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Lot 212: Sunbeam 4.2-Litre Harrington Alpine

Goodwood Festival of Speed, Bonhams (29 June 2012)

Aimed at the US market, where British sports cars were enjoying considerable success, the Sunbeam Alpine was introduced in 1959 and used the same 1.5-litre, overhead-valve, four-cylinder engine found in many of Rootes' other products. In the early 1960s, inspired by Carroll Shelby's success in shoehorning a Ford V8 into the AC Ace to create the Cobra, Rootes asked Shelby to perform the same trick with the Alpine. Ford's 260ci (4.2-litre) unit was chosen, and even though this had 'only' 160bhp on tap, it was approaching double the output of the contemporary Alpine's 1.6-litre four. Assembled by Jensen Motors and introduced in 1964, the Tiger featured a stronger gearbox and rear axle, plus rack-and-pinion steering. Vastly superior to its Alpine progenitor in performance terms, the Tiger stormed to 60mph in under 10 seconds and peaked at 117mph. Sadly, the model was killed off by Rootes' new owner Chrysler shortly after the Tiger II was introduced in 1967. In addition to the standard product, some 200 Sunbeam Harrington Alpines - 'Grand Touring' coachbuilt conversions - were built by the Hove-based firm of coachbuilders, Thomas Harrington Limited, in the early 1960s. There was never an official Harrington conversion for the Alpine's V8-engined Tiger derivative however, this car's ex-Tiger 4.2-litre V8 engine and four-speed transmission having been installed when the car was restored circa 1980-1982, shortly after acquisition by the immediately preceding owner, a dedicated Rootes enthusiast. In 1989 this car was one of four Sunbeams taken to the first 'SUNI' Meeting at Snowmass, Colorado, USA and featured prominently in the video of that event. The current owner purchased the Harrington Alpine at Bonhams' Goodwood Revival sale in September 2006 (Lot 206) and since then it has featured in a Classic Cars magazine comparison road test article alongside a contemporary Triumph TR Dove conversion. The car has been kept in a heated garage for the past few years with minimal mileage undertaken while the owner has been based abroad. It is said to run well and has been serviced recently. '197 EUF' features the Harrington model's special hand-made grille, unmarked gold coachwork, alloy wheels (x5), sliding sunroof, stainless-steel exhaust, Koni shock absorbers all round and black interior which are all in very good condition. Unique and fascinating, the car is offered with old-style logbook, a quantity of expired MoT certificates, Swansea V5C document and fresh MoT.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Festival of Speed
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood,UK
TypeCar
Lot Number212
Estimate£16000-£18000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£17000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£19550
Year1963
Condition rating2
Registration number197 EUF
Mileage-
Chassis numberB92053100DHRO
Engine number4844-F21KA
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2