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Lot 125: Sunbeam Alpine Roadster MkI

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (26 September 2012)

Launched in 1953, the Sunbeam Alpine Roadster was inspired by a Sunbeam-Talbot dealer and rally fan, George Hartwell, who had made a one-off open rally car based on a 1952 drophead coupe. The production car was based on the existing Sunbeam-Talbot 90 saloon but with styling input from Raymond Loewy to add the all-important glamour needed to attract the bouyant American market. The 90's chassis and running gear were retained, the former suitably stiffened to compensate for the reduced rigidity of the open-topped bodyshell, while the front suspension was stiffened and the steering revised. To enhance the Alpine's sporting credentials, the 2,267cc four-cylinder overhead-valve engine received a power boost to 80bhp courtesy of a revised cylinder head. The wonderfully styled bodies were hand built at Thrupp & Maberly coachbuilders in Cricklewood. Initially for export only, the new Alpine did not reach the UK market until the autumn of 1953, but before then the new model's launch had been enhanced by a blaze of publicity following successful record breaking attempts at Montlhery, France and Jabbeke in Belgium where Stirling Moss achieved a maximum speed of 120mph. The car was also perfectly cast for the Grace Kelly character in 'To Catch a Thief' about a rich American debutante on tour with her mother in Europe. Some 3,000 cars were built before production ceased in 1955, the vast majority in LHD, and it is estimated that only about 200 survive today. First registered in London in 1954, this particular Alpine has been with the current registered keeper in Hereford since 1962. Although the car is now somewhat tired cosmetically, it is in remarkably sound and original condition and is said to be very good mechanically after a recent brake overhaul and an engine rebuild in the late 1980s when the hood was also replaced. It has just sailed through its MOT with no problems and is very solid underneath. Taxed for six months it is ready for immediate use and could be driven as is and gradually improved over time. With top examples now fetching in excess of 25,000 it looks a very tempting prospect at the modest guide suggested today. PS: Since the catalogue went to press we have received more information about this car. Although it has been in the possession of the current registered keeper since 1962 it was put into another person's name twice during that period. The number of owners prior to 1962 is not known. The car has been in dry storage for the last 20 years but has recently been recommisioned and is said to drive very well. A compression test revealed 150 lbs per sq in on each cylinder and the oil pressure is very good. It comes with an owner's handbook and a V5 registration document.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
TypeCar
Lot Number125
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£12600
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1954
Condition rating
Registration numberUPD 777
Mileage-
Chassis numberA3014305ERD
Engine numberA3014305ERD
Engine capacity (cc)2267
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors