In its quest to develop a rally car to challenge Ford's Escort, Chrysler Corporation followed the tried and tested formula and installed a relatively large engine in a compact, lightweight bodyshell to create the 'Sunbeam-Lotus'. Development had started before Chrysler sold its European interests in 1978 and continued under new owners Peugeot, who revived the moribund Talbot brand for its UK-built models. A 'homologation special' the Sunbeam-Lotus used the latter firm's 2.2-litre, 16-valve twin-cam engine, which was coupled to a ZF five-speed gearbox. Around 150bhp was claimed in road trim with up to 240 horsepower available in Group 2 specification. Prototypes first appeared in competition in 1978, Tony Pond scoring the first major success with 2nd place in the Mille Pistes, a result he repeated in 1979. A more ambitious campaign was undertaken in 1980 when two cars were fielded for drivers Henri Toivonen and Guy Frequelin, the highlight of which was Toivonen's victory in the RAC Rally. Toivonen and Frequelin were retained for 1981, their one outright win and five 2nd places being good enough to earn Talbot the World Championship for Makes. Despite these successes Peugeot then scaled down the Sunbeam-Lotus effort, preferring to concentrate on developing the new Peugeot 205.
Restored circa 2004, this Sunbeam-Lotus in model-correct Moonstone Blue has been prepared for rallying, incorporating heavy-duty lowered suspension making it suitable for road events, hill climbs and sprints, while the rebuilt engine reputedly produces around 180bhp. Noteworthy features include a full Safety Devices six-point roll cage with detachable side bars; Sparco bucket seats, though with standard door cards and interior trim retained; safety harnesses; passenger footrest; Brantz odometer complete with remote control; hydraulic handbrake (original retained); strengthened rear axle; limited-slip differential; sump guard; catch tank; fuel filter; and two additional driving lamps. Four new Yokohama intermediate (road legal) rally tyres are fitted currently and the car also comes with four original alloy wheels shod with 'gravel' tyres plus a spare alloy wheel/tyre. Accompanying documentation consists of a photographically illustrated record of the restoration, MoT to April 2014, Swansea V5C and four previous MoTs showing 10,000 miles since 2007. (The current odometer reading is circa 63,000 miles). An owner's handbook is included in the sale and the car will be freshly taxed for the road by time of sale.