Category Archives: Rootes Review

Rootes Reviews: Now Available Online

Here are searchable copies (as individual files) of the first issues of Rootes Review —
all gussied up with Optical Character Recognition so you can search for specific terms.

The project  has been completed and all of the issues are now available in the members area.

That means all the news and  tech tips ever published are now available!

Better join up now if you’re not a member!

Vol 1 No 0 July 1976
Vol 1 No 1 Oct 1976
Vol 1 No 2 Dec 1976
Vol 2 No 1 Feb 1976
Vol 2 No 2 Apr 1976

Thanks to Jennifer Arters who’s stepped up to this monumental task.

New Electronic Rootes Review

By Jim Morrison
Membership Chairman

Tigers East/Alpines East is now offering an Internet based distribution of our monthly newsletter, The Rootes Review. We are calling it the Electronic Rootes Review. If you sign up for this method, you will receive an email every month with a link to your copy of the month’s Rootes Review. It will be an Adobe PDF file that looks the same as the mailed hardcopy version but we plan to have color pictures as a regular feature of the Electronic Rootes Review. You can print it or read it online. The yearly Membership Roster will continue to be sent to you as a printed booklet.

Membership dues will be lower for those choosing the Electronic Rootes Review:

Current RatesMailed Rootes Review Electronic Rootes Review
U.S.A. International (U.S.A. and International)
One Year $33 $36 $29
Two Years $60 $66 $52

Current members signing up for the Electronic Rootes Review who have 6 – 10 months left on their membership, will get a one month extension, 7 – 15 months left will get a two month extension and 16 – 24 months left will get a three month extension in recognition of the lower dues.

If you do not sign up for the Electronic Rootes Review, you will continue to receive the Rootes Review via U.S. mail.

If you are interested in learning more, send an email to We will set you up with a sample Electronic Rootes Review for you to see if you want to sign up and answer any questions that you may have.

Chili Madness: A Passionate Cookbook

From Rootes Review
Vol. 6, #2, March 1981

If you’ve wondered what he’s been designing lately, this recipe was found in a cookbook,
Chili Madness: A Passionate Cookbook

by Jane Butel

Carroll Shelby’s Chili

1/2 pound suet or 1/2 cup cooking oil
1 pound beef round, coarse chili grind
1 pound beef chuck, coarse chili grind
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 12-ounce can beer
1/4 cup ground hot red Chile
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1-1/4 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
Scant 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
3/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Melt suet or heat oil in a heavy 3-quart (or larger) pot over medium-high heat. Remove the unrendered suet and add the meat to the pot. Break up any lumps with a fork and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is evenly browned.

Add the tomato sauce, beer, ground Chile, garlic, onion, oregano, paprika, 1 teaspoon of the cumin and the salt. Stir to blend. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding the cayenne pepper. Simmer, uncovered, 1 hour longer.

Stir in the cheese and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the cumin. Simmer 1/2 hour longer, stirring often to keep the cheese from burning.

Serves four.


From Rootes Review
Vol. 5, #4, April 1980

by Alan Richard Simon

It started as a bad day… the guy rewelding the traction bars on my 1965 Tiger torched the carpet under the passenger’s seat and had the nerve to bill me $17.00 an hour – he paid for the damage, but that’s another story. That evening, I went to Scott Woerth’s to trade some parts for a “center-float” Holley set-up. The swap went well; we road tested my Tiger, Scott’s Honda Prelude and an old Hi-Pro-289 Mustang. I had called my wife and told her I was on the move (wasn’t I considerate), when Scott asked me if I wanted to see his latest projects. I left about half an hour later.

As I reached Route 283 to Harrisburg, I decided to: a) see how fast the Tiger would go, b) test the “center floats” and, c) try to make up the time I lost in Scott’s garage. With the top down to air out the burn smell (in spite of the evening chill), Fuzz Buster II on and CB full blast I attempted the Lancaster-Harrisburg land speed record. It was about midnight and there was little traffic as I hit 132 mph at over 4,000 rpm. I decided not to push it further due to an approximate 5,500 rpm redline and possible tach error. (My speedometer was tested later and it is a little slow at high speeds). In my high beams I saw a State Police car… I slowed …saw the Smokey exit the expressway …and floored it figuring they weren’t after me.

After about 15 minutes, I slowed down from my 110-120 mph average speed to a sedate 80 mph (my Tiger’s fiberglass fan flattens at speed and the engine overheats) when I saw a flashing red light in my rear view mirror about a mile away.

