1913 Sunbeam 12/16hp Open Tourer
Chassis no. 7022
Engine no. 6513
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, gate change gearbox, shaft drive and generally carried elegant factory coachwork which was offered in tourer, two seater, landaulette and cabriolet versions. Introduced in 1910, the 12/16 hp originally had a bore and stroke of 80mm x 120mm, cast in two blocks of two, but in 1912 Sunbeam introduced a monobloc with the stroke out to 150mm, increasing capacity to just over 3-litres. A Bosch ZU 4 magneto was fitted and the fuel tank relocated from under the front seats to between the rear springs early in the production run, allowing the steering column to be lowered and as a consequence the body line itself was reduced for a more sporting appearance. A glance down the Veteran Car Club list of surviving Sunbeam 12/16's reads like the "squirearchy" of that club, with active rally goers predominant, suggesting the practicality of the 12/16 hp model for motoring events. Bruce Dowell, writing in his book "Sunbeam: The Supreme Car" noted that of the estimated 5,000 or so made approximately 70 survive.
The known history of this 1913 12/16hp dates back to its discovered in a farm in South Eastern South Australia by a Mr. McKenna. The car had been converted with a truck body, the fate of so many quality veteran and vintage cars in Australia, and remained with McKenna until he swapped it with local car collector Peter Crauford for a body suitable for a Rolls-Royce he owned. The current owner, one of South Australia's best known car collectors, bought the Sunbeam from Crauford circa 1980, at which point it was mechanically all there but lacking any coachwork. The Sunbeam was then comprehensively restored back to its former glory, utilising an original factory Sporting Tourer body rescued from a sister car and renovated by a talented South Australian cabinet maker. The owner reports the car had done relatively little mileage and proved to be a straightforward mechanical restoration, with the engine (which didn't need re-sleeving), gearbox and diff all rebuilt, along with the brakes and suspension. Most of the work was performed by specialist Martin Bennett over an eight year period, then completed under the owner's direction at a leisurely pace over the next decade or so, finally coming together in the late 1990s. Since that time the Sunbeam has done very little mileage - the owner estimates under 500 miles - and remains in fine condition throughout.