Selling your classic car? It's FREE to list your car on Honest John Classics | No thanks

Sunbeam Alpine (1953 - 1955)

Last updated 24 August 2013

 
4
Beautiful to look at, and great build quality
Podgy to drive, hard to find

Introduction

Although most readily associated with the successful 1960s Alpine, the original car was actually closely based on the Sunbeam Talbot 90 Mk II saloon. Effectively it was a two-door, two-seater version of the more mundane family car, although the chassis was reinforced considerably. The Alpine was really designed with the American market in mind, with both the engine and the suspension was tuned for sportiness in order to make it feel less like a family car to drive. This meant stiffer springs up front, more positive steering and freer-breathing cylinder heads.

A high list price compared with rivals such as the Triumph TR2, meant sales were slow, and success eluded the car. The Alpine retained the independent suspension set-up (coil springs at the front), and was powered by another Rootes family engine, the 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine from the Humber Hawk. With just 80bhp and a portly body, performance was poor, and despite rallying success – including an outright win of the 1955 Monte Carlo Rally at the hands of a privateer – sales were slow, and after two years, the Alpine was dropped.

 

Ask Honest John