2017 Shannons Melbourne Summer Classic Auction featuring the 'Ian Cummins Collection'
1954 Sunbeam Alpine Roadster - From the 'Ian Cummins Collection'
|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 2267cc|
|Gearbox||5-speed manual (see text)|
This lot is no longer available
Based on the running gear of the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 and badged after Rootes’ success in the rallies of the same name, the Alpine was launched in March 1953 and went on to enjoy a long and successful competition career in its own right. Forever linked to Grace Kelly in the 1954 Hitchcock classic “To Catch a Thief” filmed on the French Riviera and styled by the Loewy studios in South Bend, Indiana – an indication of the Alpine’s intended market – the new Sunbeam’s attractive two-seater coachwork was crafted by Mulliners of Birmingham using a chassis reinforced for additional structural rigidity. The engine was a more powerful version of the Rootes’ pushrod in-line four cylinder unit, displacing 2267cc and developing 80 horsepower at 4200rpm thanks to a Stromberg DAA36 carburettor, modified cylinder head and better breathing. The gearbox was a fashionable column-change four-speed unit (with closer ratios and the option of overdrive), steering was via a worm and nut system and braking handled by uprated drums all round. Boasting a Lucas high-voltage sports coil and a special exhaust, the Alpine was capable of reaching a maximum speed of 95mph, with 0-60mph taking 18.9 seconds. Sunbeam launched the new model at the Jabbeke motorway in Belgium, a specially prepared example reaching 120.125mph over the flying kilometre and the Alpine went on to enjoy a long and successful career in motor sport in the hands of many notable drivers including Stirling Moss, scoring back-to-back outright victories in its namesake rally in 1953 and 1954. Production was short lived, with Sunbeam building only 3,000 or so Alpines before the model was dropped in 1955 and this rarity, combined with film star looks and usability have kept values of these stylish roadsters buoyant.