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Marston  Sunbeam  Club & Register

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CLUB CONTACTS


Membership Secretary:
Paul Hutton

e-mail: paulhutton@btinternet.com

website:
www.marston-sunbeam.org

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ABOUT THE CLUB

Yearly subscription in 2012-13 is £20 (£23 non-UK) plus an initial registration fee of £2 for new members. The subscription year runs from 1st July to 30th June.

Members receive a quarterly, full colour journal called 'BEAMING.

The club organises the annual Marston Sunbeam Rally in Wolverhampton in June / July for cycles and motorcycles.

Its members are also initiating regional events in the UK.

In partnership with the Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club, the MSC&R organises a weekend Testers' Run in August - a recreation of the factory testers' route from Wolverhampton into mid-Wales and back.

The 1995 Testers' Run was filmed and is available as a one hour DVD.

It also assists in the organisation of the annual Festival of Black Country Vehicles at the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley.

The Marston Wolverhampton Heritage Trust also runs its motorcycles regularly at the Black Country Living Museum. Contact the Museum for details.

It's worth joining the club if you are not already a member. Its objective is simply to keep fine old Sunbeams up and running.

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MARSTON SUNBEAM CLUB & REGISTER

The Marston Sunbeam Club & Register (abbreviated as the MSC&R) is the club for the owners of Sunbeam motorcycles made by John Marston Ltd of Wolverhampton ... and fine credentials it has too.

Just as Graham Walker in 1924 established the original Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club whilst employed by John Marston Ltd, the MSC&R too sprang from employees at Marstons. In its case, it was a group of enthusiasts employed by IMI Marston (for a short time in the 1980s, Marston Palmer) the successor to John Marston's original company. The company continues as HS Marston Aerospace Ltd.

The original Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club, shortly after its inception, went on to become an all-make club and now caters for all veteran and vintage machines. The MSC&R is the marque club exclusively for owners and enthusiasts of Marston-made Sunbeams.

BSA acquired the Sunbeam name after the Second World War and produced a very different motorcycle in the flat twin Sunbeam S7 and S8  models. These are catered for by the well-established Sunbeam Owners' Fellowship.

The MSC&R also welcomes owners of Sunbeam motorcycles and cycles made by Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) of London following its take-over of the Wolverhampton works in 1937. During AMC's brief period of ownership between 1937-40 a number of machines were assembled by AMC using Wolverhampton-made parts - notably the side-valve models. AMC also produced its own OHV Sunbeam designs in 1938-40 - known as the 'high cam' Sunbeams. These represent the end of the direct Marston lineage.

PHOTO - Awaiting the start of the Testers' Run from Marstons, August 2003

 

THE 'MARSTON SUNBEAM REGISTER' BECOMES THE 'CLUB & REGISTER'

The Marston Sunbeam Register started in 1982 as an informal club, supported by the Marston Palmer / IMI Marston factory and run by Marston employees. Its main aims were to compile a register of all surviving machines and bring owners together. Many of those involved had fathers, grand-fathers and close friends who had worked on motorcycle production at Marstons prior to the Second World War. The Marston company's support for the Register provided a clear link with its past and the time when it had produced Sunbeam cycles and motorcycles.

In July 2010 the Register expanded its role to become a traditional marque club with a formal constitution as a self-supporting entity. Again, its aim is to provide greater support for owners and riders of Marston Sunbeams. Its new name as the MSC&R reflects these changes whilst not losing sight of its origins.

MSC&R poster spreading the news about the expansion of the 'Register' to a more formal 'Club & Register' (provided by the MSC&R)

THE CLUB'S ACTIVITIES

The Register, with the support of the Marston Palmer /  IMI Marston company, initiated an annual Marston Sunbeam Rally in 1983 - in its early years held at Marston's social club. The annual rally continues as one of the main events in the club's calendar.

There is also a recreation of the route taken by the original Sunbeam factory testers into mid-Wales, initiated in 1993. The 'Testers' Run' is a two-day event held in August. The club also supports the 'Festival of Black Country Vehicles' - an annual event held at the Black Country Museum in Dudley.

