UNHAPPY COURIER

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Sir,

I purchased a Sunbeam Alpine in November 1959 (a 1,5oo-c.c. model) and had the same extras as Mr. Seyd. I would agree entirely with Mr. Seyd concerning the water leaks and gearbox. I still have the water leaks after two and a half years and innumerable visits. during the first twelve months, to the local Main Agent.

The gearbox ratios are appalling, 1St and 2nd gears being far too low; incidentally, they are the same as those of the Rapier which, being a 4-seater and having a much larger boot, could conceivably require a low gear in order to pull a heavy load in mountainous country. The Alpine, however, can never by any stretch of the imagination carry a heavy load, as there just isn’t enough room.

With regard to Mr. Seyd’s comments about luggage space both in the car and the boot, this of course is clearly visible when the car is purchased and for that reason I think cannot be criticised. I cannot, however, criticise the back axle and I would suggest that Mr. Seyd has been most unfortunate in this respect.

The main reason that I am writing this letter is to praise the engine. After running-in this car, very carefully, for 3,000 miles I then did a further 4,000miles of normal driving, after which the head and inlet manifold were polished and the compression-ratio slightly raised. This improved the performance of the car, as would be expected, and I then proceeded to thrash the engine for a further 12,000 miles, including three races; the total mileage was then 19,000 miles.

We decided to strip the engine and examine it thoroughly; we found the bore wear was negligible, that the main bearings showed very small signs of wear, but that there was a reasonable amount of wear in the big-ends. As the car was going to he raced again we replaced both the main and big-end bearings; we then proceeded to make several modifications such as : lighten flywheel, change over to Weber carburetters, and increase the horsepower to 105.

Since this time the car has done a further t6,00o miles, has raced in a further four or five races during which time the revs frequently reach 7,000 and upwards.

Despite all this the engine shows no sign of impending trouble, uses practically no more oil than as new, and our own opinion (Somewhat biased you may say) is that had it not been for the excessive weight and had gear ratios the Sunbeam Alpine would be one of, if not the, finest sports car in its price-range and c’ass produced in this country.

It may interest you further to know that we are endeavouring to overcome the weight problem by fitting this engine into a T.V.R. for experimental purposes, and while it was our original intention to conduct this experiment with a new Sunbeam Alpine 1,600-c.c. engine, modified to the same standard as at our existing 1,5o0-c.c. engine, we have now decided to leave well alone and use the old engine for the experiment. W. R. BENNETT, Liverpool. Team Manager, ” Ecurie Bendic011.” •

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