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  • Rootes Group Archive

    OK, a little bit off 'Studebaker' topic, but with a Studebaker link...

    The Rootes Group Archive was about to be demolished by French car makers, Peugeot, in 2002 when they decided there was no need or viable commercial requirement to retain or maintain the archive. BTW, Chrysler bought the Rootes Group, which included the Sunbeam Tiger, in the 1960's.

    To owners of Hawk cars, they may know that Duncan McRae, was the industrial designer, who had a hand in the re-working of the 1959 Hawks... and he also had a hand in the design of the Sunbeam Alpine (series 1, 2 & 3) all had high wings.

    The positive to come from this was the Archive was saved in pretty much its entirety, helping to maintain and preserve the cars for future generations... so long as they know how to wield a spanner and socket!

    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-new...ls-on-the-road
    Richard
    sigpic

  • #2
    Thanks for this interesting connection Richard. I had the pleasure of knowing Duncan McRae. But there's another Studebaker/Rootes connection.

    When I joined Studebaker in 1963, my immediate boss was R.J. 'Bob' Orr, Vice President of Marketing for Studebaker of Canada. Not only did Bob Orr bring significant Ford background with him when he joined Studebaker, he had also been a senior executive with the Rootes Group in Canada. Shortly after the Studebaker/CMI takeover fell apart in 1965, Bob Orr left Studebaker to study law. He subsequently became a partner in the prominent law firm of Bull, Hauser in Vancouver BC and ended up handling the Nissan legal business. Bob Orr passed away a number of years ago.

    Stu Chapman

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    • #3
      One of the best cars I ever owned outside of my Studebakers was an Mark ! Sunbeam Tiger with a 260 Ford V-8. It would fly and the torque required traction bars in order to not snap the axle. Yes, it was a 65 model and one of Shelby's first cars.
      sigpicSee you in the future as I write about our past

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Avantidon View Post
        One of the best cars I ever owned outside of my Studebakers was an Mark ! Sunbeam Tiger with a 260 Ford V-8. It would fly and the torque required traction bars in order to not snap the axle. Yes, it was a 65 model and one of Shelby's first cars.
        X2 - In 1971, when I returned from Viet Nam, I had enough cash to buy most any good used car I wanted. The choice came down to a '65 Tiger or a '63 Avanti. The Avanti was an automatic and had some other issues. The Tiger won the decision and I drove it for fifteen years, including building a hot 302" for it. With that engine, it was dangerously fast, so I did some much-needed tire and suspension upgrades, including a Studebaker Twin Traction for the Dana 44 differential. The Tiger had tapered axles, but I never broke one in hundreds of drag strip starts.

        The rest of the story is I was a Big Brother and my Little Brother learned to drive in it. Fast forward thirty years and he asked me whatever became of the Tiger after I sold it. I have a couple of old friends from the Tiger days who still own their original cars and they maintain a Tiger archive. We tracked down the owner and caught him in the mood to sell. He'd invested $25K in new paint, upholstery, a 5-speed conversion and a rebuild with aluminum heads. Essentially we bought it back for what I sold it (in inflated dollars) for and got his improvements for free. It's now back in the family.

        jack vines
        PackardV8

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        • #5
          Karen and I had a 66 MK 1A Tiger from 83 until 09. They are one of the most fun cars on the planet, and the folks who assume it is "just some slow little sports car" always got a shock, ha ! We took the excellent 260 out of ours (saved it of course) and put a balanced and blueprinted 289 HiPo (a real one) with polished ports, the "Tiger" logo'd valve covers, a "Cobra" logo'd hi rise with a small Holley, and a better exhaust system. What a little rocket ! We never changed the factory gearing, the darn thing had a l-o-n-g first gear that way ! Much fun and miss it bad... We also had a slightly modified Pantera for 11 years during this time, and the Tiger would leave it behind. The Rootes Group built some very neat cars.

          Oh yeah, a short edit here...thanks for the info about the Studebaker connection, that is info that I had no idea about !
          Last edited by j.byrd; 10-25-2016, 10:39 AM. Reason: forgot something !

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          • #6
            I too am a current Tiger owner (101st one made) albeit still on jackstands for more that 15 years (but..., someday...). Seems a few other cars including a Studebaker got in the way of completion. A few years ago number of of CAT members (California Association of Tiger) went to England and explored the Rootes Archives. I believe the word they described it as was "vast." So the preservation has been of great benefit to the Tiger community.

