Sunbeam


Sunbeam Alpine
Sunbeam Alpine

Classic Sunbeam Tyres


On the following pages, Longstone Classic Tyres give classic tyre fitment recommendations for Sunbeam cars.


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Vintage Sunbeam Tyres

Longstone Tyres can provide tyres for across the whole Sunbeam range, from the sporty two-seater Alpine to the vintage Sunbeam-Talbot 90.


Sunbeam Tyres

The following list are our recommendations for Sunbeam:


Sunbeam History

Sunbeam was a trademark registered in 1888 by John Marston Co. Ltd of Wolverhampton, England. From the late 1800s through 1936, the firm produced bicycles, motorcycles, and automobiles, and used the brand on all three modes of transportation. During World War I, the business also produced 647 aircraft. A Sunbeam racing model was first to win a Grand Prix in a British-made car, and it also established several land speed records. In 1935, the firm went into receivership and was bought out by the Rootes Group, which proceeded to use the Sunbeam brand.

1964 Sunbeam Talbot Series 2 Coupe
1964 Sunbeam Talbot Series 2 Coupe

As a metal lacquerer, John Marston worked at Wolverhampton's Jeddo Works. At the age of 23, he purchased two existing tinplate producers and formed his own company, John Marston Co. Ltd. Marston was an ardent cyclist who, in 1877, founded the Sunbeamland Cycle Factory, which produced Sunbeam bicycles. Between 1899 and 1901, the business also built a number of prototype automobiles, but none of them were sold.

After a collaboration with Maxwell Maberly-Smith, the first production automobile known as a Sunbeam was unveiled in 1901. Sunbeam-design Mabley's was unusual, with seating on either side of a belt drive driven by a single-cylinder engine producing less than 3 horsepower. The design was somewhat successful, with only 420 units sold by the time production stopped in 1904. At that time, the business began the manufacture of an automobile developed by Thomas Pullinger and based on Berliet mechanicals. In 1906, they developed a new model based on a Peugeot engine they purchased for research and sold roughly ten each week. Sunbeam Motorcar Company Ltd was created in 1905 as a distinct entity from the majority of the John Marston firm, which kept the Sunbeam motorbikes and bicycles.

1974 Sunbeam Rapier
1974 Sunbeam Rapier

Louis Coatalen, a Breton automotive designer, joined the business from Humber in 1909 and rose to the position of head designer. He quickly reorganised manufacturing such that practically all parts were made in-house rather than depending on outside vendors. He immediately introduced his first design, the Sunbeam 14/20; the company's first to incorporate a shaft-driven rear axle, updating it to the 16/20 in 1911 with a little bigger engine. By 1911, they were producing over 650 vehicles per year, making them a notable manufacturer at the time.

Sunbeam amalgamated with the French business Automobiles Darracq S.A. on August 13, 1920. Alexandre Darracq produced his first car in 1896, and his automobiles were so popular that Alfa Romeo and Opel both began their careers in the automobile business by constructing Darracqs under licence. Darracq purchased the London-based business of Clement-Talbot in 1919 to form Talbot-Darracq to import Talbots into England. Sunbeam was added, resulting in "Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq" or "STD Motors"

The iconic Sunbeam 350HP set a new Land Speed Record in Malcolm Campbell's hands at Pendine Sands where it recorded 150.766 mph in 1925 after dubbing it the Blue Bird and painting it blue. Sunbeam did not do well during the Great Depression, and in 1935 it was placed in administration and sold to Lord Rootes. The final genuine Sunbeam was produced in 1935. STD Motors was placed in receivership in 1935. Only Talbots remained profitable at this stage, and the Rootes Group acquired that share in 1935. Sunbeam was also bought by Rootes when William Lyons of "SS Cars," attempted to buy them. After World War II, SS Cars was renamed Jaguar. Car manufacturing at the Wolverhampton plant was halted.

Rootes was an early advocate of badge engineering, designing a single mass-produced chassis and outfitting it with varied body panels and interiors to suit several markets. All of the new businesses ceased manufacturing of previous models, substituting them with models from Hillman and Humber that were better suitable for mass production. Rootes established the Sunbeam-Talbot nameplate in 1938, combining the superb Talbot coachwork with the existing Hillman and Humber chassis, which were built at the Talbot plant in London. The first two versions were the Sunbeam-Talbot 10 and the 3-litre, which were succeeded by the Sunbeam-Talbot 2 litre and 4-litre models, which were based on the earlier models but with different engines and longer wheelbases. These variants were manufactured after the battle until 1948.

1964 Sunbeam Alpine Series 4
1964 Sunbeam Alpine Series 4

Chrysler bought 30% of the corporation (along with 50% of the non-voting shares) in 1964 as it attempted to access the European market. Ironically, Chrysler had bought Simca the year before, who had previously purchased Automobiles Talbot, the original British brand that had been amalgamated with STD Motors many years before. Chrysler looks to have had a lot of difficulty with the Rootes empire. Models were dropped over the following several years as they attempted to create a unified brand from the greatest designs of each of the firm's elements, but brand loyalty began to erode and was severely harmed when they chose to eliminate prior car brands and start calling everything a Chrysler.

Sunbeam's final model was the Rootes Arrow. Chrysler, who had bought Rootes, discontinued the brand. They were based on the Hillman (now Chrysler) Hunter, which lasted until 1978. From 1978 through the early 1980s, the Chrysler Sunbeam, a Hillman Avenger-derived hatchback, retained the name as a model rather than a marque, with the very last units marketed as Talbot Sunbeams. In 1978, Peugeot and Renault bought the remaining assets of Chrysler Europe, and the brand has been discontinued.


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