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Chrysler Sunbeam and 1600Ti (1977 - 1981)

Last updated 19 March 2013

Neat looking, good driving position, rear-wheel drive, larger-engined versions a hoot to drive in the wet, 1600ti looks brilliant
Gutless smaller cars, impractical tailgate, cramped in the rear, real corrosion problems
Updated 1 April 1981
Talbot Sunbeam production ceased

A production run of 200,000 cars in its life was an acceptable performance, and the Sunbeam did manage to maintain Chrysler’s presence in the all-important supermini sector. Once PSA were in control...

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The Chrysler Sunbeam was the product of an emergency bail-out by the Britiish government. It was designed, engineered and raced into production in record time, and proved that when Chrysler UK had its back to the wall, it could deliver an appealing, saleable car.

Although it was little more than a shortened Avenger with a stylish new liftback body, it sold enough to sustain the company’s Linwood factory for another five years. Most were dull to drive, but the 1600Ti version was an interesting proposition, as it was effectively a shortened Avenger Tiger.

Performance was rapid thanks to the 100bhp 1.6-litre running twin Weber carburettors, and proved a popular entrant in club-level rallying. Oddly it boasted far more extrovert styling than the far faster Sunbeam-Lotus - a case of the marketing department mixing its memos?

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