Royal Rootes on display

Archie Marshall with his 1936 Humber Imperial. Picture: Jon Hewson   d441574
Archie Marshall with his 1936 Humber Imperial. Picture: Jon Hewson d441574

The call has been made to all car clubs and private owners of Rootes Group cars for an inaugural exhibition.

This will also be the first time the WA public will have the chance to view so many Rootes Group cars in one place and have the opportunity to talk to their owners.

Darryl Ferguson, one of the organisers for the event hopes to display about 40 vehicles.

�We expect to have all makes represented on the day, with ages ranging from 1936 to 1966,� he said.

Cars expected to be showcased from the Rootes Marque are the Humber, Hillman, Singer, Sunbeam and the Commer.

These cars will come from all around the state, with most from metropolitan areas and some travelling up from Busselton and Albany.

The star of the show will be the famous 1936 Humber Imperial.

It was originally built as an eight-cylinder Sunbeam for King Edward VIII before his abdication.

The car was then returned to the factory where it was significantly altered and sold as a Humber Imperial, sporting a new six-cylinder engine and altered grille and body.

Believed to be the only one in the world, this famous Humber now belongs to Archie Marshall.

Mr Marshall said the car immigrated to Guildford with Eric Pybus-Patterson, who used to run a car hire service for wealthy clients in Chelsea.

After his death, the car passed through three more owners before Mr Marshall bought it in 1998 in a dilapidated condition.

Without knowing anything about the history of the car, Mr Marshall bought it for $20,000.

�My wife was most upset and said I could have bought a nice Toyota Campervan,� he said.

The restoration process has taken 17 years, with work still to be done.

�Since 1998, I have spent most of my time and my money sourcing parts, making others and doing research on the car, which I knew deep-down was something special,� he said.

Rootes Group started in 1919 with a small cycle shop in Kent, after becoming more successful they opened a factory in Melbourne after the Second World War.

The company is remembered for cars such as the Hillman Wizard, Hillman Minx, Humber Snipe and Sunbeam Talbot.

Due to workers strikes in the 60s, Rootes Group continued to have financial problems well into the 70s, eventually being sold to Peugeot for $1.00 US.

Free to the public, the exhibition will be held at Whiteman Park on October 11, from 10am to 3pm.

Expressions of interest from Rootes Group car owners are welcomed. Contact 0478 603 424 or email