Baby Baracuda: 1969 Sunbeam Alpine GT

When production of the Sunbeam Alpine Convertible ended in 1968, many people thought that it was the end of the line for the famous name. However, it was a mere 12-months later that the Sunbeam Alpine badges again appeared, this time on a 2-door fastback. This version of the Alpine remained in production from 1969 through until 1975, although it is generally less widely recognized than its predecessor. Barn Finder Rocco B spotted this particular 1969 model Alpine GT for us, so thank you so much for that Rocco. Located in Asheboro, North Carolina, it is listed for sale here at Hemmings. The sale price for the Alpine has been set at $18,500 OBO.

The styling of the Alpine GT is quite interesting, and it brings to mind a shrunken version of the first Plymouth Barracuda. I don’t see this as a bad thing, because that’s a car that I have a soft spot for. The big difference is that the rear glass on the Alpine is not as complex as that of the Barracuda, which would be a bit of a blessing from a cost perspective. The body of the Alpine seems to be in good condition, with no obvious signs of rust or major body damage. The paint looks quite good, as does the trim and chrome. The biggest bugbear from my perspective is the wheels, which should be sporting full covers. These are missing, and give the car an untidy look. Also missing are the rubber-capped bumper over-riders, along with the brushed aluminum rocker moldings. Also, the B-Pillars should be finished in black vinyl, rather than body color. As we will see, there are a few other aspects of the car that are similar, and while none of these are extreme issues, it would be nice to address them to bring the car’s presentation up to scratch.

For the owner seeking perfection, there’s plenty of detail work to undertake to bring the interior up to scratch. The seats look like they’re okay, but I’ve noticed damage to the door trims, and these will probably need new covers. The biggest issue is the dash, which really lets the side down. Starting at the top, the material on the dash pad isn’t correct and has a sagging and wrinkled look to it. The tachometer also isn’t correct, and the steering wheel isn’t original. The dash itself is the greatest disappointment. This should be a lovely expanse of glossy burled walnut, which this most definitely isn’t. That is something that I would look at addressing to bring it back to its original glory. I have found a couple of companies that do offer reproduction timber trim, and this would address the dash issue, along with a similar issue with the floor console. Many of the switches on the dash are also incorrect, but this could also be fixed at the same time.

Under the hood of the Alpine is the little 1,725cc 4-cylinder engine. This pumps out 94hp, which finds its way to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. A 3-speed automatic was also available as an option, but there wasn’t a huge call for these. It is under the hood where things look up for the Alpine, with my only criticisms being the fact that the car isn’t fitted with its original air cleaner and the fact that some of the wiring is untidy. Otherwise, the owner has put some time and effort into the mechanical components of the car. This has included the recent fitting of new disc brakes, a new clutch, and a new carburetor. The Alpine has also received a new starter, tires, battery, and a new blower motor. All of this should ensure that the Alpine runs well and reliably, giving the new owner plenty of peace of mind.

It may seem that I have been a bit harsh in my criticism of this little Alpine GT, but if you look at what I’ve said, none of the problems are beyond being rectified. The most expensive item will be the replacement timber and pad for the dash, but the important fact with this car is that it’s a relatively rare little car that is ready to be driven and enjoyed as it is. Everything else is just details that can be addressed at the new owner’s leisure.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    I suppose they can ask whatever they want for the only one in existence. I actually remember several of these, sold by Chrysler dealers, I think, only because it did look like a mini Barracuda. Coincidence? People found out, it was no Barracuda, and probably did more harm than good for the marque.

  2. Shawn Fox Firth

    FCA just released pricing on the Hellcat crate motor $29.900 . ..Back half and Drop one in .

  3. U.K. Paul 🇬🇧

    Proportions are all wrong?

    • Scott Marquis

      Looks like two different cars, one above the belt line, and another below. That could be visually interesting, but … it’s not.

    • Dan RIchardson

      The first picture on the ’69 GT ALpine does not do the vehicle justice…… It actulally creates a disporpotion in that particular view.

      DanR

  4. TimM

    I bet it would be a blast to drive and it’s in great shape for a sunbeam!!! And if the motor ever let loose it looks like enough room for an LS in this one too!!!

    • Dan Richardson

      2.8 V6 Ford(Cologne) with Late Ford Mustang T5, Electric Power steering and A/C will do the trick:)

  5. Sheldon Renaissance Kirschbaum

    We owned two new ones. A blue 1969 GT and a red 1970. The stromberg carburetors required a lot of adjustments but the Sunbeams would fly along the Long Island Expressway at a steady 100 mph. The 1970 was stolen in NYC and the 1969 was then sold. The hydraulic clutch seals would leak and the strombergs in the ‘69 were rebuilt by me (terribly) every few months. The fuel tank held 18 gallons with led to many long trips.

    • Dan Richardson

      100 miles per hour? You must be kidding! Or were you drafting on some big Semi:)

      • Sheldon Renaissance Kirschbaum

        I had the same problems with guys at work in the 1970’s about the Sunbeam cruising at 100 mph and not kph. The undisputed prove was the speeding ticket I had gotten for doing 95mph. The Trooper said at 100 and over I would lose my license.

  6. macvaugh

    I missed out on this one, by minutes, when you folks posted it a few years back. Same colors, wonder if it is the same car? https://barnfinds.com/2800-fastback-1969-sunbeam-alpine-gt/

  7. Derek

    Regarding the B-pillar (C-pillar?) paint/vinyl thing; the Alpine was the basic model and the Rapier was the better-equipped one which had the vinyl-covered pillars.

    It’s basically a fastback Hunter, so any engine available to Rootes products should fit.

    Good-looking car, but not 18 large.

    • RNR

      As a lifelong MoPar fan, I rememder these new, but didn’t recall the front end’s resemblance to its larger British American contemporary, the Jensen Interceptor.

  8. Derek

    Oh, and I also notice that you can’t spell Baccaruda…

    …ba ba ra ra cu cu da da…

  9. Steve Bush

    Agree proportions are somewhat off. Too much rear overhang/too short wheelbase. Also rear bumper wraps around way too much. A red 1970 model with automatic and 69k in somewhat better shape sold for $5200 on BAT last year.

  10. dweezilaz

    There is no B pillar. This is a hardtop fastback. There are no B pillars used in hardtops. That’s what makes them hard tops.

    It’s a nice car but for $18,000……it needs to be perfect, hubcaps included.

    Though without, the wheels look like tres moderne black chrome $1000 each items. {like $400 “work jeans”}. Not. Looks trashy without hubcaps [and so do black wheels].

  11. Ian

    They are highly valued here in the UK these days-esp in Rapier and the rare H120 form. Strong reliable underpinnings ( Rootes Arrow range) and a dab of 70s style suited at the time. Check Wikipedia for the story !

  12. sidedraught

    Needs bigger wheels.

    • DanR Richardson

      Now that is begining to look like a real vehicle! Like those wheels too:)

    • RootesRooter

      Wow! How far back did they move the rear axle?

  13. Mark P.

    I remember in the early eighties my grandfather had one, but it was badged as a Plymouth Cricket and was trying to sell it. When I looked it over I noticed the Rootes emblem in the center of the steering wheel. The 1725 engine with Strombergs looked vary familiar, since I had a 66 and 67 Alpines. I drove it and was not impressed especially with the auto trans. Luckily he was able to sell it shortly afterwards. Good luck to any buyers.

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