Last modified September 12, 2000
 

So...you got'ta have one, right?!

Here are a selection of cars that seem to be for sale...now's your chance...


NEW!

1955 Mark III with overdrive.

Vancouver,Canada.


1953 with overdrive. Central Coast California


And here is about as good a restoration candidate as you are likely to find as far as I can tell. It's in upstate New York I think. He says it's complete and has overdrive and minor rust...


I almost never see these cars for sale, and I scour all the car porn I can get my hands on to try to find them. Then, all of a sudden, here are two in the same issue of Thoroughbred and Classic Car (September 1999) an English car magazine, and another, of all places, pops up on eBay! Note we are looking here (above) at RHD cars in England or Europe, so add on transportation costs. The blue one here has the very desirable Bamforth gearbox with overdrive: call it a $1,500 value above an identical car without it. Being pre '68 cars, either would be a lovely car to tour over there for a while, then bring home to the US, wouldn't it? :~)

The above mentioned magazine carries a monthly informed estimate of car values, and the #1 mint concours version of the Sunbeam-Talbot Alpine has been at 12.000 £'s Sterling (call it 20 grand US$) for several years now. Very nice cars can be had for less IF you can find them. You certainly would spend this much restoring a tatty one properly. Restoration is aided by the fact that the Alpine shared many parts with the saloons and other models.

IMHO these cars are genuinely undervalued, even at the magazine price. The ads above are probably about right. Do the math. If you had one of these beauties next to say, a very nice '59 or '60 TR2 or 3 at the same price, call it $15,000 ....there wouldn't be much question in our minds about value for money. The Alpine is in another class altogether: handmade and luxurious, not spartan and cobbled together. Moreover, where the TR, as much as we love them, is as common as dirt, there won't be one person in a thousand, including car buffs, who will even know what your Alpine is! It is a real jaw dropper. The most frequent pedestrian comment I hear from behind when passing by is "What IS that car?!" Usually from a smitten female to her stuttering, know-it-all male companion. One guy came close...he came boiling out of a coffee shop shouting at me: "Hey! That's Grace Kelly's car isn't it?!"

Only about 3,000 STA's were made, and there are probably fewer than 170 on the STAR register currently, and perhaps a handful outside it, so, call it a couple of hundred runners world wide. It stands to reason you aren't likely to find one in the local Thrifty Nickel Car Trader, but it happens. Nor, in the US anyway, are there likely to be a great many restorable projects out there to make them anything like a common sight if they do get discovered, and certainly we won't be seeing reproductions or kit cars. So, if you do go through a restoration you are guaranteed a very rare car (but with the uncommon benefit of parts availability).

Still, if you keep looking, good restoration projects do surface up from time to time. I heard of one recently being bought up near Bakersfield, California. Needed full restoration, but it was complete. Take a look...

There was another in the Atlanta paper for $9.500, running, condition unknown. Another like that off a lot in Southern California for a little less, and a rusty hulk in Texas for 5G's+.

And here is the "barn fresh" one on eBay from back East that I mentioned; apparently complete but lots of rot. An excellent restoration project, it went for $2,600 after only two bids in mid-Sept 99. You can't make out a lot here, but, you get the idea....

 

If you have one of these cars, or parts for them for sale I will be glad to post it here if you send me the details and preferably a picture. Likewise, and especially, if you have parts.

If you know of a Sunbeam-Talbot Alpine somewhere, either rusting or maintained, I would appreciate hearing all about it of course.

 

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