2022 Shannons Autumn Timed Online Auction
1926 Sunbeam 14/40 Sports Tourer
|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 2121cc|
|Gearbox||4-speed manual (see text)|
|Body Work||Open Tourer|
|Colour||Claret & Black|
This lot is no longer available
Founded in 1899 by John Marston of Wolverhampton, the Sunbeam Company was firmly established as one of Britain's finest car makers by the 1920s, earning a reputation for high quality machines with a sporting flavour. Known as the 'Supreme Sunbeam', the Company invested heavily in motor sport and success was achieved in Grand Prix racing, at endurance events such as Le Mans and just as significantly, in Land Speed Record attempts. Sunbeam was the only British manufacturer to win an International Grand Prix before the Second World War, achieving this momentous result against the combined forces of more established racing marques like Bugatti and Fiat in the 1923 French Grand Prix. Thanks to the heroic deeds of men like Sir Malcolm Campbell and Major Henry Segrave, Sunbeam held the Land Speed Record a number of times in the period, the latter's twin-engined 1000 horsepower machine breaking the 200mph barrier for the first time. Sunbeam produced an exceptional range of touring and sporting cars in the 1920s and the first production model to utilise an overhead-valve design engine was the 14hp announced in October 1921. Initial problems with the alloy block meant the original engine quickly gave way to a cast iron block bolted to an aluminium crankcase. In 1924 Sunbeam further revised the 14hp, increasing bore from 72mm to 75mm, widening the chassis frame and a strengthened back axle, Rudge Whitworth hubs and wire wheels were added to the new 14/40hp. Costing an additional 50 pounds over the standard 14/40, Sunbeam also catalogued a Sports version boasting high compression aluminium pistons, a larger carburettor and inlet manifold plus stronger valve springs. The Sports enjoyed significant performance advantage, along with better looking factory coachwork. Produced for just four years before being replaced by the six-cylinder 14/60, an estimated 80 or so 14/40s survive today (fewer still of the rare Sports variant), most of them in the UK. As vintage tourers go, the Sunbeam 14/40 compares favourably with contemporary Vauxhalls and Alvis, not to mention many more expensive Continental marques, and would be a wonderful events car perfect for the thriving vintage sports car scene. The Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq Register in the UK is very active and a great resource for spares and technical advice, while the local Register offers plenty of local support.