I pulled over figuring it was an ambulance (silly me). The cops wrote me up at 82 mph and told me they had been following (sic: trying to catch) me for almost 15 minutes. (Thanks good buddy for the CB help). The cops said if I hadn’t stopped they couldn’t have caught me. (The current state police cars only go 105 mph) and since they were not in hot pursuit, they wouldn’t have radioed ahead. Boy did I feel dumb. The cop had a Porsche and I challenged him to the next autocross for a driving lesson. And now the guts of the story–how I beat the ticket.

Fighting a speeding ticket is a professional blood sport – at stake is money, points and insurance rates. First I tried the fix – no luck. I had a friend, who had a friend, who used to know the JP – but they had a fight. Next I tried the cops -another friend had a relative who was a state police sergeant at the appropriate barracks, again no luck; tickets over 70 mph go to a special committee and the sergeant couldn’t pull it. After as many extensions from pleading as possible (the cops said they would file additional charges, i.e., driving faster then headlights, reckless driving, etc., if I fought the ticket) I pled not guilty and asked for a speedy trial because I thought the JP liked me after I told him of the cops intimidation attempts. The JP scheduled my trial 30 days later.

For my first defense though, I went to the highway department and checked the official maps to find out if the ticket had the wrong township (I was stopped 1/8 mile from the township line – and if you hold the map upside down you are in the wrong township which equals the wrong JP which equals no ticket – it didn’t work. Next I measured the distance from all of the exits on the expressway to the place I was stopped under the theory that for any known distance, if the cops said when they started to follow me and factored with the time they stopped me as per the ticket, you can determine the speed; (any error would produce outrageous speeds which are impossible and it was unlikely the cops would guess right) – the JP wasn’t impressed. Undaunted, I asked the cop to determine the length of several strings with cute little knots on the ends (the theory for this game is an error of six inches over a ten foot length is an error of several hundred yards when multiplied by a following distance of almost a mile); the JP said the cop didn’t have to play. At this point, I didn’t even introduce the Scientific American article about visual acuity and the difficulty of depth perception of the color red at night at high speed. My last hope was the “10 day rule” which required a trial in 10 days of pleading if done in person and there is no valid scheduling conflicts; the JP didn’t care. The cop said he wouldn’t have arrested me if I wasn’t guilty. I lost.

I appealed and told a friend at the DA’s office about the gross miscarriage of justice. The JP’s disregard for the “10 day rule” was unforgivable and after an “intense” investigation, the Assistant DA directed the JP to drop the charges and return my money (over $90.00). The JP refused. I had to formally appear before a real judge and my innocence was proclaimed in the local newspaper under the heading…”CITY MAN IS SENTENCED IN GAS STATION ROBBERY SHOOTING”.
Editor’s Note: Although Alan Simon is a Harrisburg attorney who reputably never lost a speeding case, all information contained in this article is intended for entertainment only and not as legal advice.

The story of Dr. John Bruney’s Lemans

From Rootes Review: Vol. 9, #10, 1984

Dr. John Bruney purchased his azure blue Harrington LeMans from a Columbus, OH, sportscar dealer on August 21, 1964. He traded a blue ’63 TR4 (22,000 miles young) for the attractive, blue on blue Sunbeam which had clocked 200 miles as a dealer demonstrator. The car was original–never raced, wrecked or altered after construction-and featured LeMans emblems on engine & steering wheel, plaques on glove box & tunnel, “H” mark on block (from factory), oil cooler, 3rd & 4th overdrive, metal extractor plates on extractor vents, and the LeMans script on the body.

This LeMans has led a “pampered” life: Dr. Bruney enjoys driving his car to shows and events; however, he places a 100-150 mile limit–exceptions are made, of course, such as the 1982 Pennsylvania BASH/FixIn. One outing that stands out in his “scrap book” was in 1964 when Dr. Bruney treated his mother (also a car buff and then in her sixties) to a sportscar race in Lexington, OH. Several notables attending–aside from the Harrington LeMans–were Steve McQueen, Paul Whiteman (the orchestra leader), and Tom McCahill (car editor, Mechanix Illustrated). The Harrington attracted many fans, crowding around and asking numerous questions. The highlight of the day was a compliment passed by Paul Whiteman (during a brief, traffic snarl conversation), “That is a nice looking Harrington!” After that comment from Tom McCahill’s passenger, who was a well-known car collector/fancier, Dr. Bruney began to realize his Harrington LeMans was a rare as well as unusual car. He then started his search for literature and written information on the car.

