Having read with interest comments regarding the virtues or otherwise of various sports cars I feel it is time somebody put a word in for the Sunbeam Alpine 1,725 c.c. version.
When selecting my car I was looking for a comfortable fast touring car which was readily “converted” to the open state, that would take plenty of luggage for two and be if possible reasonably silent and good looking. I carefully looked at all the more obvious sports cars but found them lacking in one respect or another. Either the seats were not very comfortable and were non-adjustable for rake, or they were too cramped, or they made too much noise (which is very tiring on long runs) or the finish was shoddy, or the hood did not fold up and down quickly and easily. It is essential to be able to hold the hood up and down within less than a minute and preferably at traffic light stops, otherwise it does not get used. In the summer my hood goes up and down at least once a day on average and frequently more often.
However, I found all the above advantages in the Sunbeam Alpine 1725 – plus extreme economy (over 30 m.p.g. on average) and a performance that was very adequate for my requirements – i.e. 0-60 in 11 sec. approx. The luggage capacity with a rack fitted is so great that we can take our Alsatian-sized dog with us, too – he goes behind the seats.
As a boat builder I have occasion to deliver craft over fairly long distances and recently we took two large 15 ft. 7 in. dinghies complete with masts, spars, booms and full sailing equipment, on a single four-wheeled trailer to Scotland. We had our usual complement of wife, dog and luggage in the car and the trip was comfortable and pleasant despite the constant rain and high winds that were blowing furniture vans off the M roads. Coming back with the trailer unladen we averaged speeds that I would not care to mention but suffice it to say that a heavy four-wheeled trailer unladen makes little noticeable difference to speed or performance. Petrol consumption over the 1,230 mile,s worked out at 31 m.p.g.
I have Dunlop SP41 tyres, which I regard as virtually essential and, with these, road-holding is everything one could wish for. The hood can be folded away in two ways; either one can take the trouble to stow it away carefully under its neat cover. This takes two or three minutes, or one can stow the hood on top of the cover and place a rubber shock cord over the folded side arms. This only takes about half a minute and is what I use for short journeys or if I think the hood will have to go up again very shortly.
All in all, I consider the Sunbeam Alpine an excellent general purpose fast touring car and looked at from every point of view (as opposed to the single point of view of “how fast does she go mister?”) she must be hard to beat. Personally I think the “all-round” point of view is the only valid one, otherwise we would all have B.R.M.s or Ferraris! I have no association whatever with Rootes – not even shares!
Salisbury. J. L. Gmach.