Timothy Rootes, the only son of the Rootes Group co-founder Sir Reginald Rootes, has sadly passed away aged 95.
Born in Kent in 1925, Tim left Harrow School at 15 to work for Humber but this was halted when he was called up for military service in 1943. He worked briefly in Cairo and then Baghdad, driving home from the latter in a Sunbeam Talbot Tourer on a gruelling, hazardous seven-week trip that even included coming second in a Concours d’Elegance in Biarritz.
In 1950, Tim sailed to New York to join his cousin Brian Rootes, who oversaw Rootes Inc, the North American sales and marketing division. The next year, he became a regional director based in Beverley Hills before a return to the UK in 1956, where he was made director of the sales and service division of the manufacturing company. He was also appointed to the board of the parent company, Rootes Motors Ltd, and also Rootes Ltd, the group’s merchandising division. Then, in 1965, following the death of his uncle, Lord Rootes, Tim became managing director of the passenger car division.
In 1967 Chrysler took overall control of what had previously been a family business. Tim left and set up his own companies, consisting of Jaguar and Rover dealerships, as well as a company supplying agricultural equipment. He also became involved with horse racing, breeding an impressive list of winners.
Tim lived near Banbury, where he had his stud, and was a Patron of the nearby Rootes Archive Centre, in which he took a great interest. Andy Bye, Trustee of the Rootes Archive Centre Trust, said: “Tim was the son of Reginald Rootes and thus the last generation of the Rootes family who dedicated their life to the family automotive business, so it really is the end of an era.”