Stored For 37 Years! Sunbeam Alpine

Every so often, we are presented with a barn find that makes us think and wonder what the previous owners were thinking, and this little British coupe is one of those. It’s up for bids here on eBay out of Norfolk, Connecticut and is only at $500 at the time of publication.

The original Alpines were derived from the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 sedan in the early ’50s, and must not have sold well, because they were halted in 1955, redesigned over Hillman platforms, and put back on the market from 1959 to 1968, in the form we see here.

According to my research, the famous (or infamous, depending upon your opinion) Rootes Group made the Loewy-designed convertibles, while Thomas Harrington Ltd. produced coupes. The redesigned Alpines had four-cylinder engines between 1.4 and 1.8-liter displacement, had the option of an automatic or standard gearbox and put out between 80 and 100 horsepower. You could even have an Overdrive if you wanted!

Okay, so, let’s look at this one in front of us. It’s definitely seen better days, and the seller tells us that someone replaced the original drivetrain with Ford Pinto gear. We’re also told that it’s a 1965, however, I checked with Sunbeam Specialties, Inc and found out that the chassis number on the French plate points to a foreign-market Series 2, with something non-standard installed, and that would have been produced between 1960 and 1963. Could just be a typo, for all I know. Either way, this car is in a bad way but might not be too far gone.

I remember these cars from Get Smart, however, a quick search uncovered that Alpines and Tigers have been used in multiple films and television productions, not least of which being 007 James Bond himself in the 1962 film Dr. No. I’ve always liked these, and if I had the means to acquire and restore one, I definitely would! What about you, would you want one of these? Let us know in the comments!


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  1. Chillywind

    Pinto drivetrain! How much power did these make?
    fun car.

    Like 1
    • Will Fox

      ….not enough to get out of its own way.

      Like 1
    • Stilbo

      The 1st generation Pinto Engine was the 2.0 liter Cologne Germany built engine with a high nickel content iron block for high speed Autobahn use. If this Sunbeam is a 2.0 Pinto swap it will easily put out 150 + HP with minor upgrades. I’ve built a few 2.0 Formula Ford Racing engines that produced north of 240 net HP. Even a stock 2.0/2.3 Pinto engine in this lightweight Sunbeam would produce twice the HP and torque of the stock engine and would haul ass..
      I’ve also done a few Esslinger Engineering modified Ford 2.0 swaps into Karmann-Ghias and those were quick little sleepers.
      Now I’m going to read on to find the SBC swap comment.

      Like 3
      • John T

        The roundy-round boys used to buzz their bulit 2.0s in circle track heats to just North of 9grand. Pinto mtr is a real good place to start. AND it is already in place. Win win!!

    • Chinga Trailer

      Coupe?? This convertible is a coupe? Really?

  2. Bultaco

    Depending on rust issues, it might be a perfect candidate for a modern drivetrain swap. Maybe Miata or Honda S2000?

    Like 1
  3. Ralph

    What we have here is like a reverse Tiger……could this Pinto 4 and automatic Sunbeam be called a Kitty?

    Kitty Litter maybe?

    Like 2
  4. ReyDelMundo

    They shoot horses, don’t they?

  5. jimmy the orphan

    Another pile that nobody cared about for xyz years. Its not a tiger but that would just raise the $ and it would still be a pile. The price however is right. If you can get this thing for under a grand still a huge project. Be brave…………..JIMMY

    Like 3
    • Glenn Schwass Member

      All that work for a Pinto 4 banger and an Automatic. At least a 4 spd would be a little fun. It needs a turbo, v8 or whatever to get it moving..could be a fun project either way…

      Like 1
  6. Mark Farner

    would be a nice project if not so far away.

  7. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Russell, this may be a 1965 as registered; my 1961 Midget was registered as a 1963 because it sat in a storage area a ways from the SF docks where it was brought in for a year after being shipped in late 1961!
    DMV’s did things a little differently back then, I’m told.

    Like 2
  8. steve

    I am currently going through a 67 Alpine, not as a restoration, but rather as a car to drive. Be aware that you better be up on your mechanical skills to deal with these. The earlier cars, like this one, are different enough (lever action shocks etc) that you might run out of money or drive need to finish it. For me it is a series V car (66-68) or nothing. I have 3 cars in the HOPE of having almost enough to make 2 drivable cars…

    Like 2
    • Bob

      1959-up Alpines never had lever shocks and the last year was 1967. This style had to be completely re-engineered to meet 1968 bumper regs.

  9. AL.B.

    I used to swap 215 Buick+olds i still have a few 315 # running!Always wanted an alpine to do ,but now I’m old-

    Like 2
  10. Glenn Schwass Member

    All that work for a Pinto 4 banger and an Automatic. At least a 4 spd would be a little fun. It needs a turbo, v8 or whatever to get it moving..could be a fun project either way…

  11. Bill

    Back in 1972, Merritt Island Florida, a guy that worked for Cessna in Vero Beach would come by our McDonalds hangout with his Sunbeam Tiger that had a 289 V8 if my memory serves me correctly, that little thing would leave rubber from stop sign 2 stop sign. Fun times my friend s, fun times

    Like 2

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