Restored Sunbeam car set to shine at auction

It cost just a few hundred pounds when it was built back in 1926, but now this perfectly restored Sunbeam car is set to fetch between £130,000 and £160,000 at auction.

The 1926 Sunbeam 3.0-Litre Super Sports ‘Twin Cam’ Tourer was built in 1926 and was one of only 305 such Sunbeams produced between 1925 and 1930.

Since then its value has rocketed and auctioneers are confident that classic car lovers will be prepared to dig deep and splash out up to £160,000 when it goes under the hammer at a Bonhams auction.

The auction will be held at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire, on September 7.

It has been put up for sale by Sunbeam enthusiast Professor Alan Richens.

A spokesman for Bonhams said that the car represented ‘the very pinnacle of engineering excellence in the Vintage Era’ and that it ‘exudes’ period charm.

The Sunbeam was exported to Argentina when new in 1926 and spent the first 46 years of its life there, until it was brought back to Britain in 1972.

Since then it has had seven careful owners, including present owner Professor Richens.

Sunbeam,which originally made bicycles, was founded by Wolverhampton businessman John Marston in 1888.

In 1899, Marston moved his business to a larger factory, the Moorfield Works, at Upper Villiers Street, Wolverhampton, where he experimented with a number of prototype motor cars.

He decided in 1901 to make a prototype designed by Maxwell Maberley Smith, which was called the Sunbeam Mabley.

The formerly thriving motor factory in Wolverhampton has fallen into a state of disrepair and plans for its transformation have stalled amid struggles to find funding.

Thousands of workers were employed at the 1890-built workplace in its heyday, making it one of the region’s biggest employers.

One of the company’s largest achievements included producing the car which broke the world landspeed record at Daytona Beach in Florida in 1927 after hitting an incredible 203.79mph. Sunbeam closed in 1936 and Associated Motor Cycles took over the site in 1937, manufacturing radiators at the factory.

Production finished in 1999 with the loss of 60 jobs.

In 2009, the site was snapped up by Manchester-based Urban Splash, which was also behind the Fort Dunlop development in Birmingham. The purchase raised hopes the building could once again become a focal point for the city after years of uncertainty surrounding its future.

But with the developer short of cash to get the project off the ground, it could be years before the steel shutters are torn down and work can begin to breathe new life into the old factory.

During the auction, a replica of the 1912 Sunbeam Coupe de l’Auto will also be going under the hammer and is also expected to ignite the interest of enthusiasts.

The car is expected to fetch between £90,000 and £120,000.

This model of car raced in the 1912 French Grand Prix in Dieppe.