Affordable British Project: 1967 Sunbeam Alpine

Choosing the right car as a project candidate can be a battle. Buyers need to balance what they can afford against what they are capable of restoring. That’s where cars like this 1967 Sunbeam Alpine fit into the equation. It is essentially complete, its rust problems appear minor, and it is one of the most affordable classic British sports car projects you will find in the current market. The seller listed it here on Craigslist in Sonoma, California, with a price of $2,500 OBO. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Gunter K for spotting this promising project.

Sunbeam introduced the Alpine Series I in 1959, with the model undergoing four updates before production ended in 1968. Our feature car is a Series V, with the most notable upgrade from its predecessors being a larger and more powerful engine. Stylistically, it was “business as usual” for the Series V. Its two-seat roadster body features clean lines that have aged quite well. Although it isn’t explicitly stated, it appears this Signal Red beauty spent most of its life in California. That is good news for potential buyers because it has limited its rust issues. The floors, frame, and trunk pan are rock-solid. The only rust of any consequence is primarily confined to the passenger side. It includes a small spot behind the front wheel arch, an area in the rocker, and another small area forward of the rear wheel arch. There is another spot in the driver’s side front fender that shouldn’t cause much grief. The problems are insignificant, and simple patches would eliminate them. There are no significant panel imperfections, but a fair shopping list of parts is required to add the finishing touches. The soft-top looks brittle, meaning the buyer needs to spend $400 on a replacement. One taillight is damaged, while the grille and both headlamp surrounds are missing. Reproduction trim is available, but patiently scouring online auction sites may produce positive results at a fraction of the cost. Potentially one of the more expensive items could revolve around the wire wheels. They have visible corrosion, and an inspection is warranted to ensure they are safe. That process and restoration will cost money, so sourcing a set of replacement 13″ wheels for $1,200 might be a better strategy. However, if the new owner is on a strict budget, a set of Minilites wouldn’t look out of place at half the price.

One aspect of this British classic requiring plenty of love is its interior. It appears essentially complete, although the speedometer might be missing since it isn’t visible in the supplied photos. It is another case where while reproductions are available, sometimes genuine parts appear online. A quick search of one auction site uncovered a NOS item with 17 “tested” miles on its odometer. At $150, that is a bargain. An interior trim kit with the correct materials and patterns would make a huge difference, costing around $1,500. There may be a few small items requiring restoration or replacement, but the expense would seem justified when we confront the subject of this car’s potential value.

As with many of its British counterparts, The ’67 Alpine is a small drop-top with a drivetrain offering modest power and performance. New for the Series V model was an upgraded four-cylinder engine. With a capacity of 1,726cc and an output of 99hp, it provides a significant boost over the superseded 1,592cc units 80hp. The power fed the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission, although an optional overdrive improved open-road touring. The Alpine could wind its way to 100mph, but it was comfortable cruising at highway speeds. The seller indicates the engine runs, but it is unclear whether the car drives. If the motor is healthy, it may only require essential maintenance to return this classic to a mechanically roadworthy state. For those unconcerned about originality, squeezing extra power from these motors is not difficult or expensive. Planing the cylinder head, slipping in a more aggressive camshaft, and swapping to a sidedraft Weber carburetor can make a significant difference, as can fitting headers and a better exhaust. We’re not discussing creating a firebreathing monster, but unleashing an additional 15-20hp is achievable. That doesn’t sound like much, but it represents a 20% improvement, which isn’t to be sneezed at.

I’ve always had a soft spot for classic British sports cars because they offer a rewarding driving experience. The engineering is generally elegantly simple, making them an ideal candidate for a DIY restoration, while ongoing maintenance tends to be straightforward. Fully restored to a high standard, this car could command a value of nearly $30,000. A quick wander around the internet unearthed a few project candidates, but even the cheapest was twice the asking price of this car. If you want to make a classic British sports car part of your life, maybe it is worth pursuing this one further.

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Webers don’t get you more horse power but higher compression, light flywheel, balanced engine parts, a good street cam plus larger SU Carbs will. Good price, good project.

    Like 5
  2. Slomoogee

    This Alpine does indeed look to be a worthwhile project that could come together for a minimal outlay. In addition to the minilights, let’s add a hardtop, a overdrive, and have a usable all season fun mobile.

  3. junkman Member

    Posted 26 days ago, if it wasn’t 3000 miles away I would be there with cash and it would be mine. Never find’em this good on the east coast.

    Like 1
  4. Brad F

    I’m restoring an Alpine just like this. It’s been in the family for 15 years. It’s in Maine so rust is the majority of the work involved.
    I had one as my first car. I love the Alpine!!

  5. Steve

    I had a 67′ Alpine. A friend had a 1960 while I was in the service. Fell in love with it, so when I got out of uncle Sams army in 68′ I found one and bought it. The only issue I had with it was it had a carbon faced throw out bearing. I replaced that thing about every six months or so. Drove me nuts. That and balancing the two SU carbs!!

  6. 914Shifter Member

    I have had 2 Sumbeam Alpines, followed by just about every other British convertible and many other European sports cars. I still maintain that the Alpine (mine were 67’s, too) has the most comfortable bucket seats, easy assist brakes, responsive steering, and the first British sports car to offer roll=up windows in place of side curtains. Very fun car and comfortable to drive, great value for the money!!

    Like 2

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