London,The Jack Barclay Showroom
16 June 2003
1932 SUNBEAM 23.4HP LIMOUSINE
COACHWORK BY SUNBEAM
Registration No. FS 2120
Chassis No. 7124P
Engine no. 7042P
Grey primer with black leather interior
Engine: Six cylinders in-line, push-rod overhead valves, 3.3 litres; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf spring with live rear axle; Brakes: four-wheel hydraulic drum. Right-hand drive.
From the foundation of the Company in 1899 and the formation of the Motor Cars factory in 1905, Sunbeam vehicles were renowned for their quality of engineering and reliability. During the pre-WWI era they enjoyed a remarkable growth in a variety of production machines including motor cycles, and enjoyed success in motor sport with purpose-built racing cars as well. This trend continued into the early 1920s, with Sunbeam racing cars forming the basis of the first 'Bluebird' landspeed record cars of Sir Malcolm Campbell; but with the take-over and combine with Talbot and Darracq in England, the sporting element of Sunbeam was allowed to wane.
However their engineering standards remained constantly high and touring Sunbeams of the 1920s and early 1930s were cars of great refinement if not outstanding performance, with basic designs, especially chassis layout, largely unchanged since the mid-1920s with semi-elliptic and cantilever rear springing set-up. In 1932 however the basic "16" model was enlarged to 2.2 litres and the "20" to just over 3 litres giving increased power output, rather evidently needed by the larger coachbuilt motor cars. The famous 'Silent-third' gearbox giving way to full synchromesh in 1933 as a further improvement in driveability, whilst four-wheel brakes became standard on all models from 1926, being hydraulically operated by the early 1930s.
This particular car is a rarity amongst Sunbeams, as it would appear only 36 remain in existence of which only two have special limousine bodywork. In this case a high-quality coachbuilt version, with special interior division having a curved glass partition and additional fold-down seats in the rear compartment with leather upholstery in black hide specified throughout. The aluminium panelling for the ash-framed body, configured by Sunbeam's own bodybuilding workshops was originally finished in a colour-scheme of dark blue with black painted steel wings. Instrumentation is by Jaeger to the usual high standard, whilst electrical equipment included Lucas lighting and 'Bi-Flex' headlamps. Firstly and thereafter always registered in Scotland, it was believed laid up during the war although at the present time not much early history is known, however the car was last used on the road in 1953, as the last surviving tax-disc proclaims. The present vendor has owned the car for over 30 years and in that time has completed some renovation work but has never recommisioned the car for road use. Currently the car is complete, the engine has been running and the car can be moved under its own power, albeit with jury-rigged fuel supply. The brakes have been rebuilt. The interior leather is all original and would be capable of preservation with the right application. Woodwork is sound and new floorboards have been made. Bodywork has good fitment and all panels have been rubbed down in primer grey awaiting choice of paint colour for final coats. The headlining is in good original condition beneath the fabric-covered roof. Chrome-work will need some replating. Instrumentation appears complete however re-wiring will have to be undertaken due to perishing over time. The car is fitted with 20inch wire-spoke wheels, which in turn are fitted with 'Ace'-pattern all-weather discs. There is a large luggage rack fitted to the rear of the body. An impressive and rare motor car which would amply reward a care and attention to finish the restoration.
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