Rootes Archive Centre - Catalogue.
Rootes Car Prototypes.
This page gives information about prototypes which were not
manufactured but may be of some historical importance.
- In 1919 the R34 Zeppelin made its first round trip from UK to
USA. It was powered by 5x Sunbeam Maori V12 DOHC engines.
- Sunbeam 30 (1936) - Two prototypes. The full story of the Sunbeam
30 is told by Tim Sutton in Devonshire House, issue 6, Summer
2009. Devonshire House is the newsletter issued free to
Friends of the Archive Centre.
- Gillie (1964) - In mid 1964 Rootes Limited designed a utility
version of the Imp closely modelled on the Mini Moke which had
appeared from the BMC stables. The vehicle was named the "Gillie"
(after the Scottish name for a gamekeeper), and the job of producing
a prototype was given to the Rootes' Diesel Engineering and Special
Products Division, Tilling Stevens of Maidstone. Only two prototypes
were built and served for many years on Lord Rootes' private estate
at Glenalmond. One still exists.
- Asp and Cub (1966) - One fully built prototype and one model. The
Imp-based drophead coup\'e is now believed to be in
Portugal. Possible production was handed over to Alan Fraser Racing
who's independent company was responsible for the works-supported
circuit-racing Imps. The Cub was an open-topped version of the
We received the following note from Geoff Newland in June 2012.
My involvemement is quite small, but unusual: From 1966-72 I
worked for the Beadles Group, latterly as Workshop Manager of
their newly acquired (from Cripps Brothers) Morris/ MG/ Wolseley/
BMC delership in Sidcup, Kent.
Occasionally Sir Reginald Rootes and Timothy Rootes would visit the
Sidcup premises as their Managing Director, Dudley Baker, had his
office there - the original Beadles business was based in Dartford
but as Dudley lived in Reigate it saved him several extra miles
I have two particular memories of Sir Reginald and Timothy: The latter
usualy had a chauffeur driven Triumph 2000 or 2500 and on one
visit the Lucas fuel injection was playing up ... Far more
interesting was Sir Reginald's visit when he came by prototype
Humber Super Snipe (or was it a Pullman?) with V8 engine - I
cannot remember if it was the Ford or Chrysler unit. The power
steering was leaking and I was asked to have a look at it. There
was little we could do without spares, but seem to remember we
tightened everything we could and topped up the
reservoir. Naturally I had to personally road test the car to
ensure my Group's supremo was safe to get home to Smarden in
Kent. The performance was electric in a straight line, but
cornering and roundabouts were less enjoyable, to put it
diplomatically. The standard car was similar from memory but the
V8's massive performance must have raised a safety issue and one
of many reasons for the V8 model not going into production?
What happened to the car? Does it survive or has anyone made a replica?
- Ginetta GRS Tora
- Humber Imperial V8 (1965)
- Singer SMX Prototype (1956)
- Sunbeam Sonic
- Swallow - Designed by Prof. Tony Stevens, the prototype car is in
the Coventry Museum collection and many drawings and photographs are
in the Archive Centre.
- Sunbeam Tiger - The Archive Centre has the original drawings
showing how the Alpine morphed into the Tiger. These have been
under close scrutiny from members of STOA and CAT clubs of USA and
we contribute to authentication of remaing Sunbeam Tigers through
the Heritage Certificate and TAC schemes.
- V8 Imp Engine - Tony Stevens also built this and donated a
photo. It is not known which car it was intended for.
- BRM Avenger - The Archive Centre provided drawings and information
for the BRM day at Bourne, 7/10/2012. This was known as "Project