1953 Sunbeam Talbot 90 news, pictures, and information
Coachwork: Thrupp and Maberly
Designer: Raymond Loewy
Lowey's assignment was to prepare the car visually and emotionally for the American market which Rootes saw being successfully exploited by other British and German marques with their two seaters.
The 2-liter four was over-bored to 2.2-liters and its output increased to 80-bhp. Top speed was 96 mph. The Alpine name reflected the earlier model's success in the 6-day Coupe des Alps with drivers like John Fitch, Stirling Moss and Sheila Van Damm.
This seldom-seen automobile of 3,000 built between 1953 and 1954 has been estimated that perhaps only 200 survive today and is as stunning today as it was when it co-starred with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 'To Catch a Thief.'
The Sunbeam Talbot Sports roadster achieved much rallye success, both Stirling Moss and Sheila van Damm had both coaxed a specially prepared version of the car to a speed of 120 mph. Stirling Moss said, 'What it lacks in speed it make up in endurance.'
Six Alpines were entered in the 1953 Alpine Rally, and four made unpenalized runs, including the one driven by Stirling Moss. In addition Shelia Van Damm won the Coupe des Dame as the fastest woman driver. Moss would go on to win two more Alpine Cup runs in his 1953 Alpine.
It was certainly sporty, and it emphasized luxury rather than performance. Something to drive perhaps to the Country Club or Polo match. The car was still clearly a metal, virtually hand made old school motorcar and did not employ any 'cutting edge' design or fiberglass.
Creature comfort was the Alpine's long suit, Metal-framed windows with sliding plastic side screens, a padded, disappearing top, deep-cushioned seats and 'a wonderful heater and luggage space to spare,' were cheerfully advertised in an era where most sports cars offered snap-on side curtains and thin canvas tops stretched over an infernal network of coat hangers. For competition, the windshield was easily removed and replaced with plastic racing screens.
This example has never been restored. It is a low mileage original that has always been maintained and benefited from one re-spray and re-trim in the last 50 years.
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|1954 Sunbeam Talbot 90|
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