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Who What Where When Why How  4.4. Special Guests

We have some Very Special Guests attending. Here's an intro to each of them.

Rosemary Smith

Rosemary is now living in Dublin having spent her car racing life in the United States, Britain and Europe. She has had her own television show on motoring. She is one of only five women in the world ever to have won an international motor race outright. She has participated in and won the following events:


Well known Irish and International Rally Driver, Rosemary Smith, pictured prior to this year's forthcoming Classic Marathon Rally which covers a grueling 4,500 kms from Paris to Marrakesh, and takes place from 26 September to 2 October. Rosemary Smith, who is supported by Castrol and Boots No 7 Cosmetics, will be partnered on this event by English co-driver Lis Jordan. Rosemary will be driving a 4.8 litre 1964 Sunbeam Tiger and has had recent successes in the Classic Tulip Rally, the New Zealand Celebration Rally and the Charrington RAC Rally.

(Rosemary and Liz finished in 10th position overall, and first in the Ladies and Class.)

David Duncanson

A resident of West Midland England, David is long-time editor of the Sunbeam Tiger Owner Club's outstanding quarterly newsletter (more like a magazine) "Cats Whiskers." David is the proud owner of AHP294B, a factory rally car which is currently campaigned by Rosemary Smith in European vintage rallies.

Laura Garrad


We all know who Laura is, but thought you would be interested in getting to know her just a little better. So, we asked her to write down some information about herself to include with your SUNI information packet.

I was born in Coventry, England many years ago. During the war we had to be evacuated. I met Ian at a local dance hall. He lived a few blocks from my house - very convenient. He was in the British Army at the time. When his father Norman, brother Lewis, and Ian were together the conversation was always about cars and what Rootes was doing. His mother said these men have oil in their veins.

Ian and I became engaged. Things were pretty dismal as England was recovering from the devastation of the war years. There was a position opening up in Toronto, Canada for a representative for Rootes Motors. We decided it would be a good opportunity for us to start a new life. Ian left England by air in September, 1951 to Toronto. At that time I had no idea of when I would see him again. In November, I had word that his job was working out great, with John Panks as the new boss. I made plans to leave by sea on the Empress of Canada to meet Ian. It was much cheaper than flying and we needed all the cash we could muster for starting out in a new country. It was quite an adventure crossing the Atlantic to Quebec, then along the St. Lawrence Seaway to Montreal where a train transferred me to Toronto and to Ian.

We were married in Toronto with John and Betty Panks in attendance. After a two day honeymoon in Niagara Falls we moved to Hamilton, Ontario, which was central to the numerous dealerships Ian had to visit in Ontario. I managed to get a job at Eaton's Department Store for a few months before our little daughter Susanne was born in May, 1954.

Ian received a promotion to Sales Manager for Rootes on the West Coast of Canada, so we moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. We were delighted to be on the West Coast. Another addition to the family, Stuart James, arrived September, 1955. Things were good! We even managed to buy our first home.

In New York things were not going so well for Rootes. John Panks, now the Director of Rootes USA, headquartered in NY, had suffered a heart attack.

Fortunately he recovered, but needed to slow down. He requested that Ian be his assistant. We then moved to New York. Quite a culture shock! However, we settled nicely and bought a house in the suburbs in 1959.

Ian's father, Norman, visited us with his competition drivers who were in the US for Watkins Glen. Another plus for Ian at that time - Elizabeth Taylor was filming the movie "Butterfield 8". He had to show her how to drive the Alpine - WOW. Unfortunately, I was visiting a sick friend in the hospital - :-( .

We were only in New York two years when Ian received an emergency call from Rootes, Los Angeles. The Manager there had disappeared with quite an amount of company funds. Ian was needed to reorganize things and keep the dealers happy. I was left to sell the house, which I thankfully did at a profit within three months. That was a hard three months on us all. Ian phoned from L.A. saying, "prepare to be pampered - L.A. is the place." Well, it certainly was different from New York. The weather was fantastic!! We found an attractive house in Cheviot Hills. It wouldn't be ready for occupancy for another three months, so we rented a house on the beach in Santa Monica - no complaints ! Once we settled in to our house, we frequently entertained Rootes dealers and their wives. I became active in PTA, Girl Scouts, Daughters of the British Empire (a charity for British residents retired), the Red Cross, as well as carpooling the children. Also at that time we had many overnight guests - a full and happy life with Rootes.

When the idea of the Tiger came on the scene, Ian was working very long h ours. We didn't see too much of him. I would always try and stay awake to hear the latest news - he was so ecstatic! When Ian first brought the Tiger home, roaring down the street, the children of the neighborhood rushed to the driveway to see the car. The most enthusiastic little boy was Howie Shoenfeld, a very special friend of our son, Stuart. Howie was a regular at our hom e for meals and sleep-overs and always called me "Mom". Later, when he was old enough to drive, Howie bought his own Tiger.

We entertained quite often. Ken Miles and wife, Mollie, Lew Spencer, Larry and Audrey Reed. Lord William Rootes came over and entertained us at the Bistro in Beverly Hills. Another time Brian Rootes (William's son) and Norman (Ian's father) came to the US with Rootes drivers Graham Hill, Jim Clarke and Stirling Moss for the Riverside races. We all stayed at the Mission Inn - the whole family. It was terrific! And the cars performed beautifully!

I have so very many happy memories of those years. One of the proudest moments was in 1966 when Prince Philip came to Los Angeles and presented Ian with an award for "Outstanding Contribution to the British Motor Industry in America". There was a marvelous reception afterward at the Beverly Hills Hotel, for the Rootes dealers and their wives where we had the honor of shaking hands with Prince Philip :-).

Now thanks to my dear Ian, I have a most wonderful Tiger family whom I love dearly.

God Bless -

Laura Garrad

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JOY/CXS/GPIP/2.1 - November 9, 1999