            BTW, those tapered axles on my car were nearly impossible to get the hubs off of. Tiger prices have skyrocketed lately. My near basket case Tiger cost me $3,500 back in 2000. Well, that would include another $1,600 for the replacement front clip, hardtop and $800 in new, uninstalled parts from Sunbeam Specialties that was part of the package. But that was an off the record part of the sale to lower the use tax at the DMV. I've probably got another $1,000 in it (I'm a CATO too) and it is probably worth $20k-$25K today As/Is (see pic). Thanks for the Rootes info. I didn't know there was any Studebaker connection.
            Attached Files
            '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

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            • #7
              I worked for a Sunbeam-Simca dealer back in those years. Yes, the Tiger was the star of the show. The owner was a pretty good driver, and he loved to give hair-raising test drives with prospective buyers.....as in Rockford turns and lots of burning rubber.
              AL SORAN RACING

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              • #8
                I also worked for a Rootes Group dealer "back in the day"
                He was a former Packard dealer, don't think he sold Studebaker. Never found evidence of Studebaker.
                I found he sold Edsel, BMC vehicles, Rootes, Honda Motorcycles, Volvo, and Elva.
                sigpic1957 Packard Clipper Country Sedan

                "There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer"
                Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle
                "I have a great memory for forgetting things" Number 1 son, Lee Chan

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                • #9
                  For some reason I have always been attracted to Rootes Group stuff. While I have neve personally owned any of their products my dad bought a Hillman Husky in the mid-1950's, while in Austria.Our family (Mom, Dad, my brother and myself!) took this little station wagon from Southern California to Omaha at leas twice. After that it went with us to Eritrea where it continued to serve us well. The later Hillmans and Sunbeams did have a bit of the Studebaker flair to them.
                  Joe Roberts
                  '61 R1 Champ
                  '65 Cruiser
                  Eastern North Carolina Chapter

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dwain G. View Post
                    I worked for a Sunbeam-Simca dealer back in those years. Yes, the Tiger was the star of the show. The owner was a pretty good driver, and he loved to give hair-raising test drives with prospective buyers.....as in Rockford turns and lots of burning rubber.
                    Besides towing an Avanti? http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...ighlight=TIGER

                    Craig

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                    • #11
                      I have another Studebaker connection that hasn't been brought up. My second car was a 1954 Sunbeam Alpine. Not like the later one with the fins but based on the older Sunbeam-Talbot 90. Here is where the Studebaker connection comes in. Two seat sports cars were the rage at the time & Sunbeam needed one yet didn't have the money for a whole new car. Enter Raymond Loewy. Loewy redesigned the car giving it a sleek 2 seat body. The bodies were done by Thrup & Mayberly (spelling may be wrong).

                      My car was a 1954, ser. # A3014799. I still have an old registration from it along with the owners & parts manual.

                      I got mine by way of having breakfast every morning before work at Queen city Pontiac in Plainfield, N.J. Another patron of the diner I got to know was the service manager of a neighboring dealership who happened to sell Studebaker, Mercedes & Sunbeams! One morning he says to me that "we have a car in the shop that you'd probably like." It was my Alpine. I bought it for $35.00, did a valve job using all new valves (at $5.00 each they were polished, tuliped & sodium filled... really neat stuff) along with a new clutch assembly. It also had the usual Lucas electrics bugs. One night coming home from a party in the rain a fuse blew & I lost my wipers & something else. Any view out of the windshield was near impossible so I had to drive with my head out the door making the removal of the drivers side curtain necessary. Even still I loved that car and if one appeared now & I have the means of paying for it I'll jump at the chance.
                      59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
                      60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
                      61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
                      62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
                      62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
                      62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
                      63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
                      63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
                      64 Zip Van
                      66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
                      66 Cruiser V-8 auto

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Warren Webb View Post
                        I have another Studebaker connection that hasn't been brought up. ...
                        This is getting like that six degrees of Keven Bacon thing. You had a Sunbeam, I have a Sunbeam. You have a Studebaker(s), I have a Studebaker. You worked/ate in Plainfield, N.J., I was born in Plainfield, N.J.. You live in So. Cal., I live in So. Cal..
                        '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

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                        • #13
                          Click image for larger version

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                          A couple of photos that I took when I got along to the Sunbeam Alpine AGM in the UK. It was held in Tetbury, which is about 30 minutes from where I live. Sadly, the UK summer weather was up to its usual tricks and within 30 minutes of arriving, it started raining. My visit was about an hour and I was happy to get my car back in the garage... and later wash it clean.
                          Richard
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            The Sunbeam Rapier hardtop has a real Hawk vibe about it!

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                            • #15
                              You're right there for sure... I saw a green one at another event earlier this year. I find that some UK owners aren't really receptive to having a conversation about the similarities between the Golden Hawk and a Rapier, which is a pity. Maybe they're feeling a bit intimidated... I'm not sure. Anyway, here's a pic of the one from this year's show just outside Bath.
                              Click image for larger version

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                              Richard
                              sigpic

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