Donor Car: 1961 Sunbeam Alpine Series II

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Sellers willing to admit that the heap of metal they want to offload is a parts car are a refreshing shift from owners who tell us their pile of rust is worth a boatload of bucks (see: Bronco, Charger – previously featured). Too, recycling parts to enthusiasts for reuse into better quality projects is worthy of sainthood in these days of sky-high prices. That’s why this eBay listing featuring a 1961 Sunbeam Alpine parts car merits some space and attention in Barn Finds. The asking price is just $1900. You’ll need to tow it away from Napoleon, Ohio. The car has a bill of sale only.

The seller indicates that the car “ran when parked” in the 1980s. I suspect the brakes are frozen because we’re advised the car will need to be winched onto a trailer. Looks like someone started a Tiger or hot rod conversion by adding a scoop to the bonnet. I don’t like seeing the valence and bumper support smashed into the grille, but hey, it is a parts car. The car has also disgorged piles of dirt and rust, now littering the trailer, telling me there’s plenty of corrosion going on. The seller confirms this suspicion, saying the frame is rotted. Otherwise, the car is “pretty complete”.

The hardtop can probably be salvaged though a buyer will need the back window and rubber seals. Several of the body panels look somewhat promising. Wheels are generally stout enough to survive plenty of abuse, and I see bumpers and good glass too. It’s too bad we aren’t given interior photos – I’d like to know what the gauge, seat, and fittings situation is here. These early Alpines have attractive stand-up fins, which were toned down considerably by the time the Series IV hit the roads in 1964.

On the other hand, early Alpines utilized the 1592 cc in-line four-cylinder rather than the larger Series V motor. The difference of 12 bhp was significant, but the earlier cars still managed a top speed of 99 mph. The four-speed manual transmission could be optioned with overdrive. Plenty of Alpines wound up as Tigers – in fact, more “Tigers” exist than were ever made. This one could be a donor to the resurrection of a real or replica Tiger, or simply to augment an Alpine project. A really ambitious restorer might source a frame and put the entire car back together, but the scope of that project gives me heart palpitations. What do you think is the best use for this one?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. mike

    Refreshing to see an honest seller.Possible good parts car

    Like 4
  2. shelbyGT500Member

    Pond Finds.

    Like 1
  3. Frog Man

    Back in mid 70s i worked as a lifeguard the owner of the pool had one of these in about similar shape, i used to tinker with it never could get it to run but used to dream about it, It was green. I turned my attention to a 65 ford truck that i did get running and ultimately purchased.

    Like 0
  4. bone

    The flipper probably damaged the front while dragging it out of wherever it was sitting with a tow chain .. He probably got it for free anyway ….

    Like 1
  5. BobinBexley Bob in BexleyMember

    Like that hardtop ! Nice accessory find !

    Like 0
  6. Backintheusa

    “Plenty of Alpines wound up as Tigers – in fact, more “Tigers” exist than were ever made.”

    There is no question that there are fake Tigers out there, but that is a pretty specific statement. Do you have a source for it? Putting a V8 into an Alpine, let alone trying to pass it off as a Tiger, is a major undertaking that is far beyond even a skilled backyard mechanic. Creating one that can be passed off as a Tiger requires a donor Tiger, which by default means that the number of fake Tigers can never be greater than the number of actual Tigers made.

    As for this car, it is a Series II and I don’t see $1900 worth of value there. The hardtop is aluminum and definitely worth saving but the rear window to complete it is very hard to come by. I suppose some of the sheet metal could be salvaged to repair accident damage on another car, but that damage would have to be high up, since anything lower is likely to be too far gone. Someone may need a parts car enough to buy it at that price, but I suspect not.

    Like 1
  7. steve

    Let’s stop with “the frame” comments. These were all unibody construction. Knowing they were building an open-topped car, the engineers went nuts on the floor and rocker structure. Although sheet metal, the bottom of the Alpines owe more to railroad bridge design than to automotive norms. That is the main reason they were (almost) stiff enough to allow the installation of the V8 for the Tiger. Rusted “frame” means no structure. I can believe that removal of the hardtop will make opening the doors very difficult as the car folds in half.

    Like 0
    • luckless pedestrian

      Yes, the Alpine was a unibody design… however the structure under the floor is often referred to – even by parts dealers and Sunbeam fans – as the “X Frame”… Just say’n…

      Like 0
      • steve

        Any car that was good enough for you to be able to cut out the X-structure (12 million spot welds?) would be restorable. There isn’t going to be a “sourcing” of that area of the car.

        Like 0
  8. Mark

    Looks like in Napoleon this thing met its Waterloo….

    Like 0

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