Rare Barn Find: 1950 Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Mk I

Now we’re talkin’, a for-real barn find in an actual barn – that’s a perfect image! Now the description is a bit confusing as this car is referred to as a Sunbeam Talbot Alpine and that’s close but not exactly the case – more on that to follow. This 1950 Sunbeam-Talbot 90 barn dweller is located in Harwinton, Connecticut and is available, here on craigslist for $10,950. Thanks to Gunter K for this nice discovery!

Where things get slightly confusing is the reference to this Sunbeam being an “Alpine”. Technically, the Alpine went into production in 1953 and continued through 1975. The Sunbeam-Talbot 90 was manufactured between 1948 and 1954 and offered in both a four-door sedan (saloon) and a two-door convertible (drophead coupe) such as our found example. Research indicates that the moniker “Alpine” is sometimes used to reference a Talbot 90 though it is technically incorrect. The seller refers to this Talbot 90 as a Mark I which is correct as that’s the first generation that was produced from 1948 until 1950. The Mark II, which replaced the Mark I, was introduced in late ’50. Total Talbot 90 production over seven years was about  20K units.

Sitting for twenty-five years in a Connecticut barn, this Talbot 90 is, according to the seller, one of less than 1,000 exported to North America. The body is not in the best shape, hard to tell if it was green over red, or red over green though the red upholstery leads one to believe that red is the primary shade.  That said, the firewall is showing an under-color of white so maybe that was the original hue. Whatever the case, this one is going to take some work considering the rust and general roughness. But, that said, the floors have already experienced some repair and patching. The trim has been removed but the seller states, “Many of the parts have been stored in the trunk, including the headlight bezels, bonnet hinges, and exterior trim…

Back to the upholstery, the seats appear to be covered in red vinyl and are in decent shape but the rest of the interior is going to need a lot of elbow grease.  As noted earlier, the door cards have gone missing and the interior, in general, should probably start from the floor and then go up. Note the electrical tape covering for the out-of-round steering wheel.

The instrument panel is an interesting study, someone has crafted their own toggle-switch gear which in turn appears to be attached to the type of metal screen commonly found on radiator covers in older steam/hot water heated homes. It would be interesting to know if all six actually operate anything.

Under the bonnet, is a non-running 1.9 liter, in-line, four-cylinder engine that the seller claims is responsible for 97.5 HP. Research indicates that the power output is only 64. Even the Mark II’s (late ’50 introduction as a ’51 model) larger 2.2-liter engine was only good for 70 HP, so I’m uncertain of the origin of the 97.5 HP claim. Regardless, the engine and its four-speed manual transmission don’t look as if they have done any road work in quite some time. It would be good to know if the engine at least turns over.

When I think of Sunbeam, I always think of the ’60s vintage Alpine but there was a lot more to Sunbeam than that one, very memorable sports car. Dating to 1905, Sunbeam was a formidable member of Great Britain’s auto manufacturing club and produced many noteworthy models. As with others, it was the victim of economic changes, takeovers, bankruptcies, and the entire host of maladies that adversely affected Britain’s auto industry.  Old circumstances alone, may be reason enough to save this drophead coupe wouldn’t you agree?


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    We had one of these in our local casual British car club-
    (Humboldt British Car Group).that was in excellent shape.

    Like 14
    • Martin Horrocks

      That’s a 4 seat convertible. This barn find is the 2 seater Alpine.

      Like 5
  2. Curt Lemay

    Does the car come with a young Grace Kelly? (or am I thinking of the wrong car?)

    Like 5
  3. Martin Horrocks

    I think you are wrong on the name. I ‘ve always known these as Alpines, referring to the model rather than the range.

    This is a 2 seater body developed initially by Hartwell, important Rootes dealer in Bournemouth, UK. The shape was popular, so adopted early on by Rootes.

    It was an effective rally car, driven by both Moss and Collins for Rootes works rally team I think.

