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Unsung Superleggera: 1964 Sunbeam Venezia


What does Ferrari and Aston Martin have in common with Sunbeam? Well, not much except for the fact that Touring of Italy built a lightweight version for each company. The other cars have become highly sought after collectibles while the Venezia is mostly unknown. That could be because of its humble four-cylinder or its homely lines, but either way this 1964 Sunbeam Venezia is a good find. Take a look here on eBay in the UK where bidding is currently at £2,499 ($3,735). Thanks goes to Thomas G. for the tip.


These cars were hand-built by Carrozzeria Touring using a mediocre Humber Sceptre sedan. The body was removed and many small steel tubes were welded together to form a framework over which alloy panels were stretched. The resulting structure was lighter than a standard steel body, but also more fragile and prone to rust where the two metals made contact. This makes restoration costs higher than steel bodied cars and that could be one of the reasons the Venezia has not drawn the attention that its richer big brothers have.


With just eighty-eight horsepower it will never outrun a DB4, but with a lightweight body fitted, this 1.6 liter should provide decent performance. We were never able to determine the weight savings of the Superleggera bodywork so we are not sure what to expect. All we know is that Sunbeam should have had Shelby shove a V8 in there while he was working on the Tiger. Then we bet everyone would know of the Venezia!


The leather seats and prestigious Superleggera badge on the trunk should help make up for any feelings of incompetence you may have about the drivetrain. Unfortunately, these features weren’t enough to convince consumers of the high purchase price so very few were ever produced. We featured one a while back, but have never seen another. Sources claim that 143 were built and only 26 are known to survive. Could this be number 27?


This one is going to need a complete restoration and it is going to cost a whole lot more than its humble origins would suggest. The mechanical bits shouldn’t cause any worry, but that body could require some major reconstructive surgery. It is going to take a lot to put right, but can feel good knowing you saved an important piece of British-Italian automotive history.


  1. Go Cart Mozart

    That is so cool, somebody must save this.

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  2. sunbeamdon

    An interesting find; as a Sunbeam owner starting in 1960, I’d never heard of this version. Looks like a lot of early Alpine Root(e)s in this one, if this car was in North America, it would be worth a long second look.

    Like 1
  3. scottski

    As a kid, I found an “Imported Cars Buyers Guide”. This was 60s America.
    French cars went to the absurdist/angular extreme… but, British cars shone for the most beguiling grillework. Not always pretty, mind you… but, you always knew which manufacturer was which.
    I once saw an Aston Martin Superleggera. Mercy.

    I am fascinated to know why they took on the Sunbeam.
    I kinda really like it.
    Posh, bizarre and quick, all at once.

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  4. Jamie Wallhauser

    Fascinating car, but gawd it’s awkward. It should be saved and it will be expensive to fix but whoever buys this semi-exotic must really love Sunbeam/Rootes.

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  5. paul

    A Superleggerra Sunbeam, who ever would have thought. I knew a guy with a Gia body Alfa Romeo equally as odd but his Alfa was a 100 point show car.

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  6. Horse Radish

    Looks like the car is repelling the green paintwork.

    Other than that, it’s a rare $4500 project at this point, no reserve to meet.
    The car actually sits in Germany which might make shipping to the US easier and cheaper

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  7. rancho bella

    Usually a car looks better in the front and gets worse in the back. Example, new/er Ford Mustangs ugh). But, this has a better back end and lord, I do not have a clue what happened up front.

    Reminds me of a girl in high school I knew. She always looked better walking away but when approaching?……a little tough on the eyes.

    I am a Rootes fan but ……..other than rare…….this is not their finest hour.

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  8. sunbeamdon

    My resto theory with this car – clear coat the exterior, redo the interior – show the car as a “survivor”!

    I’m still thinking about it; anybody got a guess of cost to slow-boat haul from Germany to Seattle?

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    • paul

      The US Gran Prix in Austin Texas is just before Thanksgiving sneak it on the transport planes used to bring the F1 cars here, crate it, mark it McLaren toolbox’s & be there with a flat bed trailer on the back of a dually pickup when they hall the stuff off the planes. Should cost 0.

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      • rancho bella

        Paul…………..you sly fox………

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    • rancho bella


      I reckon 3K +/-, plus import duty and importer fees and docs. it has to be cheaper than the Sunbeam Tiger I sent to Australia. That poor guy paid $8K on top of the price of the car.

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  9. Dolphin Member

    Definitely worth saving, especially if it’s #27, which I hope it is.

    But…another unfortunate 4-headlight front end. I could be wrong, but I believe the little hoods over the outer lights are original.

    The upside is, the person who saves it will be the centre of attention at any Sunbeam meet he attends with the car.

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    • Jamie Wallhauser

      You know I’ve been thinking about this car since my previous post — although it’s dreadfully unattractive in current or restored condition it would be of great interest to any and all auction houses/concours shows, including mine owing to its rarity. And dare I say, oddity.

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  10. sunbeamdon

    Rancho Bella:
    I think you are right on cost to ship; I going to check-in with the local Northwesterner who successfully water shipped from Italy to Tacoma, WA for his cost/experience.

    Was the Tiger you shipped to Australia ultimately converted to rt hand drive (light silver/blue – beautifully restored)? If so, its been “for sale” three or more times on Ebay with a buy it now scam, the posting lasts until somebody gives them an email address (or until Norm Miller complains to Ebay). The too good to be true cliche is most appropriate – the car was offered to me for $16,000.00 – CAVEAT EMPTOR!

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    • rancho bella

      the one I sold was a left hand steer. It came from right up the road in Hollywood CA. . It was a garage find to the max and popcorn fart dry, sitting for 20 years and as original as I have ever seen. Red/black and now resides in Melbourne with a fanatic on originality……….bless his heart. Norm had verified every number for me so I knew it was the real McCoy.

      I do like the Sunbeam…..although a little on the odd looking side but gee……something to behold.

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  11. sunbeamdon

    Interesting – per Norm, the silver/blue version was converted in Australia to Rt Hand drive – I recall the Norm thought it was being offered for sale there at north of $80k

    By the way, I’m been on hold with the IRS on behalf of client for 45 min. Ain’t no efficiency there!

    Like 0

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