Author: Richard Landgworth, ISBN: 9780953072163, 175 pages, Published in 1982 - MERCIAN Authorised Reprint
Enthusiasm knows no bounds for the sporting cars from the now-forgotten Rootes Group. Even their marque name, Sunbeam, is often deleted so that each enthusiast can pander to his particular love, be it the Tiger, the Alpine or even the Rapier. Between these hard covers Richard Langworth succeeds in telling an analytical yet cohesive tale of how all three cars are essentially one. Like a Biblical rendition, one begat another.
Langworth plunges in postwar with the Loewy-designed Sunbeam-Talbots; thosestriking-looking but somewhat sedate saloons and cabriolets, numbered 80 and 90. They begat the 2.3 litre Alpine with the louvres in the bonnet and the garlands on the Monte and Alpine rallies. Their very success made the new Rapier much more sporting than a badge engineered Hillman Minx should have been. The later 'finned' Rapier a became the sporting saloon to beat on race and rally track. The Rapier begat the Alpine, that neat two-seater, more handsome than the MGA or TR3. The Alpine begat the Tiger, the sad and glorious enigma. The Rootes Group then went missing under the Chrysler banner and nothing was ever the same.
Also discussed are the Humbers which wallowed their bulk through numerous competitions, often with remarkable success and the beginning of the Imp story, as it quickly pushed the Rootes Group under. Unquestionably a tribute to a fascinating story TIGER, ALPINE, RAPIER fills in the gaps, expands much of the development story available elsewhere, adds specification data previously undocumented and throws in a wealth of anecdotes from those who took part. Essential reading, original illustration.
The front cover illustration is typical of the Rootes Group's promotional design work of the period. The speeding Alpine comes from the cover of the Series IV Accessories brochure — an under bonnet lamp was listed at a guinea.