    Like 4
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Here’s what I used, shows the Alpine name originating in 1953:https://motor-car.net/sunbeam/item/10262-alpine-mark-i-iii-1953-55

      I suppose the seller could have the year wrong, but he states it as a 1950 Talbot-90 model.


    • James HGF

      You’re correct. It is a MKI Alpine with the std 80 bhp engine. The seller has apparently seen the specs for the Sunbeam Alpine MKI Special which was equipped with a 97.5 bhp developed by ERA. The 90 machines built were for competition use.

      The Sunbeam Talbot name is on the top of the MKI grille and also on the serial number/details plate (missing!) on the top of the fire wall above the battery location. No mention of serial number…hmm? Seller is wrong on year for his diced and sliced example.

      Details and specs on MKI, MKI Special, and MKIII Alpines:


      Like 3
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        So the seller has the model year incorrectly listed as a ’50?


        Like 1
      • Robert Hamilton

        This is not an Alpine MKI but a 1955 MKIII as it has the tachometer built into the facia (dash) and not hung in a pod under the dash as in the MKI. The engines are 2267 cc and the MKIII has the ribbed aluminum valve cover as shown in the images above. Also the seats are not original as the originals do not have a folding back but are all one piece. This would make a good spares care as it would take more to restore it that what it is worth which is in the $60-70K range.

        Like 1
  4. rustylink

    I really love this car but my god the rabbit hole you could fall in on this one. Uber British rare car with panel and parts needs…I think this one is for the person who owns one already and has a parts car to use or transfer too.

    Like 1
  5. Gary

    Hefty sale price. 10 or more years ago this would have been crushed or a “free to good home” deal. Times have changed. I’d like to know where this ends up. Is anyone really restoring cars in this condition?

    Like 2
    • Ricki Knights

      Yes they do restore car in that condition, I am working on 1953 Alpine now, and yes he will get £5,000 for it in that condition.

      Like 2
  6. Ian Grant

    As I recall, the Alpine had louvers along the top of the bonnet. Although they are not unique to the Alpine, it means this isn’t one.

  7. Kenn

    Gary, you must be new here. Cars that are rusted and damaged to almost impossible to recognize as cars are bought here with the intention of restoring to not only driveabilty but to show and flip for a profit. This isn’t a bad start.

  8. Roy Marson

    Check out the very nice Sunbeam four seater on “Father Brown” PBS.

    Like 1

    To correct everyone the car is a !955 Sunbeam, Known as a Talbot Alpine to separate it from the 1959-67 Alpines it has a 2267cc Engine not 1900cc, the Tacho in the dash, and the tin top Rocker cover donates Mk3 Alpine, very rare car needed major restoration, good project if its all there


    To correct everyone the car is a !955 Sunbeam, Known as a Talbot Alpine to separate it from the 1959-67 Alpines it has a 2267cc Engine not 1900cc, the Tacho in the dash, and the tin top Rocker cover donates Mk3 Alpine, very rare car needed major restoration, good project if its all there, The seats are not Sunbeam Talbot or Alpine seats.

    Like 1
  11. Derek Cook

    The car is definitely a Sunbeam Alpine Mk III. Produced for only one year, 1955 – that is October ’54 to September ’55. The rocker cover design and the placement of the rev counter on the dash are the differences to the Mk I (there was no Mk II).
    The seats are wrong. All Alpines had a pair of deep luxurious seats, great for the long distance motoring these cars were built for.
    Cars in worse condition than this have been restored.
    The club for these cars, based in the UK, is the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register – they have a good website.

    Like 1
  12. clive Coppenhall

    MK1 Sunbeam Alpine, these were produced from 1953, a MK11 would have air vent high up on front wing close to windscreen, so an early model

    Like 1
  13. Jim ODonnell Staff

    OK, folks, I appreciate everyone’s comments but it sounds like the owner doesn’t know what in the Sam Hill he has, so if you’re interested in this car, I’d suggest contacting him directly.



    Like 1

    Money well spend on this two door with the right restoration.

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