When Rootes dissolved their official Sunbeam Talbot Owners Club sometime after production of Sunbeam Talbots ended, the owner of one of the ex-works team Alpines, Gerry Simonds, called a meeting of Sunbeam owners to discuss the possibility of forming a club. That inaugural meeting, held at the Polygon Hotel, Southampton on March 12th 1969, attracted owners from various parts of the UK including London, Brighton, Yeovil, Derby and even Northern Ireland! The meeting proposed that the club should offer ‘good fellowship’ amongst members, practical assistance where possible in obtaining replacement parts, technical literature and information, a reference library, social and competitive events, and to publish a regular newsletter for all members.
A committee was elected, with Mr G.T. Rossiter as chairman, Len Smith, Secretary, Gerry Simonds, Treasurer, Gill Simonds Social Secretary, and three committee members: David Beven, Mike Oborne and David Parrott.
The first committee meeting was held in Oxford on March 28th, and further discussion took place regarding the proposed design of a club badge shown to members at the inaugural meeting. The final design would ‘be ready by the end of June’ and would cost £2.00. The annual subscription fee was also agreed at £2.00. Eligibility was discussed, and it was agreed that ‘while hybrid cars (i.e. cars with parts from other marks of Sunbeam Talbot or Alpine, or other Rootes products) would be accepted subject to scrutiny by committee if necessary, cars with alien engines and/or chassis would not be acceptable. Pre – 1948 Sunbeam Talbot sidevalve models to be accepted at the discretion of the committee (my italics!).
Since those early days, the club has gone from strength to strength; the early principles are still maintained, but of course the sidevalve cars are now an integral part of STAR! The early times of the one – day annual national rally have been replaced with the popular Friday to Sunday (or Monday!) ‘National Weekend’ organised by a different region each year, which now also attracts overseas members. Membership stands at over 650 worldwide, with some of the original ‘recruits’ still members. The club strives to promote the marque in any way possible, and still offers technical help and procurement of spares. It is a member of the Association of Rootes Car Clubs, from which benefit is obtained, and has links to other beneficial sources.
Contributed by Paul Walby (March 2018)