Last modified May 21, 2000
Sunbeam Alpine Sports Competition History

Despite the name, which may strike one as a bit light weight in these modern times, Sunbeam cars had a dramatic and significant part in automotive history and competition. The company just had it's centenary this year, and I believe it was a Sunbeam car that first exceeded 100 mph. The 1,000 hp Sunbeam "beach racer" shown above and dubbed "The Ladybird" was the first automobile of any kind to exceed 200mph in 1927. Eat your hearts out Lambo and Ferrari drivers. But all that's outside the scope of this page on the Sunbeam-Talbot Alpine.


The Sunbeam name and assets eventually came into the Rootes Group , and at the bottom of it, the Rootes brothers were not particularly keen on racing. It was expensive, and with this car, perhaps of limited potential for success. However, they did recognize that successful competition was a solid plank in any advertising campaign and since they had been successful in such events as the Rallye des Alpes with other Sunbeam models it was a natural to use these venues to promote the Alpines. These competitions were seen as (and were) grueling events which tested the machines and drivers to the limit, but were not so expensive to enter (nor as demanding of top speeds and acceleration). The factory made an all out effort for these international events, and assembled a remarkable team of drivers and carefully prepared a stable of cars.

With the likes of a young Stirling Moss, Peter Collins, Mike Hawthorne, Shiela van Damm and other drivers destined for greatness, the factory cars accumulated an impressive record of wins. With that line up I believe they could have won in kiddy cars!

Here is a little promototional piece put out by the Rootes brothers upon introduction of the Sports.

Stirling Moss and Sheila van Damm tested a specially factory prepared Alpine at Jabbeke in Belgium, each exceeding 120 mph (193 kph). As I remember Shiela actually had a slightly higher two way average than Stirling to. Hey maybe this is more of a womans car! :~)


Believe it or not, a Sunbeam Alpine Sports is often seen in vintage racing! . Here are three views all taken by Bob Hamilton at the 1997? Laguna Seca Historic Races. This is Jeff Tamkin in his '55 He has also raced the car at the Wine Country in May 97 at Sears Point and also the CA
Mille in May 98.

etc.I'm not sure what contemporary racing history (as opposed to the substantial rallying history) these cars actually had but would be glad to post anything any one cares to send in.


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