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Sunbeam, the only British manufacturer committed to international racing emerged from the Great War well poised to amalgamate with two other firms of notable racing pedigree. Together with Talbot and Darracq they formed the STD Combine. STD was to become a dominant player in Land Speed Records, Grand Prix and Voiturette racing both in Britain and abroad.STD race cars using identical chassis and engines were to be designated variously as Sunbeam, Talbot or Talbot Darracq in response to the different events or countries they took part in. The highly evolved Experimental Departments in Wolverhampton and Suresnes cooperated on the meticulous development and construction of these fine wholly hand-crafted machines. These zero tolerance racing cars were milled, as it were, from solid billet. Racing program was extensive, tailor made alternative lightweight bodies, specific axle ratios and engines to suit each event were formed.

The driving force behind the STD and its racing program was the charismatic and ingenious Breton Louis Coatalen. Designer, engineer and racer Coatalen was inspired by the belief that ‘Racing improves the breed’.

Whilst catapulting the STD to the highest echelons of the sport with numerous successes still legendry today, the costly racing policy may have ultimately led to the demise of the once mighty group. Its subsequent merger with the Rootes Brothers was less than glorious. Conversely it may be that the Combine’s loss of direction and withdrawal from racing in the late Vintage period was the real source of their demise.Coatalen famously held that ounces off the engine translate to pounds off the car; this simple design principal together with fastidious balancing, cooling and lubrication produced truly elegant engines. Coatalen’s chassis behavior is near magical and this together with sophisticated technical support and the greatest racing talents had led the company to a golden age of racing successes, the likes of which were not to be seen in Britain for many decades. 

During its pre 1930s heyday STD was consistently and fully committed to international racing at the highest level and was synonymous with British Racing.