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Glamour Shots: 1963 Sunbeam Alpine

1963 Sunbeam Alpine

It really is amazing what quality photos can do for an old barn find! This Alpine wouldn’t look nearly as appealing if the photos had been taken on a side street in the middle of the day with a cheap camera. The photos make this beat up old Brit look awesome, even with all the problems. Granted, even without the glamour shots, there are a lot of people that would like to have this Sunbeam to build into a Tiger clone. If you haven’t heard of the Tiger, it’s the poor man’s Shelby Cobra. This car is going to need work, but hopefully it can be made into a driver fairly easily. Of course, if you are going to swap a 260 or 289 V8 into it, all you need is a solid chassis to start with. If you have big plans for this Alpine or simply want to take a closer look at the amazing photos, you can find it here on eBay in Portland, Oregon with a current bid of $200.


  1. Dolphin Member

    The underside is dry, and I can believe that this car lived its life on the high inland desert of Washington state, but it needs everything. After you buy the car for the undisclosed reserve price from this dealer, and then spend $20K to make it look good again you will have a car worth $15K according to recent auction prices paid. And that value has dropped by 11% over the last while according to the SCM Guide, maybe because they made almost 70,000 Alpines.

    I can’t see this deal working out unfortunately.

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    • rdc

      Seems logical. Often wondered about these cars modified with a small v8 even more modern 4.

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    • Cody

      What deal? Seems like it could be pretty fun driver the way it is, probably for a lot less than 20K. It does not always have to be about profit.

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    • Dolphin Member

      Cody, who said anything about buying this Alpine needing to be about making a profit?

      What I said was that I didn’t think someone could buy this car for the reserve or higher (and we still don’t know what the reserve is–it could be $8 or $10K for all I know) and then restore it back to looking good and running well for anything near the value of the car. A large part of that is the large amount of body work that’s required, plus a good paint job. Budget at least $10K for that. Then go through every system in the car, fix or replace all kinds of things, interior, etc, etc.

      As a guide to anyone who might want to do any calculations on this car, I mentioned the median price actually paid at auctions recently for these Alpines, according to the SCM Guide, which is about $15K—-and falling, according to the SCM guys who keep track of these things.

      I think someone who buys this car and restores it back to looking good and driving well would be way underwater after all that work and spending, mainly for the reasons that JW454, John K, and others have said below.

      No, obviously it doesn’t have to always be about profit. But I don’t want to spend twice or more what a car is worth, plus a lot of my time, work, and organizational energy restoring a car that’s going to be worth a fraction of what I have in it even if I pay myself $0.00 for my own work and the shop supplies that I consumed.

      The car is far too rough, needs too much work of all kinds, plus body work and paint, plus all the other stuff that always goes into a restoration to make this deal work.

      “Deal” here meaning buying the car and then restoring it without being seriously underwater.

      As usual, and as I have said on here dozens of times already about all kinds of rough cars, it would be wiser to buy the best car you can afford and go from there, even it the purchase price is higher than whatever the reserve is on this Alpine, IMHO. Your opinion might differ.

      And if you think this would be a fun driver like it is well….good luck to you.

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  2. JW454

    I think the dramatic lighting effect makes this car look better than it really is. Out in natural light this thing is going to look much rougher IMO.
    Also, I sure wouldn’t want to work with the person who was setting the arms on the lift to take the underside shots. You may end up looking like a road pizza pretty quick.

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    • John K

      The lighting makes for nice, artsy shots, but I am concerned that it’s also concealing just how rough this car is. Trying too hard, you might say.

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  3. John T

    It’s just like match.com or e-harmony. His/her picture looks great, then you meet them in person…….

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  4. RayT Member

    Turning an Alpine into a Tiger is not just a matter of throwing a 260 (or 289) V8 into the engine bay. The late Ken Miles did exactly that at Bill Rootes’s request, and the result was, to put it mildly, not a saleable item. Carroll Shelby’s men spent many hours getting the Tiger right, and the result required a fair amount of metal-bending, cutting, redesigning and general fussing.

    All that considered, you’d have to want this as an Alpine, and that’s a bit chancy investment-wise. Lots and lots of work that, as Dolphin says, would not look right in the cost versus value ledger. Even if the current bid took it, you’d be looking at an investment well into five-figures unless you’ve got all the restoration skills, tools and the time to spend (lots!) putting them to use.

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  5. Rando

    Well, we can’t complain about the pictures…that seller has a lot of nice cars with great photography. High end stuff

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  6. bradshaw

    My alpine was a lovely balanced car to toss about (trailing brake was perfect on it) the 1594 engine pulled nicely up to 100 and was sweet to run. The two big one bbls over carbed it, so it could bog off the line, but it never ran out of power in higher revs especially with the tuned headers from the factory.
    one of the neatest tricks was using the emergency crank from the trunk to crank start it at the gas station. Lots of comments!!! Big enough cockpit could sleep in it if i had to.
    Top folded away behind the steel doors totally concealing it. as a rugged driver……yeah….later put a NAP-Z engine and 5 speed in it.

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  7. hhaleblian

    Had a perfect Tiger for 14 years. Great spring and fall car. Could roast a pig to perfection in the summer from all the heat off the engine. I felt the car was ill handling and then there’s the whole Lucas thing. But let off the throttle at 6g’s and the symphony off those supertrapps almost made it worth keeping.

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  8. LD

    Forget Tiger conversion, sold my 63Alpine 13 months ago for $2900, way better than this one at $2200 not yet at reserve. Fun car that we enjoyed for many years, find one for $3k, mild restoration and don’t try to make it more, enjoy! LD71 :D

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