You searched for... CHRYSLER SUNBEAM
The Sunbeam was clean-cut and well proportioned in appearance, yet it took little more than 18 months to develop. Chrysler UK commenced Project R424 in January 1976, using an SWB version of the Avenger floorpan as a base.
On Saturday 23 July 1977, ITV viewers were treated to a new commercial in the commercial break of Mr and Mrs. None other than Petula Clark informed the world that the Chrysler Sunbeam would “put a smile on your face”...
Last year I wrote about how, back in the summer of 1977, Petula Clark advised all ITV viewers to put a Chrysler Sunbeam in their lives. Such is the sheer unabashed cheesiness of this commercial – I would personally rate it as ‘Prime Stilton’ - that the achievement of the actual subject is sometimes overlooked...
In the late 1970s, a new Chrysler Sunbeam was the sort of car that cut a dash, one that seemed to belong in the same world as the hostess trolley and the Goblin Teasmade. A few people admiring one in the local shopping centre car park would have guessed it was developed at breakneck speed.
The clocks have changed, and there is a certain crispness in the air – in short, it is that time of the year when many classic sports car enthusiasts start considering a coupe rather than a convertible. However, the Sunbeam Alpine GT, with its detachable roof and soignée lines, really was the best of both worlds – assuming you only required two seats.
“By any standards the first new model to bear the Talbot name has superb performance; by the standards of any other small three-door hatchback saloon — even the Vauxhall Chevette 2300 HS — the performance of this 2.2-litre, 150 bhp Lotus-engined Sunbeam is absolutely sensational.”
It is a testament to the Sunbeam Rapier that it managed to cause a stir at the 1955 Earls Court Motor Show despite competition from the Citroën DS, the Jaguar 2.4 and the MGA to the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. Every detail, from the ivory-coloured steering wheel to the two-tone paint finish denoted ‘The car that has everything!’. Yes, here was an affordable grand tourer that was so up to the minute it even lacked a starter button.
At first sight, it could be a car that belongs to the world of La Dolce Vita; transport for Marcello Mastroianni or Sophia Loren to Rome’s finest nightclubs. Almost every detail is reminiscent of 1960s European glamour - until you notice the grille’s similarity to the Humber Sceptre Mk.I and the Sunbeam Rapier Mk. V. And while the coachwork was indeed the work of Carrozzeria Touring, the running gear hailed from Coventry.
A select group of cars are instantly likeable – cars such as the Sunbeam Imp Sport and the Singer Chamois Sport. Their combination of looks, performance and charm, are quite formidable – ‘Sparkling sports performance with luxury saloon comfort’, as the Rootes Group put it.
In 1981 John Simpson read an advertisement in Exchange and Mart for a 1966 Alpine Series V GT. The price was just £150, and the Sunbeam was located ‘only eight miles from my house’ but to suggest that it had enjoyed better days was a mild understatement.