• Solid and presentable Sunbeam Talbot
• Desirable ‘90’ variant
• Interior retrimmed and in good order
• Cherished car from long-term ownership
Announced in 1948, the Sunbeam Talbot was a car heavily influenced by the American styling themes of the time.
It's curvy front, pointed bonnet, sweeping curves and art deco profile were very much features seen in the more luxurious cars of the day, while the model was also well-regarded for its lively performance.
It could be ordered as a four door saloon or a particularly stylish drophead coupe, the latter of which is a desirable car among collectors today.
There were two models: the 80 and the 90, the latter of which was one of the sportiest cars of its day, especially after 1950 and the launch of the MK II, when it acquired a larger 2,267cc engine, making it capable of speeds in excess of 80mph.
In 1952, it evolved into the MkII A with a higher compression ratio and even livelier performance. And that's what we have here – a 1952 Sunbeam Talbot 90 MkII A drophead coupe, which was essentially the best of the bunch.
This car is a somewhat older restoration that has come from long term ownership. The current keeper acquired it over 15 years ago from somebody who was fairly well known in the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register and in the time that he's owned it he's used it quite a lot, maintaining it as and when required and keeping on top of any essential repair work.
But with the need to buy a new modern car as a result of the London Ultra Low Emission Zone extension, as well as acknowledging the fact that he's not getting any younger, the vendor has decided to reluctantly part with it.
There isn't a huge amount of paperwork with the car other than its UK V5C and a handful of more recent receipts for parts acquired by the owner.
However, it has been well maintained by the vendor and he has kept in touch with the gentleman he bought the car from, who would also be happy to verify that the car has been looked after and maintained as required for at least the past 30 years.
Please don't be under any illusion – this is a car with bags of potential, but it's not one that's going to win any show prizes in the near future.
It has been restored during its life, albeit many years ago, and the good news here is that it is mostly solid and in superb structural order where it matters.
However, there are many areas that would require cosmetic attention should you wish to bring it up to immaculate condition. The paint surface is crazed and cracked on many of the panels, there are traces of rust at the bottom of both rear wheel arches and also on the door bottoms, and there are various areas of mismatched paint or small amounts of surface damage.
The vendor reports that he thought about getting some work done on the car on many an occasion, but on the other hand he thought that its slightly edgy appearance actually gave it immense character and he was more focused on ensuring that it remained in solid condition and good mechanical order. We tend to agree with him, as the car has a gorgeous patina and it looks great from 10 paces.
One area where the vendor did invest in some cosmetic restoration work was the car’s interior. The cream leather has been retrimmed and new carpets fitted throughout, which have really given it a lift inside.
The Bakelite steering wheel and metal dashboard are all in good serviceable condition, with the highlight of the interior being a period valve-powered radio. Sadly, this no longer functions. However, the vendor reports that it did work when he first bought the car 15 years ago and that therefore should be relatively easy to repair.
In the boot, there’s a pop-on tonneau cover, while the drophead roof itself is in good condition with no rips, nicks or tears.
The cabin itself is very old-fashioned with a high floor and narrow sides, while the driving position dictates that you sit close to the steering wheel. It's a wonderfully rewarding and analogue experience that's so far removed from driving a modern car, yet the beauty of the Sunbeam Talbot 90 is that it has the pace to hold its own in frantic modern traffic.
The 2,267cc in-line four is a fairly advanced and lively unit for its age and it appears to be in good health. On the day of our visit, it fired up instantly on the first pull of the starter and both idled and revved happily.
The seller reports that it is in good mechanical health and that the column change gearbox is a delight to use, selecting all gears easily and with a smooth and progressive clutch action. He has been keen to maintain the car properly throughout his ownership and this is reflected in its mechanical condition.
There are two different ways to look at this car. the first is to own and enjoy it completely ‘as is’ and to appreciate it as an old-fashioned but charming vehicle that is brimming with character and has a wonderful patina about it.
The second is as the perfect basis for a full-scale restoration, as it is in fundamentally sound condition, is solid in all of the places that matter and is in largely original order. It would make a superb project and would not require a huge amount of work to make into a truly stunning example.
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