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Sunbeams to Shine at Shannons Winter Sale

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MELBOURNE – June 7, 2013: It might be mid-winter, but three rare Sunbeams are coming out for Shannons Melbourne Winter Auction on Monday, July 1.

The Sunbeams – a 1949 Talbot 80 Sedan in ‘project’ condition, a well-presented 1953 Talbot MkIIA Sedan and a rare (in Australia) 1969 Rapier Fastback Coupe in excellent condition, are amongst 40 classic vehicles and 26 memorabilia and black and white Victorian numerical number plates in the auction.

Dating back to bicycle beginnings in 1887, Sunbeam became one of Britain’s most respected automotive brands by the late 1910s, with Major Henry Segrave scoring the first Grand Prix victory by British car in France in 1923, while V12-engined Sunbeams driven by such luminaries as Malcolm Campbell set numerous speed records in the 1920s.

After going into receivership in the mid-1930s and subsequently being purchased by Rootes, Sunbeam production resumed after the War in 1948 at a new UK plant, with the re-born brand led by the sporty Sunbeam-Talbot 80 sedan, powered by the 1185cc four-cylinder engine.

It is believed 3,500 Sunbeam-Talbot 80 saloons were completed before it was discontinued in 1950 and the example in Shannons Winter Auction is understood to be an export model, number 1,073 of these.

The vehicle was purchased by the vendor in 1994 to 'save it from the tip' and it is largely complete, but in ‘project’ condition. According to Shannons, its original engine runs and the car drives in three of its four forward gears, but otherwise is in need of total restoration.

Offered with no reserve, it is expected to sell for around $2,000-$4,000 to an enthusiast seeking a very distinctive, potentially useable classic.

Also offered with no reserve, the second Sunbeam-Talbot in the auction is a well-presented later-model 1953 Mark IIA Sedan fitted with the more powerful 2.2-litre four cylinder engine and five speed gearbox, similar to the cars that later won the famed Monte Carlo Rally outright in 1955.

An older restoration with brake and suspension upgrades and a four-branch exhaust, this sporty Sunbeam would make an entertaining and very useable club car and an affordable entry into classic motoring at its estimated selling price of $6,000-$8,000.

The final Sunbeam in the winter sale is a stylish 1969 Rapier Fastback– a premium personal four-seater coupe based on the floorplan of the Hillman Hunter Estate of the same period.

Powered by the 1968 London-Sydney Rally-winning Hunter’s 1,725cc four cylinder engine equipped with twin Stromberg carburetors, its four cylinder engine developed 88HP (65kW), with an overdrive standard on its five-speed manual gearbox.

Few of these Rapier coupes made it to Australia and they remain standout vehicles in any classic company, making the projected $14,000-$18,000 range for this very well presented example in the auction also a solid day-to-day driving proposition.