The Lord Rootes Trophy is an award presented to outstanding members of TE/AE. (See the list of winners below) The perpetual trophy provides recognition to persons making significant contributions to TE/AE and to the Sunbeam marque in general. In the fall of 1977 the first Tigers East/Alpines East United was held in Williamsburg, Va. Ian Garrard (endearingly known as the “Father of the Tiger”) honored TE/AE members with his presence and donated a large ceramic tiger head, made by his wife Laura, to be used as the clubs perpetual “Lord Rootes” trophy.

President Joe Parlanti gives the Lord Rootes Award to Doug Jennings, 2019, La Crosse, WI

Originally, it was awarded to the owner(s) of the best car in show (highest concours points). In 1980, the criteria were changed to give others the opportunity to receive this honor. The new criteria stated that the award is to be given to a club member (or couple) in good standing, who has expended significant time, effort and energy for the preservation and promotion of the marque and the promotion of Tigers East/Alpines East. This award is considered to be the club’s highest honor since it is bestowed by peers and is recognition of commitment and service to others.

Nominees for the award must meet the following minimum criteria, without exception:

  • Be a member of TE/AE in good standing (dues current).
  • Attend the annual TE/AE convention for the year of the award.
  • Own a Sunbeam and bring it to the annual convention for the year the award is given.
  • Must not have been the recipient of the award before.

The recipient of the Lord Rootes Trophy is chosen by a committee of the five previous recipients. Nominations for the award may be put before the committee by any member in good standing. The trophy is not awarded if a suitable candidate is not identified. The committee decision is based on the nominee’s contributions in the following areas:

  • Participation in TE/AE events.
  • Contributions to the TE/AE newsletter.
  • Aid given to other TE/AE members.
  • Recruitment of new TE/AE members.
  • Volunteer work for TE/AE.
  • Administrative duties performed for the club.
  • Participation in events at the annual TE/AE convention.
  • Participation in competitive events with a Sunbeam, including:
    • Autocross, concours, gymkhana, hill climb, rally, road race, etc.
    • Participation with a Sunbeam in events other than TE/AE sponsored events
    • Length of ownership of Sunbeam(s)
    • Condition of the Sunbeam(s)

It is important to note that only the previous five winners are given a vote and attend this closed meeting. If any of the previous winners are not present, it is up to those previous recipients present to contact them and get their vote. Having met all of the above criteria, nominees are discussed and then a vote is taken. If there is no one who meets all of the above criteria, especially bringing a Rootes vehicle, then the trophy is not awarded and the last recipient holds it until the next United.

This is the clubs highest honor and serious thought is given to who the next recipient should be.

Only these five know the name of the new recipient until the announcement is made by the previous winner or his/her substitute at the United banquet. The winner’s name is to be kept secret until the announcement, not even the club president or host for the evening is given this name.

What has become a traditional part of the Lord Rootes trophy is a brown paper bag. This bag is an integral part of the trophy, the history of which dates back to the year 1980 when the trophy was first awarded to Wally Swift. Now, Uncle Wally, as he is endearingly called, wasn’t particularly fond of the appearance of the “trophy” because when his grandchildren visited, they were frightened by the appearance of the “trophy”.

So, using his creative talents, he chose to place a brown bag over the trophy so his grandchildren wouldn’t be frightened. Now there are those recipients who have also chosen to cover the trophy with this bag and those who have chosen to keep the bag neatly folded in its special home, the base of the trophy.

An additional honor for all recipients is to be among those who have had the privilege of signing the “trophy bag”. Recognition is also given to Barry Schonberger for his engineering feat in designing the transport case for the Lord Rootes trophy. In addition to the trophy, another honor the recipient of the award receives is the car badge. The badge is kept by the trophy recipient, but the trophy is held until the next United to be awarded again. Each recipient of the award has his or her name and year of award engraved on the plaque attached to the base of the trophy.

Lord Rootes Trophy Winners

DateLocationWinner
1977Richard & Kathleen Choyce
Oct 1978 Williamsburg, VA
Ernest McCormick
1979Washington, DCErnest McCormick
1980Beltsville, MDWally Swift
1981Savannah, GAThe Ehrharts
1982Kingston, NYThe Lawlers
1983Gatlinburg, TNNot Awarded
1984Niagra Falls, NYMike Smith
1985Williamsburg, VAThe Kathmanns
Oct 1986 Indianapolis, IN The Calverts
1987Downingtown, PAThe Quinters
1988Huntsville, AL Not Awarded
Jul 1989 Snowmass, CO Not Awarded
Oct 1990Toronto, Canada David Reina
Aug 1991Dayton, OHAndrea Hellings
Oct 1992Charleston, SCBarry Schonberger
Aug 1993Burlington, VTThe Towles
1994SUNINot Awarded
Aug 1995Dearborn, MI Dan Cameron
Oct 1996Orlando, FLJohn Webber
Sept 1997Niagara Falls, CanadaEric Gibeaut
Oct 1998Solomans, MDJohn Logan
1999SUNINot Awarded
Aug 2000Portland, ME Ed Esslinger
Oct 2001St Louis, MOJim Morrison
Oct 2002Charleston, SCNot Awarded
Sept 2003Harrisburg, PAJim Anderson
2004SUNINot Awarded
Aug 2005Alexandria Bay, NYThe Sharkeys
Oct 2006Covington, KYThe Jeffers
Oct 2007Daytona Beach, FLThe Moons
Oct 2008Washington, DCRobert Jaarsma
2009SUNINot Awarded
Oct 2010Owls Head, MEFred Baum
Oct 2011French Lick, INCurt Hoffman
Oct 2012Sevierville,TNJoe Parlanti
Oct 2013St Michaels, MDNot Awarded
Sept 2014Boyne Mountain, MIJohn Logan, Jr.
Aug 2015Dayton, OHThe McConlogues
Sept 2016Norcross, GAJim Lindner
Sept 2017Staunton, VARuss Eshelman
Sept 2018Glen Cove, Long Island, NYNot Awarded
Aug 2019La Crosse, WIDoug Jennings