Sunbeam Alpine Mark I and II
|Production||1953–55 1.582 made|
|Assembly||United Kingdom Australia|
|Body style||2-door roadster|
|Engine||2267 cc (2.3L) I4|
|Wheelbase||97.5 in (2,477 mm)|
|Length||168.5 in (4,280 mm)|
|Width||62.5 in (1,588 mm)|
The Sunbeam Alpine is a sporty two-seat open car from Rootes Group's Sunbeam car marque. The original was launched in 1953 as the first vehicle from Sunbeam-Talbot to bear the Sunbeam name alone since the 1935 takeover of Sunbeam and Talbot by the Rootes Group. A muscle-car variant of the later versions was also built, the Sunbeam Tiger.
The Alpine was derived from the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 Saloon, and has become colloquially known as the "Talbot" Alpine. It was a two-seater sports roadster initially developed by Sunbeam-Talbot dealer George Hartwell in Bournemouth as a one-off rally car. It had its beginnings as a 1952 Sunbeam-Talbot drophead coupé, and was supposedly named by Norman Garrad of the works Competition Department, who was heavily involved in Sunbeam-Talbot's successes in the Alpine Rally during the early 1950s using the saloon models.
The entirely new body is a two-seater pure and simple The curved single-pane screen with side extensions is readily detachable and a racingscreen of curved transparent plastic can be substituted The side screens are metal-framed and incorporate horizontally-sliding panels of heavy gauge transparent plastic.The top of the bonnet is louvered to reduce under-bonnet temperatures, but detachable blanking plates are provided to enable the apertures to be closed when not required. Inside separate seats shaped to give good individual support Each seat is adjustable for reach and, in addition, the height and rake of the driver's seat can be adjusted as well. In addition, there is a fixed centre arm rest, with further arm rests (shaped to act as door pulls) on the doorsprovision for a radio panel, heater installation and a rev. counter (centrally fitted below the facia), the luggage boot which measures 49 in, from front to rear, has a minimum width of 39in.
white wall tyres and a cockpit cover. available as factory-fitted extras. Along with alternative axle ratio (4.22 :1).
The car has a four-cylinder 2267 cc engine from the saloon, but with a raised compression ratio. However, since it was developed from the saloon platform, it suffered from rigidity compromises despite extra side members in the chassis. The gearbox ratios were changed, and from 1954 an overdrive unit became standard. The gearchange lever was column-mounted.
The Alpine Mark I and Mark III (no Mark II was made) were hand-built – as was the 90 drophead coupé – at Thrupp & Maberly coachbuilders from 1953 to 1955, and remained in production for only two years. Of the 1582 automobiles produced, 961 were exported to the USA and Canada, 445 stayed in the UK, and 175 went to other world markets. It has been estimated that perhaps as few as 200 have survived.The Alpine engine has a special head giving a compression ratio of 7.42 : 1, as opposed to 6.45 : 1.the ports have been modified to for gas flow shortening the valve guides and cutting away the surrounding metal they into the ports, whilst the machining of the ports themselves along with the use of a Lucas high-voltage sports coil, the fitting of an oil-bath air cleaner and the use of a four-row radiator block which increases the cooling capacity.
The maximum output around 80 b.h.p. at 4,200 r.p.m. The carburattor is a type DAA 36 downdraught Stromberg, with a hand-operated choke, and the manifold hotspot has been modified with insulating metal plate which conducts heat from the exhaust to the inlet.An over-riding manual control is provided for the ignition, enabling the total range of advance and retard provided by the automatic centrifugal and vacuum devices to be over a range of 14 deg. (on the flywheel). The control takes the form of a knob which is pulled out for advance.For the transmission, The oil capacity of the gearbox has also been increased to prevent surge from causing temporary bearing starva-
tion a new breather incorporated with the dipstick.
The chassis frame has a pair of side plates welded to each side member at the point where it is upswept at the front, these acting as stiffening for the undersideto provide a mounting for a 2-in, diameter tubular flanged mounting cross-member which passes below the engine. which can be detached for sump removal.
The front coil springs have been stiffened, the rate on this model being 104 lb./in. instead of the normal 68 lb.for roll resistance alon with the anti-roll bara higher steering ratio (17.5:1) is used to reduce the number of turns of the steering wheel from lock to lock.
In the 1953 Alpine Rally four Alpines won the Coupe des Alpes, one of which, finishing 6th, was driven by Stirling Moss; Sheila van Damm won the Coupe Des Dames in the same rally.
Very few of these cars are ever seen on the big screen. However, a sapphire blue Alpine featured prominently in the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. More recently, the American PBS show History Detectives tried to verify that an Alpine roadster owned by a private individual was the actual car used in that movie. Although the Technicolor process could "hide" the car's true colour, and knowing that the car was shipped back from Monaco to the USA for use in front of a rear projection effect, the car shown on the programme was ultimately proven not to be the film car upon comparison of the vehicle identification numbers.
Sunbeam Alpine mk1 in the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief
Sunbeam Alpine Mark I III Technical details and specifications (1953-1955)
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT:
Wheelbase: 8 ft. 1.5in.
Track: Front: 3 ft. 11in,Rear: 4 ft. 2 in.
Overall length: 14 ft.
Overall width: 5 ft. 2 in.
Overall height: 4 ft. 4 in.
Ground clearance: 6 in,
Turning circle: 36 ft. 6 in.
Dry weight: 25 cwt.
Cubic capacity: 2,267 c.c.
Piston area: 31.9 sq. in.
Valves: Overhead (pushrod)
Compression ratio: 7.47:1
Carburettor: Stromberg downdraught (DAA36)
Plugs: make and type:Champion NA8
Fuel pump:A.C. mechanical
Fuel capacity:10 gallons
Oil filter :A.C. by-pass
Oil capacity:10.5 pints
Cooling system:Pump, fan and thermostat
Water capacity:20 pints
Battery capacity:51 amp.-hr
TRANSMISSION DRIVE LINE:
Clutch:Borg and Beck s.d.p.
Prop. shaft: Hardy Spicer
Final drive:Hypoid bevel
Brakes: Lockheed hydraulic (2LS on front)
Brake drum diameter: 10 in.
Friction lining area: 172 sq. in
Front: Independent (coil) Shock absorbers Armstrong piston "R" type
Rear: Semi-elliptic Shock absorbers Armstrong piston "R" type
Wheel type: Pressed steel
Tyre size: 5.50 x 16 in.
Steering gear: Burman recirculating ball
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