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Learning at Black Country Living Museum

Black Country Vehicles

The Black Country was a major centre for vehicle manufacturing with cycles, /media/learning/library/140707_230_ajs_c.jpgmotorcycles, cars, lorries and buses all built in the region.

Visitors can see first hand well-known historical names such as AJS, Bean, Star, Sunbeam and Jensen. This names just a few of the automotive marques that put the Black Country manufacturing on the map.

From the early 1900s, the engineers and coach builders of the Black Country turned their expertise to the new 


technology of motor cycles and motor cars.

Brands such as AJS, Star and Sunbeam became household names. Wolverhampton based Clyno was once the third largest car manufacturer in Britain, while AJS and Sunbeam carved out formidable reputations in TT races and land speed records.

A highlight of the vehicle collection is the Sunbeam touring car (AA 360), dating to 1903. This car was made before the Sunbeam Motor Company was formed and is one of only four believed to exist from this year.

Sunbeam was founded by John Marston, who originally manufactured tin-plate and Japan-ware in Wolverhampton. By 1899 he had built a ‘horseless carriage’ with Thomas Cureton, and in 1901 he exhibited a Sunbeam at the Crystal Palace Show. In 1905 the Sunbeam Motor Car Company was formed,

/media/learning/library/140707_230_frisky_-_mike_hessey.jpgproducing cars at the top end of the market. In 1912, the first Sunbeam motor cycle hit the market. It sold under the slogan ‘The Gentleman’s Motor Bicycle’. Aero engines and motor boat engines were also produced under the Sunbeam name.

See our Transport Collections


/media/learning/library/150109_230_vehicle.jpgVisit the Museum for our

Festival of  Vehicles 







Did you know?

interesting fact image

John Fowler & Company (Leeds) Limited produced around 10% of all Steam Rollers in the United Kingdom.

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