Sunbeam (car company)

Sunbeam was a British manufacturer of bicycles and motorcycles first, and later of automobiles and aircraft engines, based first in Wolverhampton and later in London and Birmingham.

Sunbeam motorcycles

The motorcycles of Sunbeam enjoyed a very good reputation for quality. After changing models in the period before the Second World War one and two -cylinder bikes with 500 and 600 cc were produced in the postwar period essentially be.

Sunbeam Automobile


1899 built the former bicycle factory Sunbeam the first motor car. 1901 started in Wolverhampton factory mass production of a single-cylinder model. From 1903, engines with six, from 1909 engines were built with two cylinders.

The six-cylinder models were always luxurious car with large-volume engines. For car racing engines were manufactured with up to seven liters. Also produced in the four-cylinder Sunbeam unusually large volume engines 2.5 to 4.7 liters (compared to modern four-cylinder engines have rarely more than 2.2 to 2.4 liters displacement).

From 1910 Sunbeam built successful racing cars and specials for speed records. The latter were only in the 1920s and successfully established five world records (two of them by Malcolm Campbell) on the last 1000hp with the Sunbeam. This vehicle was powered by two jet engines Sunbeam Matabele with twelve cylinders ( water-cooled V12, DOHC, four-valve, aluminum block ), 22.4 liters and a maximum output of 500 horsepower ( bhp ) at 2,000 revolutions per minute. In the middle of the vehicle, where the driver sat, was a three-speed transmission that drove the rear wheels via chains. This car was succeeded Henry Segrave on March 29, 1927 in Daytona Beach to break the 200 mph limit, in which he reached a speed of 203.792 mph ( 327.97 km / h ). The built in 1929 Sunbeam Silver Bullet with 4000 bhp was not successful and led to the setting of the record activities.

In the course of 1919 A.DARRACQ & Co Ltd bought the brands and Clement Talbot Sunbeam, and founded in 1920, the group STD ( Sunbeam - Talbot - Darracq ) as a merger of British and French automobile manufacturer.

The automobiles sold in the United Kingdom retained the brand name Sunbeam and Darracq ( until 1939 ). For France, we preferred the Talbot brand. Together they worked on the construction of racing cars. The production was rationalized under the direction of engineer Louis Coatalen, and the models of Suresnes had a lively success, especially with the " 10cv ".

However, the world economic crisis of 1929 and the company has not spared STD, which had introduced the luxurious eight - cylinder Pacific at the same time. 1935 STD went bankrupt and was taken over by the Rootes Group, which also included Hillman and Humber. Since then, the vehicles were manufactured under the name of Sunbeam - Talbot. The French part of the company was sold and renamed since as Talbot -Lago.

As of 1953, the Sunbeam name was again used. Was published in 1954 the Sunbeam Alpine as a two-seater roadster version of the Sunbeam 90 During test drives the Alpine reached at 2.2 liters and 80 hp up to 193 km / h and the series models managed an average of 170 km / h 1953 and 1955 Sunbeam Alpine won the Alpine Rally, but in 1955 the production of this model has been discontinued.

1963 Sunbeam presented in front of the Doge's Palace in Venice, Venezia model. It should be exported only to Italy and based on the Super Minx. The body came from the Italian company Carrozzeria Touring. What makes the Venezia was mounted on a tubular frame steel frame, which was covered with aluminum sheets.

Of 1964, Sunbeam at the Paris Motor Show, the Tiger I before, which was sold in Europe as Alpine 260. The body was taken over by an Alpine, which was built in 1959, the V8 engine gave Ford from the USA. The Tiger I was one of the sportiest models by Sunbeam, reached 164 hp and 192 km / h top speed, 4.3 liter engine.

As a sporty everyday car appeared in 1965 the Sunbeam Imp GT (based on the Hillman Imp, which, however, only 42 bhp ) with a 60 hp four- cylinder engine. Identical was the Rootes Imp GT. The Imp GT models were not manufactured at the band, but in the racing department of Rootes. The coupe was called Stiletto.

The U.S. Chrysler Group summed up 1967, the British Rootes Group, Simca of France and Barreiros (Spain) at Chrysler Europe together. First of all firms built vehicles continue under the established brands. The last model of the Sunbeam was introduced in 1977 as Chrysler Sunbeam subcompact hatchback.

After Peugeot 1978 bought up all rights of Chrysler Europe, received in 1979, all previously manufactured by Chrysler Europe cars the name Talbot. The sports version of the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus were given in recognition of the basic engine ( 2172 cc, 150 hp) paid development work the name TALBOT Sunbeam LOTUS. Since 1982, the Sunbeam brand name is no longer used.

The picture on the right shows a Sunbeam (green), original color was red, at an event in Austria.


Models 1901-1915

Models 1919-1937

Models 1938-1953 ( Sunbeam - Talbot )

Models 1953-1976

Aircraft engines

From 1912 to the 1930s presented Sunbeam also engines for aircraft.


  • David Culshaw, Peter Horrobin: The Complete Catalogue of British Cars 1895-1975, Veloce Publishing plc, Dorchester 1997, ISBN 1874105936