Dr. Bruney states, “It is interesting to note: I read later that many dealers could not get cars (LeMans) even though they had the advertising materials. This dealer had the car but very little advertising material; hence, I really did not know what a rare car I had purchased.” To highlight other experiences–not including envious stares and double takes by Porsche, Model A and various other drivers–Dr. Bruney has had other motorists follow him to get a closer look and collected the following: 17 dash plaques, 2 first place trophies, 3 second place trophies, 1 show trophy, 7 show prizes plus Ohio Morgan Owners Club Favorite Car Award and Third Peoples’ Choice at the 1983 Big British Car Club Show in Columbus.

In 1976 the car was taken down to bare metal, and repainted with primer, sealer, and three coats of original Harrington azure blue lacquer (ordered from Harrington, Ltd., England–the last of that lacquer). It was rustproofed before and after painting to ensure longevity. Note: Gas filler door was not painted to show the exact match to original color and texture. In twenty years of ownership the only additions have been new fuel pump, water pump, dual mufflers, and replacement Michelin X tires in lieu of the white wall Dunlop Road Speeds. The engine compartment, overall exterior and interior are all original thanks to plenty of TLC. This car is complete, one owner with only 35,385 actual miles on the odometer.

Now let’s cover some characteristics of this Harrington LeMans (remember, each car is unique although the “family resemblance” is there):
Overheating is a concern to many Sunbeam owners. Dr. Bruney reports that in a 1982 antique car parade the “tough little engine” stayed right at 180º on a beautiful 80º day. Many of the Mustangs, MG’s and Model A’s “steamed over” during that parade.

The car is, comfortable-on long or short trips. It has a ”solid” feel and corners nicely with some body lean but not really noticeable inside. The car does not float or bottom out on RR crossings or road dips. Steering is precise with good feel and control. The shifter has a short throw and the racing clutch must be fully depressed to shift (which can prove tiresome in stop and go traffic), brakes with servo assist give smooth/straight stops with minimum pedal pressure (and are hard to “fade”), and the engine is peppy having good acceleration past 3000 rpm–it is also quiet at higher speeds when overdrive is engaged.

As for the interior, the front seats offer good support & stability and are comfortable.
There is plenty of head room because of the high roof line and leg room is good when seats are adjusted. The rear seats are, good for children, however, there’s no leg room for adults if the front seats are back. Ventilation and heating are good. Luggage capacity is excellent for a sportscar; rear seat may be folded to haul a Christmas tree! With seats up, folding chairs, flight bags and even card tables are no problem.
The longest trip for the LeMans was to the Pennsylvania BASH in 1982–about 900 miles round trip. The gas gauge went crazy shortly after leaving, so Dr. & Mrs. Bruney would “top off” every 100 miles. In the mountains it took 6 gallons and 4 gallons on ,level terrain; all that at an average 70 mph. The gauge was fixed at Tiger Tom’s–that’s what a BASH/FixIn is about! -The oil pressure was 50 for the whole trip.

Dr. Bruney can only find two faults (more like irritating eccentricities):

  • Gasoline splashes back out fill if pumped in too fast and smudges the body finish.
  • No synchro-mesh on first gear down shift into first on steep hill or stop/go traffic is a difficulty.

All in all, Dr. & Mrs. John Bruney wouldn’t trade their Harrington LeMans for the world. Dr. Bruney fondly states: “The LeMans is comfortable, fun and a real performer. The virtues of the car far outweigh the two irritating faults …. On the trip to Harrisburg for the BASH in 1982, I gained great respect for the beautiful little thoroughbred!”

Winter Tiger

From Rootes Review: Vol. 3, #7, December 1978

Those of us who live in the northern areas of the country, where it snows near the end/beginning of the year, are often the recipients of an assortment of sneers, chides and various other unfriendly aspersions, cast by those who reside in warmer climates. The southern latitudes permit the driving of “prides-and-joys” twelve months a year, and I, for one, am sick and tired of hearing about it! I have had my Tiger for the last eight years and I drive it–all year round, New England winters not withstanding. In fact, the winter driving season provides me with some of the most enjoyable driving experiences of all.

You cannot seriously drive your car in the ice and snow without a few precautions. Once they are made, however, you will have no trouble picturing yourself powering through a four-wheel drift, tail out and white rooster-tail of snow and slush following you as the white landscape flies past in a cotton blurr.

