Displacement: 2,792 cc (originally 1,592 cc)
Horsepower: 115 bhp @ 4,600 rpm (originally 87 bhp @ 5,700 rpm)
Engine Torque: 147 ft lb @ 2,600 rpm (originally 93 ft lb @ 3,500 rpm)
Top Speed: 116 mph (originally 97 mph)
0 - 60 mph: 9.7 seconds (originally 13.5 seconds)
click on image to enlarge
With an illustrious history, beginning in 1888, Sunbeam started out manufacturing bicycles but soon transitioned into motorcycle manufacturing and then automobiles in 1899. During the First War, they also manufactured trucks, ambulances and aero engines. In 1920, they merged with Talbot-Darracq, to become Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq. It was in this guise that they produced the record-breaking cars for Sir Henry Seagrave and Sir Malcolm Campbell. As such, they flourished for the next fifteen years but sadly, the Depression proved to be to much for them and they went into receivership in 1935. The company was procured by the Rootes Group, who revived the Sunbeam name for a few moderately successful models, labeled as Sunbeam-Talbot before dropping the Talbot part in 1954, to create the first plain Sunbeam in almost twenty years. It was called the Alpine (based on Sunbeam-Talbot's success in the Alpine Rally) and they were handbuilt, in small numbers, until an all new Alpine was launched, in 1959.
The new Sunbeam Alpine was squarely aimed at the US market and evolved over five iterations, each with a modest increase in power and some styling changes. By the end of the fifth series, in 1969, over 70,000 had been built. Though probably most famous in the States as the car from the popular spy spoof television show 'Get Smart,' it was also used by a far more famous fictional spy, when it became the first Bond car in the 1962 film, 'Dr. No'.
Offered here, is a lovely Series IV version (easily identified by its lower rear fins), finished in a most striking colour combination. The Series IVs were the first Alpines to offer automatic transmissions, and this was one such example. (The Series IV was also the first Alpine to benefit from Carroll Shelby's magic touch, when he shoehorned in A Ford 260 small-block V8, to create the Sunbeam Tiger.) Though initially powered by an 82 bhp, four-cylinder engine, it is now home to one of Ford's venerable 'Cologne' 2.8 litre V6s. This was a particularly popular engine swap choice, as it offered a considerable increase in performance and handling over the stock 4 cylinder unit, without the attendant overheating and understeering problems of the also popular Tiger V8 conversion. Additionally, reliability was increased along with easy maintenance and inexpensive parts.
Though ultimately 12,406 Series IVs were built, there are fewer and fewer available as accident, neglect and corrosion have taken so many off the table. Not only is this car rust and accident free, but its very nicely upgraded mechanicals, ensure that it will delight its next custodian for many years to come!