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1954 Sunbeam Alpine news, pictures, specifications, and information
Sport Roadster
Chassis Num: A3015176 LRXS
Engine Num: A3015176 LRXS
 
Sold for $55,000 at 2015 RM Auctions.
The Rootes Group acquired Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq in 1935. In 1953, at the urging of a Sunbeam-Talbot dealer named George Hartwell, the company introduced the Alpine, a one-off rally car designed to compete ate the Monte Carlo and Alpine rallies in Europe. The Alpine Special was powered by a 2267cc Mk I engine, albeit with an 8.0:1 compression ratio. It included an alloy rocker cover and Siamese exhaust ports, along with a special induction manifold fitted with a twin-choke Solex carburetor. The engine offered nearly 100 horsepower.

Between 1953 and 1955, just 1,582 Alpines were produced, of which 921 were exported to the United States and Canada. It is believed that fewer than 100 were equipped with the specially modified 'Special' engines, and of those, 42 were produced with left-hand drive. Each car was hand-built in the U.K. by Thrupp & Maberly.

A fleet of Sunbeam Alpines were sent to the United States in the mid-1950s to participate in the Great American Mountain Rally. This particular example was shipped to the United States on March 22, 1954 and is believed to have been part of that endeavor, although this car was never raced. It was purchased by Patrick Vanson in 1955 and then driven on a 6,000 mile tour of the United States. Before returning to Europe the following year, it was sold.

This example was the only Alpine painted black at the factory. Standard Alpine colors included Alpine Mist, Coronation Red, Ivory, and Sapphire Blue.

Bill Landefeld acquired the car in 1961 for his daughter to commute to college. The current caretaker was a farmhand on the Landefeld family farm in Unionville, Pennsylvania, It was stored in a barn in 1970 and there it sat until 2000, when it was decided to restore the car for the daughter's 50th birthday. The restoration, a full, body-off project, was performed by Steve Cota of Lyme Pond Restoration in Barnard, Vermont.

The car has 43,000 original miles and it retains the original four-speed column shifter with overdrive. The interior and top have been completely redone with original-style leather upholstery and mohair top.

Since the time the restoration work was completed, this car has been shown at the 2007 Lars Anderson British Automobile Show, earning 1st place, and at the 2007 British Invasion Show in Stowe, Vermont, earning 2nd place in the Concours d'Elegance division.

This car has an overhead valve four-cylinder engine fitted with a twin-choke Solex carburetor and developing 97.5 horsepower. There is a four-speed column-shift manual transmission with overdrive and four-wheel drum brakes.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2015
Sport Roadster
 
The Alpine was derived from the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 Saloon, and is known as the 'Talbot' Alpine. It is a sporty two-seat roadster initially developed by Sunbeam-Talbot dealer George Hartwell in Bournemouth, as a one-off rally car. It had its beginnings as a 1952 Sunbeam-Talbot drophead coupe, and is said to have been named by Norman Garrad of the Works Competition Department, who was heavily involved in Sunbeam-Talbot's successes in the Alpine Rally in the early 1950s.

This car has a four-cylinder 2267cc (138.3 cubic-inch) engine, with a slightly higher compression ratio. The gearbox ratios were changed from what was used in the Saloon, and starting in 1954, an overdrive unit became standard equipment. The manual shift gear-change lever is column-mounted.

The Alpine Mark I and Mark III (no Mark II was made) were hand-built at Thrupp & Maberly Coachbuilders from 1953 to 1955, and were produced for just two years. Of the 1,582 automobiles built, 961 were exported to the United States and Canada, 445 stayed in the United Kingdom, and 175 went to other countries. It has been estimated that as few as 200 are currently in existence.

This Alpine was found by the current owners in Southampton, England in October, 2014 after an extensive three year search. It has had four owners in the same family, and is the only right hand drive example known to exist in the United States.
The Sunbeam Alpine was introduced in 1953 and its arrival was historic, as it was the first vehicle to bear the Sunbeam name alone since the 1920 merger of Sunbeam, Talbot, and Darracq. It was a derivative of the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 Saloon, and thus (in modern times), is often referred to as the Talbot Alpine. It was the work of Sunbeam-Talbot dealer George Hartwell in Bournemouth who was working on a rally car.

The Sunbeam Alpine was powered by a four-cylinder engine that displaced 2267cc and mated to a four-speed manual gearbox. Hydraulic drum brakes could be found in the front and rear and had a Burman variable-ratio steering setup. The Mark I and Mark III were in production from 1953 through 1955; there was no Mark II. Around 3000 examples were produced during this time and each was hand built at Thrupp & Maberly. Most were exported to the USA as left-hand drive models. It is believed that a around 200 examples still exist.

A redesigned version appeared near the close of the 1950s. It was designed by Kenneth Howes and Jeff Crompton and given a two-door roadster configuration. Production lasted until 1968 with around 70,000 examples produced.

In 1960 the engine was enlarged to 1592cc. In 1963, the Alpine became available in both open and removable hardtop versions. The following year, the smaller engine option was no longer available. The rear had received re-styling with the downsizing of the fins being the most notable change.

The final version was the Series V which began in 1965 and continued until 1968. It had a larger 1725cc engine, with five main bearings and twin Zenith-Stromberg semi-downdraught carburetors. The automatic gearbox that was offered since 1964 as an option was now no longer available.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2008
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