As a result of the success achieved with the Sunbeam Harrington Alpine, an additional model is now introduced. This new Gran Turismo is based on the Sunbeam Alpine which won the Index of Thermal Efficiency Award in the 1961 LeMans 24 Hour Race.
The Sunbeam Harrington Lemans is an improved version of the car so successfully raced at LeMans. It incorporates the same engineering features, but with entirely new body styling. This super de luxe model will appeal to the motorist who not only requires above average sports car performance, but insists on the ultimate in luxury and comfort.
Coachwork features include an extensive rear compartment arranged to provide maximum luggage accommodation, with full width flush folding occasional seat; this seat is adequate for two children and for short journeys for one adult.
When the occasional seating is in use there is still substantial luggage accommodation, with easy access through a large rear door which incorporates the curved back light.
Draughtless ventilation is provided by means of rearward opening quarterlight windows. The noise level of the interior has been reduced to a minimum by the introduction of a fully trimmed and insulated interior, which is carpeted throughout in both front and rear compartments. The door trim incorporates arm rests, knee pads and pockets. Soft edged sun visors are included for driver and front passenger. A heater and windscreen washers are fitted as standard.
The mechanical specification of this LeMans model follows that of the car which lapped the LeMans circuit for 24 hours at an average speed of 91 mph to win the Thermal Efficiency Award. The specification includes a special lightweight flywheel and competition type clutch unit. The crankshaft, clutch and flywheel are balanced as one unit. The compression ratio is raised to 9.5 to 1. The valve throats and induction ports are reshaped and polished, and stronger valve springs provided. The exhaust ports are cleaned up and special high efficiency camshafts fitted. The carburetors are suitably modified. A special oil cooler is fitted to provide for running at consistent high engine speeds and in hot climates. An added safety feature is the provision of Clayton Dewandre power assisted brakes.
This LeMans model is indeed a worthy development of the now well-known Sunbeam Alpine, and the coachwork is in perfect keeping with the quality for which Thomas Harrington Limited have been renowned for over sixty years.
A thoroughbred sports car, manufactured to standards of the highest quality, and backed by the fine Harrington tradition for comfort and luxury.
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