Frank Jenkins of Massachusetts is going to be putting his 1954 Sunbeam-Talbot Alpine Mk. I Special up for sale at the upcoming RM Sotheby’s Action in Hershey, Pennsylvania on October 8 & 9, 2015. I have seen this car up close and have made several posts about this car over the years as it is a special car. The following is the description of the car that accompanies the listing. The car has a stock number of HF15_r161.
To be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sotheby’s Hershey event, October 8-9, 2015.Estimate:$ 45,000 – $ 60,000 US97.5 bhp, 2,267 cc OHV inline four-cylinder engine with a twin-choke Solex carburetor, four-speed column-shift manual transmission with overdrive, torsion-bar front suspension with coil springs, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 97.5 in.
- Rare “Special” model, of which less than 100 were built
- The only example painted black by the factory
- Formerly owned by noted rally driver Patrick Vanson
- Thoroughly restored and documented; just 43,000 original miles
In 1935, the Rootes Group acquired Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq, which produced the Sunbeam-Talbot automobiles. In 1953, at the urging of George Hartwell, a Sunbeam-Talbot dealer, the company introduced the Alpine, a one-off rally car designed to compete at the Monte Carlo and Alpine rallies in Europe. These cars consistently won with legendary drivers such as Stirling Moss, Sheila van Damm, and G. Murray Frame behind the wheel. The Alpine Special was fitted with a 2,267-cubic centimeter Mk I engine, albeit with an enhanced 8.0:1 compression ratio to deliver higher output. It included an alloy rocker cover and Siamese exhaust ports, along with a special induction manifold fitted with a twin-choke Solex carburetor. It made approximately 98 horsepower. Just 1,582 Alpines were produced between 1953 and 1955, of which 921 were exported to the United States and Canada. According to the consigner, less than 100 examples were equipped with the specially modified “Special” engines, and of those, 42 were produced with left-hand drive. Each car was hand-built in the U.K. by Thrupp & Maberly.In the mid-1950s, the Rootes Group shipped a fleet of Sunbeam Alpines to the United States to participate in the Great American Mountain Rally created in the Catskills to mirror the success of the European rallies. This car was shipped to the United States on March 22, 1954, and according to Patrick Vanson, a successful rally driver in Europe, this Alpine was likely part of that endeavor, although this car was never raced. Vanson then purchased the car, which he called “Black Beauty,” in 1955 and drove it on a 6,000-mile tour of the United States. He then sold the car before returning to Europe the following year. Included with the car is correspondence with Vanson as well as a copy of the factory production manifest, which shows that this is the only Alpine painted black at the factory, as standard Alpine colors included Alpine Mist, Coronation Red, Ivory, and Sapphire Blue. In 1961, this Sunbeam Alpine was acquired by Bill Landefeld for his daughter to commute to college. The current owner was a farmhand on the Landefeld family farm in Unionville, Pennsylvania. In 1970, the Alpine was stored in a barn since it was no longer being used. There it sat until 2000, when it was decided to restore the car for the daughter’s 50th birthday. The restoration, a full, body-off project, was performed by Steve Cota of Lyme Pond Restoration in Barnard, Vermont. Photo documentation and detailed invoices are included on file. According to the consigner, the engine has 43,000 original miles and still runs strong and smooth. It retains the original four-speed column shifter with overdrive. The interior and top have been completely redone with original-style leather upholstery and mohair top. Since restoration, the Alpine has been shown at the 2007 Lars Anderson British Automobile Show, earning 1st place, and at the 2007 British Invasion Show in Stowe, Vermont, earning 2nd place in the Concours d’Elegance division. To Catch a Thief, starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant, featured an Alpine gracefully maneuvering through the French Alps. Just imagine recreating your own such tour in this spritely Sunbeam-Talbot! To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com
Good luck to Frank at the auction!