The Register also did much more: It published an annual newsletter - now enhanced as a quarterly magazine called 'BEAMING; through the Register it established worldwide contacts to create a database of surviving Sunbeams; It gathered together a collection of machines, many restored by the Register's dedicated 'home team'. Much of this collection is now with the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley in the UK where they are regularly run around the museum site. The expertise gained in restoring and maintaining Sunbeams has been made available through a number of technical experts. In 2007 the Register celebrated its 25th anniversary - a silver jubilee.

The MSC&R is also relaxed about involvement with Marston's Wolverhampton-made rivals, notably AJS (1909-31) and the subsequent Stevens machines (1934-38). Most Register events seem happy to include these machines. It was always a very civilised rivalry with the 'opposition'.

 

MSC&R TECHNICAL ADVISERS & SPARES SCHEME

Members of the MSC&R have access to a panel of technical advisers, a number of whom provide e-mail contacts.

  • Malcolm Webster - e-mail: ani.mal61@btinternet.com
  • Peter Yates - e-mail: peter.yates53@blueyonder.co.uk
  • Brian Cowen - e-mail: chowcowen@aol.com

PHOTO - Brian Cowen, Charlie Dodson's 1930 Senior TT 'Beam and winding Welsh roads (from Lumic's DVD of the Testers' Run)

Brian Cowen, a third-generation Marston man known for giving Charlie Dodson's 1930 Senior TT machine a good outing on past Testers' Runs, provides technical advice for MSC&R members, along with Malcolm Webster, who commenced IMI Marston's restoration programme of Sunbeam motorcycles, and Peter Yates who is still with Marstons - now HS Marston.

If you have any technical queries about your 'Beam, drop Brian, Malcolm or Peter an e-mail. Be prepared for them asking if you are a club member!

PHOTO - Charlie Dodson with the 1930 Senior TT 'Beam (from Lumic's DVD of the Testers' Run)

The MSC&R has recently commenced a spares scheme for club members to help keep Sunbeams up-and-running. Full details are included on the club's website.

 

MARSTON SUNBEAM REGISTER ON FILM!

Want to know what the folk at the MSC&R get up to? An insight is provided by the one-hour film of the Registerís 1995 Testersí Run.

The run was filmed by Lumic of Kingswinford, UK and released as a video entitled, 'Classic British Motorbikes: AJS and Sunbeam - The Testers' Run'.

The film is 60 minutes long, as the cameras accompany the modern-day Ďtestersí on the route taken by their 1920s and '30s predecessors. Poignantly, many of the riders were IMI Marston employees at the time.

The motorcycles sound and look great. The dramatic appearance of the Sunbeams emerging from the famous Paul Street gate at Sunbeamland, Wolverhampton is to be savoured. The camera follows the riders through the picturesque Shropshire Marches and mid-Wales countryside, enjoying a rider's-eye view of the scenery - literally the view from the motorcycle saddle. You almost feel you are there with them soaking up the bumps on the trusty girder forks.

A good array of some 18 Sunbeam and AJS machines - both flat-tank and saddle-tank - are featured. Everything from the most sporting Model 90s to solid side-valves and combinations. The testers share their thoughts, as well as their enthusiasm for the bikes. They complete over a weekend what to the original testers was a 200-mile journey to be completed during a working day.

A DVD version is now available from Lumic or through this website. The cost is £9.00 plus £1.80 packaging and postage (UK). E-mail the web-site for details.

 

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PHOTO - Marstons and the Sunbeam, still names very much linked together

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Extracts from the Register Newsletters

The Marston Sunbeam Register produced an annual newsletter until 2009, prior to the introduction in March 2010 of the first issue of 'BEAMING.

The website is currently compiling a full archive of all 28 newsletters. If you have newsletters from the 1980s or early 1990s I would welcome the chance to arrange for a copy to be made for the archive.

Contact:mail@sunbeamsidevalve.com

 

Follow the links as entries are added

  1990 2000
  1991 2001
1982 1992 2002
1983 1993 2003
1984 1994 2004
1985 1995 2005

1986

1996 2006
1987 1997 2007
1988 1998 2008
1989 1999  2009

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