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British Industrial History

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August 1918. Erecting Shop.
July 1919.

Sunbeam Motor Car Company of Wolverhampton was a manufacturer of cars, buses and engines. They also built aircraft during WW1. For description of Sunbeam bicycles and motorcycles see John Marston Ltd.

See also -

1899 The first Sunbeam motor-car was built by John Marston Ltd

1905 January. The Sunbeam Motor Car Company Ltd was formed to focus on car production of John Marston Ltd, as distinct from its interests in the production of cycles[1] The first directors were John Marston, Edward Deanesly, Samuel Bayliss, Thomas Cureton, Henry James Bath and Herbert Dignasse.

1909 Sydney Slater Guy was Works Manager. Louis Coatalen joined as Chief Engineer.

1911 Increased the capital of the company. Directors are: John Marston (Chairman), Samuel Bayliss, Henry J. Bath, Thomas Cureton (MD) and Edward Deanesly. [2]

1914 Increased demand for Sunbeam cars due to the work done by the Sunbeam racers in France; first engines made for aircraft[3]

1917 John Samuel Irving joined as Chief Engineer from the Royal Aircraft Factory.

1917 W. M. Iliff and Edward Deanesly are re-elected as directors. [4]

1918 was a very tragic year for the Marston family. Firstly, the eldest son died, followed by his father the day after the funeral and his mother a few days later. It was to affect the firm deeply.

1918. AGM. Thomas Cureton is Chairman; Charles N. Wright appointed new director on the recent death of John Marston. Other directors re-elected are Henry J. Bath and L. Waterlen. Louis Coatalen mentioned as involved in the technical design. [5]

1919 Raised addition capital of £350,000. Makers of the Sunbeam car and the Sunbeam-Coatalen aero-engine. Directors: Thomas Cureton (Chairman), H. J. Bath, Samuel Bayliss, Louis Coatalen, Edward Deanesly, Charles N. Wright and W. M. Iliff (MD). [6]

c.1920 Facing a claim for death duties arising from the death of his father, Charles Marston sold his shares in John Marston Ltd. The company entered the new decade in the control of others, John Marston Ltd being acquired by Kynoch, part of Nobel Industries, in 1920.

1920 The company was amalgamated with A. Darracq (1905) Ltd and the name changed to S. T. D. Motors Ltd

1924 Dario Resta was killed at Brooklands driving a Sunbeam GP car.

1927 Henry Segrave, in his 1,000 h.p. Sunbeam, reached 203 m.p.h. [7]

1927 The Moorfield Road site was now some thirty acres and the company employed around 4,000 people.

Late 1920s: began development of an electric trolley bus design - see Sunbeam Trolleybuses

1929 Introduced a 45 h.p. six-wheel chassis for double-deck omnibus. [8]

1933 H. C. Stevens designed the 'Dawn' which appeared at the Motor Show. This was a lower cost model with a 12.9 hp four-cylinder engine

1935 S. T. D. Motors failed; the Sunbeam company, including Sunbeam Commercial Vehicles, was purchased by Motor Industries an associate company of Rootes Securities[9]

1936 Re-branded as Sunbeam-Talbot both now part of Rootes

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Monday, Jan 23, 1911
  2. The Times, Monday, Jan 23, 1911
  3. The Times, Jan 28, 1914
  4. The Times, Wednesday, Nov 28, 1917
  5. The Times, Saturday, Dec 21, 1918
  6. The Times, Wednesday, May 07, 1919
  7. The Times, Wednesday, Mar 30, 1927
  8. The Times, Monday, Jul 08, 1929
  9. The Times, Friday, Jul 05, 1935
  • [1] Wikipedia on Sunbeam Cars
  • [2] Wikipedia on Sunbeam Motorcycles
  • [3] Classic Glory - Sunbeam - web site
  • [4] About Sunbeam Motorcycles - Stewart Engineering web site
  • [5] Ian Chadwick's motorcycle web site
  • [6] Yesterday's Antique Motorcycles web site
  • [7] Wolverhampton Heritage and History Society
  • The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X
  • Ian Allan - British Buses Since 1900 - Aldridge and Morris
  • The Royal Aircraft Factory by Paul R. Hare. ISBN, 0-85177-843-7