History of Individual cars

A single car, chassis and engine no. 1/4L/26, was completed in 1926 and christened ‘Ladybird’ and took the Land Speed Record. ‘Ladybird subsequently participates in Formule Libre and Speed events. In 1927 ‘Ladybird’ was joined by a second car and both entered in the July 1927 Montlhery Formule Libre event. From 1928 to 1930 ‘Ladybird and the 1927 car rechristened ‘Tiger’ and ‘Tigress’ respectively were raced by K Don for Sunbeam Works at Brooklands.

The chassis and engine numbers of Tigress is not recorded; however, the1927 car is identifiable by scuttle louvres (absent on ‘Ladybird’) and absence of perforations between the dumb-irons (present on ‘Ladybird’). ‘Ladybird also had large tapered louvres in the tail (not visible on the1927 car). These differences help identify ‘Tiger’ as ‘Ladybird’ and the 1927 car as ‘Tigress’.  During 1929 ‘Tiger’ gained scuttle louvres similar to ‘Tigress’ and the tail section was replaced with a new tail section with smaller louvres.

In 1932 Malcolm Campbell had the two engines from ‘Tiger’ and ‘Tigress’ put in new Thomson & Taylor designed chassis with new mechanical components and new bodies. It is not known which of the new chassis was fitted with the engine from Tiger and which was fitted with the engine from Tigress.

After the war both cars were owned by Sir Ralph Millias who used one as a donor to keep the other running. Crankcase and other engine parts from the donor car were used in the principal car after an engine blow up in 1957; the crankcase and other engine parts originally fitted in the principal car was in the 1970s fitted in the donor car. More recently both cars were fitted and are run with newly formed crankcases.

Since effectively, the only remains of the Sunbeam ‘Tiger’ and ‘Tigress’ after the 1932 Campbell rebuild were the V-12 Sunbeam engines, subsequent identity is contingent on the identification of the engines; however, parts of both engines were interchanged postwar. The LSR ‘Ladybird’ /’Tiger’ engine is 1/4L/26 and it should therefore be identifiable in the car today.

The histories of the two cars is outlined in three sections. The first section covers 1926 to 1930 Works activity for each of the cars separately. The second section covers 1932 to 1939 post-rebuild activity for both cars together as no information is available to separate the two. The third section covers postwar activity for each of the two Thomson and Taylor chassis separately.