My father, the late Bill Knight, joined the Singer Motor Company in Canterbury Street Coventry in 1949, it was absorbed into the Rootes Group of companies and in the fifties he moved to the Service department in Humber Road as a mechanic. His forte was engines and Borg

Warner auto gearboxes, he travelled abroad fixing these to locations in Germany (military vehicles), Poland (Embassy vehicles), Finland (Government vehicles) and UK including the Prime Ministers Humber Imperial.

He was loaned to the Competitions Department to build several Sunbeam Rapier engines and also the engines for the Harrington bodied cars (Kamm Tail) destined for Le Mans. I have good memories of being taken down the recently opened M1 motorway (no centre barriers then!) in what seemed to an 11 year old as a really noisy (No internal trim) and fast car.

He always ran in these engines at night and more amazingly drove the cars to Lydd airfield, put them on an Argosy car shuttle airplane to Le Touquet airfield in France and drove to Le Mans, all to get the most mileage before the practice and race.



Men in the picture are: Bill Knight leaning on the car, Peter Harper sitting in the car, Jack Walton, mechanic at Rootes competition) by car on ramp and Gerry Spencer in load bay 


 The photo of 3000RW enclosed shows Dad across the bonnet during a pitstop, in the photo is also Jim Ashworth (standing at front of car) Jim was responsible at the factory for the build of customer Hillman and Sunbeam Imp cars from early 1964. Also there is Gerry Spencer (kneeling on pit counter) chief mechanic at the factory. I am told that Timothy Rootes is also there.

During the later years he became Dealer Training manager through the Rootes/Chrysler/Talbot and Peugeot eras, retiring in 1992.

I have also enclosed a photo of his Pit entry armband showing the 10/11 June 1961 date stamp.



 For info, my career is unique in as much that I followed Dad into the car industry by passing the Humber Ltd entrance exam in 1964 and became an apprentice mechanic. After a year moving around departments like the foundry, engine assembly, gearbox assembly, engine test etc. I arrived in the Competition Department. At that time Marcus Chambers was Team Manager, but Des O'Dell had arrived from John Wyers company where he had built the Ford GT40 cars for Le Mans. Des took me under his wing and treated me like a son through all the eras of Imps, London Sydney Rally winning Hunters, Avengers, Sunbeams and Sunbeam Lotus, Talbot Sambas, Peugeot 205, most importantly 205T16 with which we won 2 World Championships.

After many promotions into management and working for Jean Todt here and in France, I retired after 40 years in motorsport in the same factory in 2005, sadly the whole Peugeot UK operation closed the same year. I won't continue with my story now, but I hope this is of interest.

Best regards, Alan Knight. 18-2-2021.



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