Probably the first thing that you will want to do is to replace your regular tires with snow tires on all four corners. Snows on the front aid in steering and stopping–two things that will come in handy as soon as you begin to raise your speed above what is commonly considered “prudent” or “acceptable”. I have found that running tires one or two sizes smaller on the rear will accomplish two things. First, they will change the gearing to give slightly quicker acceleration (at the expense of top speed–which, in six inches of snow, is not a primary consideration, anyway!). Secondly, they allow the use of chains for heavy snow and icy conditions. If you are running offset wheels and don’t have huge flairs, there is often some impromptu body work when the chains first make contact with the fender lips, so the smaller diameter tires are a definite plus.

Being a purist, I have always preferred to drive sans top. After all, the Tiger WAS designed as a roadster! I do strongly suggest that you use a tonneau cover that snaps along the windshield if you are not carrying a passenger. Thay way, when you make a hard left turn and hang the rear end out, the snow and slush thrown up by the right front wheel will not fill the cockpit.

Being that the Tiger is a fairly light car, I have also adapted a system of ballast which aids in handling. By removing the bumpers and bolting a piece of 4-inch square steel bar stock (approximately four feet long) to each end, the extra weight (in the neighborhood of 2$0 pounds each) at the extreme ends of the car acts to keep the shock absorbers from rebounding while also bringing more sprung weight to bear on the tires. The effect also lowers the center of gravity, which helps in the handling department.

Finally, the type of clothing that you choose can increase or decrease your level of enjoyment. I suggest a warm, down-filled parka with a hood. Rubber boots tend to slip off of the foot pedals and sneakers permit your feet to get cold quickly, so a leather shoe is a happy medium. Stay away from goggles (they fog up quickly), mittens (difficult to get a good firm grip on the steering wheel or gearshift lever) and long scarves (no matter how sporty they look, there is always the danger of catching the end of your left rear knockoff; now, there’s a frightening experience!).

And that’s all there is to it. Now, get out there and DRIVE ‘EM! And don’t be afraid of a little snow.

(Editor’s note: the preceeding article came to us from Rick Kopec of Shelby American. He claims to have some photos that were too out of focus to reproduce and informs us that there is a Benjamin Dover in New England. Beyond that–well, you’re on your own on this one.

World’s Fastest Sunbeam Wannabie

From Rootes Review: Vol. 5, #4, April 1980

The president of Tigers/Alpines East has requested that the club Reps send an article to the Rootes Review, detailing what is going on in our region. For the interest of our members. I would like to introduce Lawrence E. Mayfield of Madison Alabama who is building the world’s fastest Sunbeam. Unfortunately he is moving out of the Deep South, so I asked him to tell his story, while he is still in our region.

Ed Esslinger

World’s Fastest Sunbeam Wannabie

by Lawrence E. Mayfield

(Click on the images if you’d like to see a larger view.)

Hi! My name is Lawrence E. Mayfield, AKA, Larry, Mayfield, Dr. Mayfield plus a few I’d rather not print! I have been asked by Ed to put together a short blurb about my current project: my World’s Fastest Sunbeam Wannabie.

Oh, man, how did I come to this? Well, the list was chatting about Sunbeam and the World’s Unlimited Land Speed Records and how a Sunbeam (oh, what a Sunbeam! 44000 cc displacement, chain drive and wire wheels!) held the record at 203.792 mph in 1927. This really captured my attention and I decided that it was time that another Sunbeam bettered that mark. I looked at my Tiger, which I have owned since early 1967 (second owner) and decided that I could not convert it to a purpose built race car. Not at the price of Tigers today! Nor, I determined could I destroy a reasonably rebuildable Alpine. So I searched for quite some time and once had an S4 Automatic in my sights when it was stolen, but that’s another story…

I finally located a rust bucket parts car and it was  nearby. It was a real rust bucket, literally and I fell for it immediately. I was certain that no one would accuse me of destroying an Alpine instead of restoring it (I was wrong!). I obtained the rule books for SCTA-BNI (the Salt Flats guys) and NHRA, because by now I had decided that the car would also be drag raced occasionally.

