The official opening of the permanent home of the Rootes Archive at Apollo Office Park, Wroxton, Banbury, Oxon., U.K.
A short introduction –
I first became aware of the Rootes Archive Trust some years ago when I came upon various articles referring to it while doing internet research on other automotive topics.
But its importance and scale really became apparent to me when I was asked to make a presentation, on behalf of the Warwick Healey Archive, to the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) AGM at the British Car Museum, Gaydon, in October 2017. I discovered that my fellow presenters were members of the Rootes Archive Trust. Lo and behold one of their presenters and a trustee, was an ex colleague of mine, from Peugeot (U.K.), Andy Bye. We were delighted to meet each other again, particularly in those circumstances. it was amazing to learn that we were both involved in preserving the records of great British motor cars.
Andy and I have kept in touch since. Earlier this year I was able to arrange for him to have a tour of the Warwickshire County Record Office, owner, since 2016, of the Warwick Healey Motor Company archive. It gave him some ideas as to how the future of the Rootes Archive could develop, despite the fact that the WRO is probably twenty to thirty times larger than the RAT premises at Wroxton. After all, the WRO holds documents going back to the 11th century and has to accommodate historic records for the whole of Warwickshire. The Healey Motor Company archive represents a small fraction of the whole.
So it was that Andy invited my wife and I to the Grand Opening of the Rootes Archive at Wroxton on Sunday 22nd April. I am not being nice for the sake of it, or do I seek to curry favour, I don’t have to, but I would like to say that the event was brilliantly organised. All the trustees and supporters must have been told to get on their ‘prayer mats’ to pray for good weather; they were well rewarded. They just could not have hoped for better, particularly in April in England! It was a delight for me personally to see a selection of Rootes cars on display. I made good use of my camera as you can see below.
I have deliberately not gone into the fascinating history of the Trust here because it is told in full on their website. There is a link to the website at the end of this post. However, I will say this – The origins of the Rootes Archive goes back to 2003 when the ARCC (Association of Rootes Car Clubs) was alerted to the fact that a store room in the old factory in Humber Road, Coventry, was about to be refurbished and the contents ‘trashed’. Those contents comprised thousands of engineering drawings and documents pertaining to Rootes Group cars. A rescue party was soon formed and with much good will on the behalf of Peugeot management, the documents were saved for posterity. But what to do with them? Visit the Rootes Archive Trust website to read the story…….
To anyone reading this post who is not familiar with the car brands owned by the Rootes Group at the height of its power, I will list them as follows –
Hillman, Humber, Singer, Sunbeam and Talbot. Each one of these marques had an illustrious heritage before being brought into the Rootes Group at various stages.
Singer, Sunbeam and Talbot had been particularly successful in their various categories of motor sport.
The Group also owned a Commercial Vehicle division located in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England. The principle brands were Commer, Dodge and Karrier. It was great to see examples of those vehicles present on Sunday.
Here is the day in photos –
Cars on display
Older cars –
Sunbeam Alpines and Tigers
Sunbeam Rapier and Singer Gazelle – badge engineering at its best!
Hillman Imp and variants
Other cars seen on the day –
What eclectic collection of mainly British cars. I hope that you have enjoyed reading about the opening of the Rootes Archive and looking at the cars that were gathered for the event, as much as I enjoyed being there.
Association of Rootes Car Clubs- http://www.thearcc.co.uk/
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