Segrave, Daytona Beach, Florida. 24-cylinder (2x 12-cylinder
engines) 1000 bhp Sunbeam named Mystery. 203.79 mph. This car
is in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. Segrave received his
knighthood for this achievement.
- Golden Arrow (1928) - 240 mph land speed trial car driven by Major
Sir Henry Segrave.
- 1930 Kay Don's Silver Bullet had a 48 litre twin V12 engine,
but was not successful.
- A photo in the Getty Image Collection shows crowds gathered around
British speed boat and motor car racer Malcolm Campbell's
Bluebird outside Rootes Motors Ltd. London. This was
- 1932 a similar but modified second car to the 1926 V12 was named
Tigress and driven by Sir Malcolm Campbell to win the
Brooklands Mountain Championship.
- 1990 Tiger (yes 65 years old) did 159 mph!
Major Henry O'Neal de Hane Segrave was the greatest British racing
driver of the
1920s. See Wikipedia
Singer Rally Cars
Sunbeam Rally Cars
- 1955 Sunbeam Talbot 90 MkIII won the Mote Carlo Rally driven by
- Sunbeam Rapier 1958 Monte Carlo: Fifth overall
- Sunbeam Rapier 1958 Alpine Rally: First five places in class,
Coupe des Alpes and sixth overall.
- Sunbeam Rapier 1959 Monte Carlo Rally: Fifth overall.
- Sunbeam Rapier 1959 Alpine Rally: Third overall, first in
- Sunbeam Rapier 1959 Liege-Rome-Liege: First in class.
- Sunbeam Rapier 1960 Monte Carlo Rally: Fourth overall, first in
- Sunbeam Rapier 1960 Acropolis Rally: Third overall, first in
- Sunbeam Rapier 1961 Monte Carlo: First in class, fastest lap
- Sunbeam Rapier 1961 East African Safari: First in class.
- Sunbeam Rapier 1961 Circuit of Ireland: First overall.
- Sunbeam Rapier 1961 Alpine Rally: Third overall, first overall
(Touring), first in class.
- Sunbeam Rapier 1962 Monte Carlo: Third overall, first in
- Sunbeam Rapier 1962 Circuit of Ireland: First overall
- 1981 Sunbeam Lotus won the World Rally Championship.
Information on some other competition cars, including Imps and
Hunters, will follow.
The Talbot Sunbeam Lotus was the 1981 World Rally Champion winning car.