Rootes Group Cars

a place for Sunbeam, Hillman, Humber, Singer, and Talbot performance enthusiasts

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gary martin

(6 posts)

01/08/2022 01:04AM

Main British Car:

nice humber v8 story,
Posted by: yargnitram
Date: January 13, 2022 04:54AM

What if a V8 Humber Sceptre would have been put on the market: a V8 Venezia?

This is what Bob Walton, former Rootes Group engineer remembers:

Great to know there are some Rootes Group fans out there. I did my training with Rootes in Coventry and have great memories until I finally had enough of the English climate and secured a position with Holden (GM) in Australia in 1968. By that time Rootes was on the rocks along with most of the other British motor manufacturers. I am familiar with the Humber Sceptre V8 prototype, it was a fanciful idea at the time to secure a piece of the sports sedan market dominated by Jaguar with their MkII range but with Rootes on it's knees and Chrysler having an influence on future products the Sceptre V8 was destined to the scrap pile. In fact I approached Peter Wilson, the boss, if I could buy it and the answer was that he was on top of the list if it was permitted to be sold. Although a number of prototypes in various guises were sold to employees, the Sceptre V8 was to be scrapped, I can clearly recall the car being stripped of all its interior and mechanical parts and the body being taken to the factory scrap area and 2 tinsmiths with oxy/acetylene cutting it into several pieces. I am unashamed to say a tear or two was shed by me. It was a great Q car, I did many many miles in the car both at MIRA (proving ground) and on public roads, the best fun was on the M1 motorway between Birmingham and London (no speed limits at the time) and most car manufacturers found it to be very convenient for high speed testing!! The Jaguar MkII 3.8 with overdrive trans and chrome wire wheels was the 'King of the Road' in the sixties in Britain and occupied the outside lane (fast lane) on the M1. The senior executives and sporting types and some crooks had little trouble sitting on 125mph all the way up and down the motorway, a flash of the headlights soon shifted the errant Morris Minor out of the way. Well, a Jag 3.8 driver looking in his rear view mirror and seeing what appeared to be a Hillman Super Minx approaching very quickly with its headlamps flashing saying "Move over baby I'm coming through": if only we had mobile phone camera's in those days to see those driver's facial expressions as you gave a courteous wave as you cruised past. Fabulous times. I am testing my memory on fine detail of the car, it was LHD, metallic mid blue in colour, auto trans, Salisbury LSD, may have had discs F&R (a la Tiger Mk2) and a very large transmission tunnel, the bulkhead had received substantial modification to accept its new Yankee motive power,the car was driven on trade plates as most prototypes were.

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