The Star motor car and its role in the early days of motoring

The bonnet ornament, shown above, is all that remains of the Winnington Ingram Star. The vehicle had been sold to a family in Stroud. They had not owned the vehicle for very long before they had a  major accident and wrote the car off. Nobody was badly injured but, feeling guilty, the last recognisable part of the vehicle, the bonnet ornament, was returned to AR Winnington Ingram. The ornament is still owned by the family.

The Star Engineering Company, based in Wolverhampton, produced a wide varieties of vehicle and by 1914 was the sixth largest motor manufacturer in the country. Their vehicles extended to cycles, motor bikes, trucks and buses/charabancs as well as their extensive range of cars. 

At the outbreak of WW1 all production at Star Engineering was devoted to the war effort. The British, French and Russian armies all benefitted. Cars and trucks were marketed all over the world. An advert, from the time, shows that Marconi are using cars and trucks were being used in Australia. After the war sales were still good but as the Twenties progressed and faced with increased competition, sales of the Star range of trucks and cars began to fall. The cars, which were extremely well made, were just too expensive for the mass market. 

By 1928 with production still falling, Star found itself in a precarious financial state. This resulted in the take over of the company by Guy Motors. Star continued in existence as a separate company, now called The Star Motor Company Limited and the range of models was reduced. Unfortunately a small loss was made on the sale of every vehicle. At the time, Guy Motors was also in financial difficulties due to the recession, and so couldn’t afford to equip the Star factory with up-to-date machinery. The Star Motor Company found itself in a desperate situation, and as a result a Receiver was appointed in March 1932. 

How can a company that achieved so much have failed and disappeared into the annuls of history. We all remember the early makes such as Bentley, Rolls Royce, Bugatti etc., who did go on to greater things but maybe we should give a nod to The Star Motor Company who were such a major player in the early days of motoring. 

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