Sunbeam Car Reviews and Road Tests

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Sunbeam Car Company

Founded by John Marston in 1901, a sheet metal worker who built up the company Sunbeamland to manufacture bicycles. Marston allowed his apprentice Thomas Cureton to tinker with prototype cars, the resulting Sunbeam Mabley of 1901 being a curious cross between car and motorcycle, the four wheels being set in a diamond formation. Soon taken over by businessman T.T. Pullinger, by 1907 the company was manufacturing the Angus Shaw designed 16/20, along with the 12/16 tourers.

They quickly found success in competition work, the company expanding to a 30 acre site by the end of World War 1. In 1920 it merged with Talbot to form STD motors, allowing Sunbeam to use the far superior overhead cam Talbot engines, these being used to create record breaking racers - including Malcolm Campbell's V12 car, which set a new Land Speed Record in 1924. The STD combine would fall upon hard times, and Sunbeam turned to the manufacture of trolleybuses, however in the early post war years it again turned to the manufacture of automobiles, the highlights being the beautiful 1959 Alpine, and potent V8 equipped Tiger.

Collector Notes: This unusual product of the Rootes Group arrived in Australia in open form in 1954, based on the closed and open Sunbeam-Talbot, which had been on sale since the early 1950s. The Alpine Series I convertible ran from 1960 to 1961, the Series II to 1962 and the Series III to 1963. The Series IV ran until 1967, followed by the Rapier which stayed in production (in open form) until 1976. The convertibles are the pick of the bunch, and have enjoyed increasing popularity over the last 20 years. And with popularity comes high prices.

Also see: Lost Marques: Sunbeam | The History of Sunbeam (USA Edition)
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Sunbeam Talbot 90  

Sunbeam Talbot 90

1948- 1954
The Sunbeam Talbot 90 was launched in 1948 along with the smaller-engined Sunbeam-Talbot 80 but many features dated back to the pre war Sunbeam-Talbot 2 Litre. The body was completely new and available as a four-door saloon or two-door drophead coupé. More>>
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Sunbeam Rapier  

Sunbeam Rapier Series I to V

1955- 1967
The Rapier's price was not low by any means, but because of its attention to detail, performance and general roadworthiness, it was at the time very much a car above the ordinary. In factors of safety, handling and performance the Rapier appealed to those who admired the Gran Turismo type of vehicle while for the average motorist it was is a car which had appeal because of its overall running economy and ease of maintenance. More>>
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Sunbeam Alpine  

Sunbeam Alpine

1959 - 1968
Styled by Kenneth Howes, the second generation Alpine was launched in 1959 and was based on the contemporary Hillman Minx. More>>
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Sunbeam Tiger  

Sunbeam Tiger

1964 - 1968
Introduced in 1964, its soul was a V-eight version of the four-cylinder Sunbeam Alpine whose attractive open body dated from 1959. More>>
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Sunbeam Stiletto  

Sunbeam Stiletto

1967 - 1972
The Sunbeam Stiletto is a rare car indeed, with only around 9000 being manufactured between 1967 and 1972. The first iterations were known as the 301 series, manufactured by the Rootes group. More>>
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Sunbeam Rapier Fastback Coupe  

Sunbeam Rapier Fastback Coupe

1967 - 1976
A decade after launch the Sunbeam Rapier had changed little externally, however all that was to change with the launch of the beautifully styled Fastback Coupe, which is today a highly sought after classic. More>>
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Sunbeam Lotus

Sunbeam Lotus

1977 - 1981
The Chrysler (as it then was) Sunbeam "hatch window" was introduced in 1977, and was evolved in a hurry from mainly Hillman Avenger components to produce a new model quickly. More>>
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