Cars of the Rootes Group calendar 2008 – editor’s notes

The calendar is produced for the enjoyment of Rootes enthusiasts everywhere.  It’s done on a not-for-profit basis, using photos generously sent to me by enthusiasts all around the world – this year we have cars from the UK, USA, Canada and of course Australia where I live.  Selecting the final pictures from those submitted is never easy and like most things in life requires compromise.  This year the selection reflects a number of constraints.  First, I try to have a range of different marques, models and countries represented – this year in particular I was aiming to have some Hillman photos from the various 2007 centenary runs around the world.  Next, I try to ensure a good quality reproduction – this means I can only use reasonably high-resolution original photos.  Third, I have to have permission to us the photos – meaning that I can’t use stuff downloaded from the Internet.  Of course, this is an advantage because the calendar becomes much more ‘personal.’

My wholehearted thanks go to everyone who sent photos.  To anyone who sent a photo that wasn’t used, please don’t be disheartened; it would be for one of the reasons above.  And I may well choose to include it in next years calendar – the Harrington Alpine in this year’s calendar was submitted last year and I have at least two sent to me this year that will definitely go in next year’s.

I hope you enjoy the calendar and look forward to doing it again next year.

Cheers, Vic

The Pictures

Cover:  “The Pleasant Predicament” – Bob Hamilton’s Sunbeam collection, how does he decide which to drive?  I received two ‘Mark’ Sunbeam Alpine pics this year and couldn’t resist using them both.  Hillman featured on last year’s cover, so this year was going to be either Sunbeam or Humber.  The small number of suitable Humber pics I received made the choice obvious, and Bob’s pic was in a wide format that made it especially suitable for the cover.  Bob is a long time Sunbeam owner, you can find out more at his website:  Photo courtesy of Bob Hamilton.

January:  This 1913 Hillman Roadster is believed to be the oldest Hillman in Australia.  Owners Peter and Pauline Ford live in Tasmania, but regularly take the car to events on the mainland.  On this occasion it is at the Rootes Enthusiasts Display Day in Adelaide in March 2007.  Photo courtesy of Peter and Margaret Tavener.

February:  “Royal Memories.”  David Colton’s 1949 Humber Cabriolet is one of the cars used on the 1954 Royal Tour of Australia by the (then) newly crowned Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.  David tells me that two MkII Cabriolets were used in that tour – a friend of his has acquired the remains of the other and is having it professionally restored, using David’s car to copy from.  At one stage it seemed like I would have no Humber pics this year, but when they eventually arrived they were worth waiting for!  Photo courtesy of David Colton.

March: “Run like the wind.”  Pam Bartlett-Clark’s lovely Sunbeam Harrington LeMans is pictured on the road somewhere between Adelaide and Melbourne.  I don’t know much about art but to me the composition of this shot and particularly the use of colour is exceptional.   Photo courtesy of Mal Clark.

April: “Time tour.”  Lynn Faulkner’s 1935 Hillman Aero Minx.  This photo was provided by Dee Zimmerman, organiser of the US Hillman Centenary event “Hillmans on Holiday”, held at Rootstown, Ohio in August 2007.  I deliberately limited the amount of ‘cropping’ so that the old time garage could be included.  The whole scene reminded me of going for a spin in a convertible in days gone by.  Dee was unlucky to not have her Husky “Cordelia” featured this year but watch out for her next year!

May:  I’m not sure who owns this Humber Sceptre Mk 1.  The photo was kindly provided by Matt Lambert of the Rootes Group Car Club of Victoria ( It was taken at the 2007 Bay-to-Birdwood Classic in Adelaide, Australia.  The Bay-to-Birdwood is one of the great classic car events of today, check out

June:  “Alpine Summer.”  Owner Kevin McDiairmid provided the photo and suggested the title as well.  When Kevin sent me this, the photo picked itself for automatic inclusion.  Like the Aero Minx pic in April, the car is not the sole subject and again I cropped the original very little because it’s just such a nice scene.

July:  “Hillmans Old and New.”  The Hillman Hunter of Tamara and Fraser Ludlow is flanked by ‘Arthur’ the 1937 Minx Magnificent belonging to Peter & Margaret Tavener, and a 1966 Hillman Gazelle belonging to Robert and Natalie Tavener.  ‘Arthur’ is unrestored and is in remarkable condition for a 70 year old car, you can read more about it at  The Hillman Gazelle is a model produced only in Australia, and could best be thought of as a Singer Gazelle VI with a Sunbeam Rapier V alloy head engine.  Thanks to the efforts of Peter Tavener and the Hillman Car Club of South Australia, Hillmans were a featured marque in the 2007 Bay-to-Birdwood rally. Photo courtesy of Peter and Margaret Tavener.

August: “Rods Red Rocket.”  Rod Graydon of Queensland runs this Holbay-engined Sunbeam Rapier Fastback in classic races, in this case at ‘Speed on Tweed’ at the Gold Coast.  Rod has a couple of fastbacks (he seems to think that’s my fault) and also several Hillman Hunters.  The photo was provided by ‘Leaded’ magazine, an Australian publication:

September:  A 1967 Humber Imperial owned by Mark Barrows, an American in England.  Mark assures me that the building is a Church (even though it does look like a town hall) at Stewartby, Bedfordshire UK.  Stewartby is a model village, originally built for the workers in of The London Brick Company.

October:  “In the long run” or “Evie, The Duck and Greenbottle.”  Between them these 3 cars covered over 3200 km travelling to and from Canberra for a weekend Hillman Centenary run organised by the Hillman Owners Club of Australia (NSW).  Bill’s cars both made the 1500 km return trip from Melbourne – later in the year he took the 1939 DHC to Adelaide and back for the Bay to Birdwood, another trip of over 1600 km.  This photo was taken by yours truly, during the barbecue we enjoyed at Telopea Park.

November: “Special K.”  This ‘K’ type Sunbeam was photographed at “Terribly British Day” in Canberra 2006.  I don’t know much about it except that it is beautifully presented.

December:  “Misty.”  Last year I couldn’t find an Imp picture – this year I had a number to choose from.  This one was selected because it’s such striking pic.  In one of life’s coincidences, it lives fairly close to me but I had never even heard about it until I happened to ask the owner a question about a car he had advertised on Ebay.