In preparation for the 1961 24 Hours of Lemans race, two Sunbeam Alpine vehicles were delivered to Thomas Harrington Limited Coachbuilders in Hove, Sussex. Work began immediately on the creation of the fiberglass fastback body.
The LeMans race is one of the most grueling and competitive races of all times, testing the driver, team, and vehicle. For 24 hours the vehicles are raced around a circuit at top speed competing against opponents in an attempt to travel the farthest during that 24 hour time frame. Many have trouble just staying in the race and avoiding mechanical problems. For the 1961 LeMan race, the Sunbeam Alpine racer driven by Peter Harper and Peter Proctor finished faultlessly. It covered 2194 miles at an average speed of 91 mph. It was 15th overall and second in class. For this, it was awarded the Index of Thermal Efficiency award. After a few short months, and to commemorate this achievement, Sunbeam introduced the Harrington LeMans production coupe. The vehicles were given fiberglass bodies by Harrington, similar to the LeMans racers. Most of the intended 250 vehicles were destined for the US. The 250 unit mark was never achieved due to high production cost and low profits for the company. By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2007