Few indeed are the Sunbeam enthusiasts lucky enough to possess a pigeon pair of the twin-cam 3-litres but George Milligen achieved that fortunate state when he purchased this fine F-sanction 3-litre Weymann Saloon from G.Cunliffe of South Latham, Ormskirk, Lancashire, for £145 in May 1956. The car was formerly owned by Richard Marston, a member of the Marston family that founded the Sunbeam company and a keen amateur competitor at Brooklands in the 1930s.
The Weymann Saloon is particularly rare and sought after, for very few examples survive, representing a mere 10 per cent or so of the 40-odd known surviving 3-litres. This is possibly the only six-light saloon remaining and has one-of-a-kind razor-edge styling. Its registration dates from 1929, but the chassis number, though high for an F sanction car, indicates a build date of 1926, Sunbeams sales policy for the costly 3-litre seeming to have been somewhat leisurely
Though some electrical wiring remains to be done, George Milligen had the engine of this 3-litre rebuilt in the late 1980s, but the car has not been started since the rebuild was completed and a note on the engine which had a special water bypass fitted by the noted specialist Arthur Archer to guard against seizure of number six cylinder - declares no oil. This was a wise precaution, for the dry sump system of the Sunbeams Grand Prix-type power unit calls for Castrol R.
But though the six-cylinder engine was track-bred, the 3-litre Sunbeam is a matchless road car, with a smooth power delivery that leaves its rivals in the shade.
Just what a remarkable car was the 3-litre saloon is underlined by Wing Commander Noel Hans Hamiltons recollection in 1950 of the time he offered to bring French-printed copies of the Daily Mail to London from the port at Dover during the 1926 General Strike. From the bottom of Dover Hill to Vauxhall Bridge was covered in 80 minutes exactly, and we had 5 cwt of newspapers in the back. Where possible we touched 92 mph. The maximum I ever reached was 95 mph
This was truly a connoisseurs car, and among the models distinguished owners were Viscount Curzon (the future Earl Howe), who declared my 3-litre impresses me more than anything else that I have driven, Sir Henry Segrave, the Earl of Cottenham, Prince Nicholas of Rumania, Lord Beaverbrook, Viscount Ridley and store magnate Gordon Selfridge.
Motoring journalist Edgar Duffield of The Auto wrote; I have never driven nor even ridden in a nicer motor car of any price, and when the price of this machine is £1,250 all on, with a body equipped to the eyebrows containing all that the most sybaritic could ask, but sans varnish to scratch or timber to creak and wicker, I am reduced to regarding it as the best value that the Sunbeam Motor Company have ever shown me.