By Rod Ward
When the Rootes brothers bought the remains of the collapsed Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq (STD) combine in 1935, the gem among the purchases was Talbot and its gifted designer Georges Roesch. In this book we look at the stories of these three car makers before they combined. Darracq originated in France, though for much of its life the company was owned in Britain. Its profits enabled it to combine with Clement-Talbot and Sunbeam to form STD after the Great War. No benefit was gained from economies of scale or sharing of assets, however, and the edifice crumbled in the 1930s, leading to the Rootes takeover. Rootes proceeded to cash in on the prestigious Talbot name, with new designs incorporating Hillman and Humber components to keep costs down. Confusion with the French Talbot company led to the resurrection of the Sunbeam name in the new Sunbeam-Talbot marque. Popular postwar cars included 90s, Alpines, Rapiers and Tigers, until the struggling Rootes empire was taken over by Chrysler and the Sunbeam brand disappeared. Chrysler sold their loss-making European division to Peugeot for $1, and Peugeot re-branded the cars as Talbots again, before they also abandoned the operation.