EXCLUSIVE: 1966 Sunbeam Alpine V6 Swap

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

Seller Description: Very rust free car, most of the body work is done, new windshield, new convertible top, new seat covers, new wiring plus a hardtop. Registered in Massachusetts. It runs and drives very well. It’s equipped with a rebuilt Chevy 2.8 V6 with a 4 speed auto, B+M shifter, Dana 44 with 3.08 gears. Needs finishing touches or drive it like it is. Delivery is possible.

When it comes to Sunbeam Alpines and engine swaps, most people go for installing a Ford V8. I get the appeal of having a V8, but this V6 seems like a better option to me. It might not be as powerful, but it doesn’t look nearly as cramped and it’s still a performance upgrade over the Alpine’s 1.7 liter. Phil doesn’t say what this V6 came out of, but it was used in a number of vehicles, including the Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. So, it could have anywhere from 102 to 130 horsepower, possibly more if there are any upgrades installed.

Once the paint work is done, this little Alpine should prove to be a nice driver. While I would be inclined to leave the V6 alone, the fact that it already has had the engine swapped, means it would be a good candidate to be turned into a Tiger clone. If you’ve been looking for an Alpine to convert into a Tiger or like the idea of having a V6 powered Alpine, be sure to message Phil via the from below! Our thanks to Phil for listing it with us. If you have a classic parked in your garage, barn or shed that needs a new home, please consider listing it here on Barn Finds.

Location: Essex, Massachusetts
Title Status: Clean
VIN: B395014734
Asking Price: $13,000

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  1. Tony

    A V6 in a Sunbeam? Had me at V6 the kind of lost me when it was just a 2.8 I’d much rather seen a 4.3 with a 5-speed yanked from an S10. The 4.3 has much better aftermarket parts than the 2.8. Nicely done though!

    • Doug

      The great thing about the 2.8 – 3.4 ( 60 degree ) V6 over the 4.3 is that a 60 degree V6 is inherently in balance, where the 90 degree 4.3 is inherently unbalanced and vibrates like Hell…… The advantage of the V6 over the 4 cyl
      is increased torque at not much added weight, so better handling than a V8.
      Torque is what gets you off the corner, HP only counts for increased top end…

      ( My GT 750 Suzuki 110 hp sidecar used to drive guys with 125-135- hp Kawasaki 1000s nuts on road courses, because the massive torque would
      get us off the corner quicker, and by the time they caught us, we were in another corner! )

  2. Scott

    Okay, stock the Alpine had 80-90 hp depending on the motor. Tiger had 160 – 240 ( dealer installed upgrades). I can see the value of the effort.

    Going from the stock inline 4 to a V6 for a few extra hp doesn’t seem right. also the Tigers had several modifications.

    All that said the Alpines have a little more room inside and are more comfortable than the same era triumph or MG.

  3. Francisco

    Those pipes have got to go.

  4. Steve R

    A Lokar shifter would make it look like a manual transmission at first glance. That would be a worthy upgrade.

    Steve R

  5. Howard A Member

    I agree with Scott, I’d have to think the stock motor ( or any British 4 cylinder) would do just fine in this car. I’ve had good and bad 2.8’s, but why not just do a 4.3, if you’re going that route, a much better engine, I thought. I’ve always felt the V-8 was too much for this car, and a V-6 would be better. I’ve had great luck with British 4 cylinders. Still, I bet this car is fun to drive. I like the “weed burner” pipes. Bet it sounds nice.

    • Sam

      Agree…a 4.3 would have been nice. Still alot of fun…add some bigger tires and mini-lite rims. I just came back from a week in Door County working on the family cottage.

  6. JimmyJ

    My dad and i often talk about getting an alpine and putting a 3 litre all aluminum v6 in it out of a mazda 6 motor by ford nice and light 220 horse stock 5 speed of course
    Cant afford a tiger i think it would handle and perform better
    Hey maybe an sho motor?
    By comparison way better than a big heavy chevy v6

  7. junkman Member

    The 4.3 is much wider that the 2.8 plus the rear distributor is a pain at the firewall.I know this car and the seller he did a competent job with his swap he just ran out of steam on the finish.Sometimes life gets in the way of our toys. Good Luck with the sale Phil.

  8. Don H

    The 4.3 is no smaller then a 350 block is the same size ,just with to cylinders plugged up , Wikipedia

  9. ROTAG999

    The 4.3 has 2 cylinders cut off not plugged up.

  10. Pappy2d

    Just guessing here… I’d guess a 4.3 is about 25% shorter than a 350.

  11. Joe Haska

    I thought east coast cars only had square roll bars!

  12. Peter K

    $13k OBO? He’s got to be kidding. The 2.8 may only be marginal and I have to agree with the above posters that the 4.3 from an S10 would have been a better choice or for that matter a small block V8. Those side pipes have got to go and at least primer it in all one color.

  13. Mike Williams

    I once saw one with a Thunderbird 2.3 Turbo that I really liked, having a SVO at home. Makes a nice neat package with 200 hp.

  14. Doug

    If you take a look at the BritishV8.org forums, there is a lot of support for the Chevy 2.8 – 3.4 60 degree V6, especially with the MG crowd. Very little aftermarket stuff for the Mazda/Ford 3.0 or 4.0 V6. I guess you could run the factory injection, but nobody as far as I am aware makes an intake for them, so a carb would be a hassle. I was originally looking at the Ford V6 for my 1958 Volvo PV444, but after a lot of research, decided on the Camaro 3.4 Got a nice set of headers from Classic Conversions in SoCal.( 402-935-7733 ) , and since she’s gonna be a ” touring car ” hot rod, I’m going with a 4l60E trans to
    save myself from left leg “clutch cramps ” during cruise nights and when stuck in traffic near Laguna Seca and Sears Point…… One can find a decent 93-95 V6 Camaro or Firebird for less than $2K , use it for a donor car, and sell the
    rolling chassis to someone who wants to put an LS in it to recoup most of what was paid for the car in the first place.


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