- Mileage: 57,840
- Year: 1980
- MOT Expiry: March 2021
- Exterior Colour: Cherry Red
- Interior Colour: Black Velour
- Top speed: TBC
- 0-60mph: TBC
- BHP: 100
- Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
- Engine Capacity: 1598cc
- Engine Configuration: Inline 4
The Chrysler Sunbeam was a small three-door hatchback manufactured by Chrysler Europe at the former Rootes Group factory in Linwood, Scotland, from 1977 to 1981. The Sunbeam's development was funded by a British government grant with the aim of keeping the Linwood plant running, and the small car was based on the larger Hillman Avenger, also manufactured there. After the takeover of Chrysler's European operations by PSA in 1979, the model was renamed Talbot Sunbeam and continued in production until 1981. A Talbot Sunbeam Lotus version was successful in rallying and won the World Rally Championship manufacturers’ title for Talbot in 1981.
After a remarkably short development period of 19 months, the Sunbeam was launched in July 1977 to a quite positive reception by the British automotive press. There were initially three engine sizes (a 0.9, 1.3, and 1.6-litre) and three trim levels available, the base ‘LS’, better-equipped ‘GL’, and the most expensive ‘GLS’.
In order to boost the Sunbeam's image, a hot hatch version was launched at the 1978 British International Motor Show and Paris Motor Show, called the ‘Sunbeam Ti’. The 1.6-litre engine was fitted with twin Weber carburettors and delivered 100hp. It featured sporty two-tone paint and body kit, and was very sport-oriented, being stripped of equipment that would have compromised its performance. It proved quite popular with reviewers and enthusiasts and helped to emphasize the advantages of the Sunbeam's rear-wheel drive against more trendy front-wheel drive rivals.
Chrysler also commissioned Lotus to develop a strict rally version of the Sunbeam. The resulting ‘Sunbeam Lotus’ was based on the 1.6 GLS – as featured here – but fitted with stiffer suspension, a larger anti-roll bar, and a larger transmission tunnel. The drivetrain comprised of a 2.2-litre Lotus engine mated with a ZF gearbox. In road trim, the car produced 150hp, but in rallying trim this was increased to a whopping 250hp!
Cherry Red paintwork, Black vinyl roof, Black velour upholstery, Twin Weber 40 carburettors, Five-speed manual transmission, 8-spoke Revolution alloy wheels in gold, Rally-style spotlights with covers, Sports steering wheel, Original peak number plates, Laminated windscreen, Heated rear window, Rear parcel shelf, Split-folding rear seats, Spare wheel.
The Talbot Sunbeam is a rare sight on the roads today, and this pre-production facelift example is rarer still. As one of the factory press cars it’s understood that this very GLS in gleaming Cherry Red was used and photographed for the 1980 manufacturer sales brochure – a copy of which is included in the accompanying History File.
As per factory specification this 1.6 GLS is equipped with a black vinyl roof, which presents in great condition. The bodywork is also finished to a good standard following a bare metal refurbishment some years ago. Looking closely, the majority of trims appear original throughout but do show some light patina. Four rally-style fog lamps mounted to the front bumper really add to the sense of occasion.
Additional photos, videos, and inspection report provided on request. FREE DELIVERY available within 150 miles - please call us for a discounted rate if you live further away.
The plush velour seats present well front and rear, with no signs of any wear to the soft upholstery. Dressed in black, the modest cabin retains a very classic feel with minimal switchgear and no unsightly modern ‘upgrades’ – even the parcel shelf is free from damage having never been fitted with aftermarket speakers. The sporty Talbot steering wheel is also in great shape, and glancing across the dash there are no cracks to be found.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The original 1.6-litre engine has been fully rebuilt and subtly upgraded with a performance camshaft and pistons, double spring head, four branch manifold, and twin Weber 40s. The unit is mated to a five-speed gearbox, through which power is transferred to the rear wheels. Upon arrival with us the car was freshly MOT’d and fully inspected for the new keeper’s peace of mind.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The Sunbeam sits on an unmarked set of Revolution alloys finished in gold. The wheels are shod in a matching set of Nankang tyres, each one with plenty of tread remaining. Out on the road the brakes to a fine job of stopping the car quickly and in a straight line.
This rare and unique 1.6 GLS was first registered in October 1980. It has now driven just 57k miles from new in the hands of only five keepers. Inside the accompanying History File you’ll find the dealer-supplied Talbot document pack, service booklet, owner’s manuals, and original sales brochure featuring this particular car. The low mileage is well documented with numerous MOT certificates dating right back to 1983, when the car was just three years old.
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