Sunbeam
Like many of their contemporaries, Sunbeam started as bicycle manufacturers.  Their first car, the Sunbeam-Mabley, was a strange device, looking rather like a Victorian sofa on wheels, powered by a single cylinder 326cc engine. More conventional were the Thomas Pullinger designed models based on the French Berliet car. These 12 hp Sunbeams were solidly made fours, produced between 1902 and 1905. 
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In 1909 the Breton designer, Louis Coatalen, joined the Wolverhampton company.  He was responsible for the cars which achieved a sensational 1-2-3 victory for the marque in the Coupe de Auto race of 1912.   This was with a modified version of the SV 3 litre 12/16 hp model which remained in production until 1921. 

 

The Sunbeam, Talbot, Darracq combine was created in 1920.  The 16 hp and 24 hp Sunbeam models received ohv in 1922, while a six-cylinder car, the 16/50 hp, joined the range in 1924.  A magnificent dohc 3 litre six cylinder was announced for 1924 and made in small numbers until 1930.  The company's racing program was maintained.  The marque's outstanding victory being Segrave's win in the 1923 French Grand Prix, the first British GP victory.  He repeated his success at the following year's San Sebastian event.  Sunbeams maintained their careful, well-engineered designs into the 1930s, a new model being the 2.9 litre Speed model of 1933.

 

The collapse of the unwieldy STD combine in 1935 saw a takeover by the Rootes Group.  Consequently there were no Sunbeams in 1938 and the name was combined with Talbot to create the Sunbeam-Talbot of 1939.  Sunbeam-Talbots were merely luxury versions of Hillman and Humber models.

The Sunbeam name did not re-appear in its own right until 1953 with the announcement of the Sunbeam Alpine, a two-seater variant of the Sunbeam Talbot 90.  Three years later came the Hillman Minx based Rapier, starting with a 1.4 litre engine, later increased to 1.5 litres.  On the sports car front, further versions of the Alpine theme followed. 

 

In 1964 came the Tiger, basically an Alpine fitted with a 4.3 litre Ford V 8.  An exercise in badge engineering was the Sunbeam Stiletto, a coupe version of the Hillman Imp, though the fastback Rapier of 1968 was a distinctive offering.  "Sunbeam" was used as a model name for the front engined Chrysler of 1977, a far cry from its Grand Prix ancestry.

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