Glumly, I found out that in order to be campaigned in NHRA it would have to have it’s wheelbase stretched to the minimum of 90 inches or use it’s original motor. Dumb rule but it’s their game. I spent the better part of a year designing and measuring and designing and measuring…I sent the frame and roll cage specifications to a frame builder and they bent the frame tubes and welded them together using their jig fixtures. They bent the cage tubes and then sent the whole mess to me. My design includes a race strut front end, a 4-link rear suspension, Ford 9 inch differential, really, big axles, and four wheel disk brakes. I use a Flaming River rack and pinion for steering. During the design phase, I had developed a series of analyses (remember I am a retired aerospace engineer weenie) that told me what my horsepower needs would be at speeds exceeding the old record. About this time an article in Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords caught my eye – a junk yard twin turboed Mustang which runs pretty well.

I was captivated. Here was the means to get the needed horsepower with some reliability. The engine is based on a DSS 306 short block which has half inch head studs to really clamp the heads down. Main bearing stud girdle and windage tray. Aluminum heads will be used, maybe Edlebrock or TFS. Electronic fuel injection is used with a home made twin throttle body upper manifold. Twin turbos are used. You all know how small the LBCs are under the hood, well even with all the cutting I did I could only get a small Sirocco radiator in place. But I use an electric water pump and a 10 gallon water tank. I had hoped to run the car this year but this does not look possible. I still have a fire suppression system to obtain and install, a parachute, fuel pump, filter and plumbing (tank is in front of the radiator), and water plumbing. Instrumentation panel has been made and wired, computer harness is in hand. Initial startup and running will be accomplished using the stock computer but the race computer will be a Superbrain with laptop for data acquisition and control changes. Oh, the instrument panel has a 300 mph speedo with memory for instant gratification!

While I don’t update my web site very often, it does contain a lot of info about the race car. Check it here.

Feel free to log on and look around. Well, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to tell you a very little bit about the project and me, but I gotta run now…supper is calling!

Thanks for listening…

L.E. Mayfield
124 Maximillion Drive
Madison, Al. 35758-8171
ph: 1-256-837-1051

Racing Alpine Found!

Photos and article by Steve Silverstein
First published in Rootes Review, April 2006

Parked almost 36 years ago, This Alpine early Series II raced from 1963-1968, and appears to have been driven by J. Mone. I haven’t been able to find any additional records besides from a Vineland, NJ race. I suspect the car raced in New England as well on a regular basis. If you have any race records from Lime Rock, Bryar, or Vineland from 1963-1968 please let me know. Perhaps there are a few Sunbeams listed.

The wheels are a knock-off type. Just guessing, the car was originally raced with wire-wheels. The spokes were prone to breakage and once the SCCA allowed after-market wheels to be used in 1964 they were changed.

The car was found in western Mass. The sad part is I actually found the car 2-3 years ago. When I first talked to the owner I made an offer but, sadly, he passed away about a week later. Since I never heard back from him I assumed I had offended him. I wrote and called without any reply…. two years later and I happened to stop by his shop again and found out what happened.

What are Batans?

By Robert Jaarsma
First published in Rootes Review August 2005

B.A.T.A.N.S Robert Hamilton (rear) and TE/AE’s   Dave Reina in their Sunbeams (photo by R. Jaarasma)  Several members of TE/AE met with “B.A.T.A.N.S.”. It is a close knit group of dedicated British car owners- the British Automobile Touring Association of Nova Scotia (B.A.T.A.N.S., ). About 12 members were making a nine day run to southern New England.

TE/AE members Ted Brown and Steve Towle met them at the Owls Head Transportation Museum (Wings & Wheels Spectacular). Member David Reina drove to my house with his family in his red 1953 Sunbeam Talbot and I drove my Sunbeam Venezia. We met the group in Quechee, VT for dinner. The next day we toured with the group, visiting “Lyme Pond Restorations” in Barnard, VT. The owner, Steve Cota is restoring a rare Alpine Special (Talbot type). B.A.T.A.N.S. member Bob Hamilton drove his 1953 Sunbeam Talbot drophead coupe, bought in Montreal in 1962. Next was a spectacular private collection out in the woods, followed by a drive to the home of Michael Bonnadouchi, who has cow barns filled with British car parts for sale, particularly Triumph and Landrover. It was quite an experience to tour with this group!

B.A.T.A.N.S. Steve Cota leads the way in his 1971 Morris Minor Woody wagonA great three day British car event happens annually at Prince Edward Island.

The B.A.T.A.N.S. are planning to return in 2006 to the British Invasion in Stowe, VT.

For information about Sunbeam Talbots contact Robert (Bob) A.C.Hamilton. He owns Sunbeam Talbots – Alpines, Dropheads and Saloons, 1953-’54, with a website and forum at: