1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO
Lot 229
1955 Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Roadster
Coachwork by by Thrupp & Maberly Registration no. RHP 700 Chassis no. 3501883 HRO
Sold for £ 50,600 (US$ 71,093) inc. premium

Lot Details
1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO 1955 Sunbeam  Talbot Alpine Roadster  Chassis no. 3501883 HRO
1955 Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Roadster
Coachwork by by Thrupp & Maberly

Registration no. RHP 700
Chassis no. 3501883 HRO
*One of six factory team cars
*Intended for the 1955 Alpine Rally
*Believed one of only three such surviving
*Beautifully restored
*Authenticated by the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register

Footnotes

  • A short-lived marque created after the Rootes Group's acquisition of both Sunbeam and Talbot in the 1930s, 'Sunbeam-Talbot' first appeared on a car - the 10hp Sports Saloon - in 1938. The 'Ten' reappeared in 1945 but it was not until 1948 and the arrival of the Sunbeam-Talbot 80 and Sunbeam-Talbot 90 that Rootes produced its first new designs of the post-WW2 era. The '80' employed an overhead-valve version of the 1.2-litre Hillman Minx engine while the '90' used a similarly upgraded 2.0-litre Humber Hawk engine. Both models featured a modified Sunbeam-Talbot 2-Litre chassis. A works rallying programme was the driving force behind Sunbeam-Talbot developments, this policy bearing fruit in 1950 with the introduction of independent front suspension on the MkII. The engine was enlarged from 1,944cc to 2,267cc at the same time, with maximum power increasing from 64bhp to 70bhp. Further improvements resulted in the MkIIA of 1952. Maximum power increased by a further 7bhp and the braking system was up-rated with larger drums cooled by ventilated disc wheels. In this improved form a Sunbeam-Talbot 90 driven by Stirling Moss finished 2nd overall in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally while works entries walked off with the Team Prize in the French Alpine Rally later in the year.

    Capitalising on this success and aimed squarely at the North American market, the Sunbeam Alpine two-seat roadster was based on the existing Sunbeam-Talbot 90 MkIIA saloon, with styling input from Raymond Loewy. The 90's chassis and running gear were retained, the former suitably stiffened to compensate for the reduced rigidity of the open-topped bodyshell, while the front suspension was stiffened and the steering revised. To enhance the Alpine's sporting credentials, the 2,267cc four-cylinder overhead-valve engine received a power boost to 80bhp courtesy of a revised cylinder head. Initially for export only, the new Alpine did not reach the UK market until the autumn of 1953, but before then the new model's launch had been enhanced by a blaze of publicity following successful record breaking attempts at Montlhéry, France and Jabbeke in Belgium where Stirling Moss achieved a maximum speed of 120mph. Nevertheless, despite valuable exposure accruing from these exploits and numerous class wins in the Alpine rallies, the Alpine was unable to counter the price advantage enjoyed by its rivals and was dropped in 1955.

    Finished in the stunning colour combination of light sapphire blue metallic with red interior, 'RHP 700' is one of only six Sunbeam Alpines prepared by Rootes in 1955 for the Alpine Rally (Coupe des Alpes) from which the model took its name. Rootes factory records confirm that the original colour was Alpine Mist (a light blue metallic) and the upholstery Bright Red, with the wheel colour the same as the body colour. Sold on 3rd May 1955, the Alpine was despatched eight days later, the distributor being listed as Humber Ltd and the owner as 'Demo Account', indicating that it was for the competitions department. The invoice was number '18163' and the registration 'RHP 700' is recorded. The same invoice number is allocated to 'RHP 701', '702', '703', '704' and '705', so all six Alpines were destined for the 1955 Alpine Rally. They were bodied by coachbuilder Thrupp & Maberly, by this time also part of the Rootes Group, which was responsible for special bodies and all open models.

    Following the Le Mans disaster of June 1955, that year's Alpine Rally did not take place and this car has never competed in that event. Nevertheless, it is a Rootes works team car, as confirmed by the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register (email on file). They know of only three other such examples in existence.
    Some years ago, 'RHP 700' benefited from a comprehensive restoration by Major Marques Ltd of Sherborne (photographs on file). The result remains truly stunning. In 2014, the car was purchased by the current vendor for his extensive private collection and has seen little use while being looked after by his in-house mechanic.

    An historically important Alpine Roadster, beautifully presented, 'RHP 700' is offered with a large folder relating to its history and restoration as well as the aforementioned confirmation from the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register.
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