Wednesday, February 17, 2010

1969 Sunbeam Alpine GT (Alpine Fastback)

It's really good to see this car in this condition. This was the last Sunbeam badged car sold in the US. It was a tough sell. Sunbeam had made a name for itself with the Alpine and Tiger roadsters. This car, a coupe that bore more than a passing resemblance to the Plymouth Barracuda (Chrysler owned Rootes by the time this car was introduced), was not what auto buyers in the US expected to find at a Sunbeam dealership.

Of the few that did sell, most were scrapped after they outlived their usefulness. The few I've seen for sale in recent years were basket cases that usually needed a full restoration.

Looking at this car makes you realize just how nice looking it is. If you squint, the front end resembles a Jensen Interceptor. The body has some nice styling touches such as the little kick up by the rear side windows and the sharp fold on the trunk lid. The only letdown in the design is the huge amount of rear overhang, which may be due in part to the car's Hillman Hunter station wagon underpinnings.

While the Alpine GT looked nice, it's performance was underwhelming. The engine was Rootes tried and true 1725cc 4, which is durable and fairly smooth, but took almost 15 seconds to propel the car to 60 MPH.

This car has been restored, but it's not perfect. The wood veneer on the dash needs to be redone and there are a few chips in the windshield. All-in-all though, this is a very presentable car.

This is a car you buy for its uniqueness. As the seller writes, "This car stands out where ever it is and you WILL be the only one with an Alpine fastback at any event you go to." I can't agree more. The last time I saw an Alpine GT in person was at an all Sunbeam event back in the 1980s. The owner, a Sunbeam guru known as "Tiger Tom", had dropped a Mazda rotary engine in it. I have never seen a stock Alpine GT at any show, anywhere.

This is another one of those cars that if I had unlimited money and storage space, I'd buy in a minute.

Located in Salem, OR, click here to see the eBay listing.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I owned one of these while living in Orlando, Flodida. I ONLY sold it because I really needed [unavailable] air conditioning. I'd take it back in a second, were it available

chris said...

I own one in Colorado, it is complete, but needing lots of TLC. The original 1725 is dead, but I have plans to swap in a small block Chrysler motor this summer. They are nice looking cars, and few survive, so rather unique.

Darren said...

I own one and its in decent shape body wise interior needs tlc im have a heck of a time finding any parts for it anyone knows where i can get stuff let me know

ebad46 said...

I own a 1969 Sunbeam Alpine GT with 67000 actual miles. Great car but I need parts like water pump, air filters 1725cc engine. Could anyone help me? Thanks

Anonymous said...

If you need parts you might contact Corey's Auto Wreckers in London, Ontario. They used to have several Alpines, although that was many years ago. The last time I needed parts for my Sunbeam Arrow, the part came from Australia!

ebad46 said...

I actually found a new water pump still in original box in Missouri,and believe it or not 2 new Lucas tail lite lenses complete with gaskets and new screws still in oem boxes in Ohio. I would love to have a good drivers door if anyone out there wants to part with one .surely there's a few 69-70 Alpines left somewhere!!!

chris said...

Would love to find some tail light assemblies, not urgent, but mine have a few cracks that it wouldn't take too much to ruin them. Good to know that there are a few pieces floating around still!

Rick said...

This car is still for sale. email rickcjmc@aol.com for info. Priced at $4500.

Anonymous said...

Bought a new left over 1969 in 1970Dark Red with black interior. For such a smaller car, trunk was huge. Don't know how they did it, but interior air flow with windows up, was almost enough to mess up your hair at speed. Race wrench at the time, wife, 2 kids, big cooler, lugage for a week end fit fine. Decent gas mileage. I don't remember it being real slow, just you had to wind it up tight before shifting. Very good crusier, comfortable. Lost it by uninsured rear end hit. Closer to me in Ohio, I'd have to go look.

Anonymous said...

The car pictured is a plain Sunbeam Alpine, NOT an Alpine GT. Alpine GT's had full instrumentation, tach, wider chrome strip on trunk, different type of vinyl on the seats ("ambler" breathable), an aluminum head and twin carbs. 94HP instead of 73. I've owned several '69 Alpine GT's over the years.

Just A Car Geek said...

Hi Anon -

To the best of my knowledge all 1969-1970 Rapiers were sold as Alpine GTs in the US. (less then 5000 were sold here.)

Regards,
Dave

trish said...

When I was a little girl, I was so tiny that I liked to ride up on the space where the back window was located. No I wasn't a toddler and back then people usually didn't use seatbelt.I loved riding in that car, especially when my parents drove the sunbeam on vacation in the Canadian wilderness. I remember that my dad didn't have to tinker around with it much either. I wish whoever was selling it could send me some photos of it, especially the interior!!! Trish Scruton (The cat photo and not the other person).On Facebook Thanks just in case the owner reads these posts or someone else would like to share sunbeam photos.

Anonymous said...

I owned a 69 GT in California back in the 70's. You could get it going fairly quickly with the dual 'stromberg' carbs that it came with. They would vibrate out of sinc if you pounded it , and didn't have a great top end but it would serpentine pretty good on the road. Fun driver

darren said...

i have a 69 alpine gt fastback pretty good shape fresh paint not so great body work but solid as hell with some electrical gremlins go figure . i am considering selling it if anyone is interested contact me darlaih@yahoo.com

chris said...

Found rear taillight assemblies on e-bay as well as brake shoes for the rear. Amazing that NOS pieces still are here and there, Ohio in this case. I'm stocking up on any wear items that I can as I find them. Now if I could just find window seals...I'd be very excited!

Steve said...

I have some Alpine GT parts. Tail light lens motor etc...
Steve scinm@comcast.net

humberholman said...

Speedy spares are the best people in the UK for sunbeam and rootes spares, prices are very reasonable and they are helpful too....

www.speedyspares.co.uk

Anonymous said...

I had one when I lived in Nova Scotia. It was a great car and I would love to have another. I ended out getting rid of it cause of an electrical short that nobody could seem to locate. (1969 Fastback).

Rootesrefuge said...

Just A Car Geek said:

"To the best of my knowledge all 1969-1970 Rapiers were sold as Alpine GTs in the US. (less then 5000 were sold here.)"

There were two models sold in the US, and as anon said this car is in fact an Alpine coupe. Single carb engine instead of the GTs dual carbs, basic instruments instead of full gauges plus numerous trim differences. I've owned several over the years of both models. Great cars, and not that hard to get spares for if you're prepared to order from overseas.

Just A Car Geek said...

Rootesrefuge - Thanks for the clarification. (And I meant "than," not "then." ;-) )