Many details of the history of Sunbeam Owners Fellowship history have become obscured by the mists of time. The formation of the fellowship was over 40 years ago, and no great effort was made at the time to record why, when, who and what were the catalysts. Therefore this account of the history has mainly been researched from early editions of ‘On The Beam’. The Sunbeam Owners are currently actively looking to compile an accurate account of the fellowship history, so if you are aware of any missing information, or believe any of the details below are incorrect, please get in touch.
The Formation of The Sunbeam Owners Fellowship
The magazine `On The Beam´ first published October 1962, as a monthly magazine especially for anyone with interest in Sunbeam Motorcycles. The magazine was published on a voluntary basis by members of the Sunbeam Owners Club to bring Sunbeam owners all over the world into contact with each other, whether a club member or not. You were asked for 4/- to cover postage on one year’s copies. Even in the very first On The Beam, the editor was named as `Rotor´, the address for correspondence was in Beckenham, Kent.
The first magazine lists the Social side events for November:
"The members of the `Sunbeam Owners Club´ had a full month, which included:
Tuesday November 6th. Next Sunbeam Owners Club meeting at the Abby Community Centre, Marsham St, Westminster SW1..among the chatter will be a motorcyclists FIRST AID talk and demonstration
Saturday November 10th. Motorcycle Show:
Thursday November 22nd. The social evening with the main Sunbeam club at the BYRON, Ruislip Road, Greenford
Sunday November 25th. Visit to the Science museum, exhibits that include an S7 Sunbeam and a sectioned engine"
It is assumed that club referred to is the Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club.
Issue 4 in January 1963 states:
"A happy New Motorcycling Year to you. Circulation is still creeping up, but rather slow. However as Stewart Engineering have kindly offered to inform all their customers in their new price list and newsletter, we hope that next few months will see an enormous increase in numbers….and the REAL purpose of ON The Beam can begin…..a REAL fellowship of Sunbeam Owners"
By issue in 5 February 1963: On The Beam reads:
"The magazine is getting strong now, with the support and material coming in fast. This is encouraging, not only from our point of view…..but for Sunbeam owners in general…..because it means that there are enthusiastic owners all over the country, thus keeping Beam alive and kicking, and also providing a solid core of experienced owners. This magazine is providing the tap, passing on experiences and tips etc."
Rotor goes on to propose:
"We suggest a `clublike´ atmosphere, a Sunbeam league of friendship with a membership card etc. Who knows..you may find a Beam owner in the next street who has just the tool you need!"
In the issue 6, March 1963, the fellowship was formed:
"The Sunbeam Owners Fellowship is coming into being. Response has been so good for the idea, that preparations is going ahead for membership cards etc. We are making Stanford Hall rally this year our first official fellowship meeting, and although we hope nothing serious, it may prove to be the first opportunity for some to gain benefit from membership!"
Letter from readers refer to the formation of the fellowship as "a Sunbeam ‘AA’" to help keep bikes on the road. At this time the magazine and the Sunbeam Owners Fellowship where separate, each had a separate fee; However, they soon became one, the On The Beam becoming the official magazine of the Sunbeam Owners Fellowship.