2020 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction
1933 Sunbeam Speed 20 4Dr 'Pillarless' Saloon
|Engine||3.4 litre Jaguar six-cylinder|
|Body Work||Pillarless Sedan|
This lot is no longer available
The original Sunbeam company was founded by John Marston in 1899 and based in Wolverhampton (UK). Sunbeam was one of the premier British marques in period and first came to prominence with the appointment of Chief Engineer Louis Coatalen in 1909. Soon, Coatalen designed cars were setting new records of all types on the track and indeed, Sunbeam was the only British make to win a Grand Prix in the first half of the 20th century. Sunbeam’s 1933 Speed 20 is a classic of its time, and our example features Sunbeam’s own ‘pillarless’ style four door sedan coachwork, complete with rear-hinged rear doors. It’s a truly majestic looking machine – the stylish bodywork more consistent with the work of a bodybuilder than a factory production model – the Speed 20 Pillarless is extremely elegant with chrome plating showing off its lines to perfection. This body style was sometimes referred to as the “Monte Carlo” model due to the factory entering the 1933 Monte Carlo Rally. The new 1933–34 model Speed 20 was powered by a 3 litre (2913cc) OHV straight-six engine (good for 20.9 horsepower) that featured an improved exhaust manifold and downdraught carburettor, installed in new cruciform braced chassis. Among technology pioneered by Sunbeam, first on the track and then on the road, were twin overhead camshaft and overhead valve engines, brakes on all four wheels and power assisted braking. At its height in the 1920s, Sunbeam Motor Car Company's Moorfield works employed 3500 staff on a 50-acre site, but it did not survive the Great Depression and fell into receivership in 1934. It was sold to the Rootes brothers but the Sunbeam name endured, surviving on various Rootes and later Chrysler (which absorbed Rootes) and Talbot models until as late as 1981.