Although comparatively late on the scene in motor car manufacture, the Wolverhampton-based Sunbeam factory quickly established a fine reputation alongside Lanchester, Wolseley, Austin and Daimler at the heart of the escalating Midlands-based motor industry. The 12/16 hp model of the Edwardian era was conventional in all respects, with a sturdy, four cylinder, side valve power unit, displacing 2,413cc and rated at 15.9hp. Final drive was via a four-speed gate change gearbox with worm drive rear axle, and 12/16hp models generally carried elegant factory coachwork which was offered in tourer, two seater, landaulette and cabriolet versions.
A glance down the Veteran Car Club list of surviving Sunbeam 12/16s reads like the "squirearchy" of that club, with active rally goers predominant, suggesting the practicality of the 12/16 hp model for motoring events.
BH 1319 has been in the present private museum collection since 1977. Its early history is not recorded however the registration number suggests first registration in Buckinghamshire and its VCC Dating Certificate no.94 confirms that that would have taken place in 1911. Its known early history commences in post war years when it was acquired by Wing Commander Malcolm Anderson of Bourne End, Bucks, in November 1946. Anderson was to retain the car until 1952, taking part in the VSCC Eastbourne Rally and Concours d'Élégance in March 1947 and VCC events in 1947 and 1948. Three subsequent owners are recorded in Putney, Rugby and Kilsby before the car is recorded in the ownership of well-known Nuneaton collector, Reg Parker, in 1970. During his ownership it was photographed and illustrated in Peter Hugo's book, Private Motor Car Collections of Great Britain, published in 1973. At that time it was recorded that the car "still retains the original upholstery. The lighting has, however, been converted to an electric system." The car was later to pass through the hands of VCC stalwart Alec Norman before acquisition in 1977, 34 years ago, by the present owner. At that stage it became part of a small private museum collection, seeing only occasional use for weddings and special events. It has seen little use in the last twenty years or so and has not been started or run for some time. It will therefore need the usual careful recommissioning. The owner does advise us however that, prior to being laid up, the car was running very well and was well capable of 50mph or more.
BH 1319 is presented in cream livery and still retains its original green leather upholstery. A dashboard plaque suggests original supply by F Parker, Motor Dealers, of 57 High Street, Slough. Rally plaques record use in VCC events in the 1950s/60s, including the VCC Silver Jubilee Rally in 1955 when the car was owned by G.T. Hilton & Co Ltd of Rugby. CAV electric headlamps and H&B electric side lamps are fitted, along with an Eversure bulb horn. The car sits on 815 x 105mm wheels and tyres and fuel is supplied via a Claudel Hobson carburettor. A spare wheel and tyre are mounted on the running board and a further spare wheel is offered with the car along with a suitable wheel spanner. A spare two-gallon petrol can sits on the nearside running board while dashboard equipment includes a Rotax switch panel with volt meter and ammeter and a Stewart speedometer. This car enjoys the benefit of a four-speed gearbox.
Although BH 1319 is an older restoration, it has stood well the test of time and may be used as is or would certainly respond nicely to careful and sympathetic further restoration.
BH 1319 comes with an interesting history file with correspondence and invoices from the 1940s/50s, several old MoT certificates, the aforementioned buff log book and a Swansea V5C document.