Another obituary I’m afraid. This time Raymond Baxter, who was part of the Rootes works rally team and narrated many Rootes promotional films, has passed on:
In case you’ve missed this in the news, it’s been announced that the old Rootes plant at Ryton is to close next year.
With great sadness I must report that works rally driver Colin Malkin has passed away.
I’ve now added Google Earth placemark files to my Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Sunbeam Factories section.
If you’re not familiar with Google Earth, it’s free software that allows you to view satellite images of the entire Earth’s surface. Resolution varies from place to place, but all the locations I’ve provided placemarks for have good clear images.
One for Sheila Van Damm fans – there’s a new film out soon called Mrs Henderson Presents. It is about the Windmill theatre with which the Van Damm family was associated. Bob Hoskins plays Sheila’s father.
No word yet on whether Sheila appears as a character in the film. I doubt there will be any Sunbeam content although one can always hope.
(For the uninitiated, Sheila Van Damm was one of Sunbeam’s greatest works rally drivers.)
Sadly the old Rootes plant in Humber Rd, Coventry is to be demolished.
The ex-Rootes plant at Ryton, Coventry is still going strong. It’s about to get an upgrade with funding from the British Government.
Sad to hear that we’ve lost two more works rally team drivers. Both Ronnie Adams and Lola Grounds have passed away recently.
As I write this a group of intrepid Imp owners are driving their cars from London to Budapest and back again. You can follow their progress on the site above.
It’s all in the name of charity. If you feel like making a donation, you can do so via the site.
If there’s one thing I find hard to stomach from the period where Chrysler owned Rootes it’s the axing of the Asp project. The Asp was to be Rootes’ entry in the Spridget/Spitfire end of the sports car market. It was to use the overhead cam, all alloy Imp engine. Rootes hadn’t quite worked out whether the engine was to go in the front or back. In any case it looked like being huge fun.
Unfortunately when Chrysler stepped in they couldn’t understand why anybody would want to buy a funny little car like that, so they scrapped the whole idea.
It’s ironic then that Chrysler is now considering building the Dodge Slingshot, a car that seems very much like a modern interpretation of the Asp.