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1948 Sunbeam S7 - museum standard & On-The-Road SOLD

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  • £13,250 Or near offer
  • 1948
  • Ipswich
Not for sale - it has been sold via a Car and Classic Free Ad
Ad Type For Sale
Category Motorcycles
Make Sunbeam
Model S7 (early)
Year 1948
Country UK
Region Suffolk
Town Ipswich
Status Private
Ref C1231123
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          ' Katie '
      1948 Sunbeam S7 (early model)

This 1948 Sunbeam S7 has a three digit frame number, so she is an "early S7" model and not the later S7-Deluxe.

Anyone who has been looking to buy a very good example of this exceptional motorcycle, will know that they almost never come onto the market in this condition ..that being both correct in detail / original / standard spec. as required by a Museum ..and also fully reconditioned (late 2019) and On the Road.

Please see dropbox < - details above > Notice. These photos are under my copyright, and are not for circulation nor publication. Thank you.

This fine motorcycle is offered by Peter Bird, highly respected (now retired) professional in the restoration of post-war Sunbeam motorcycles. The only other he knows to be sold in similar condition was by the Bonhams Auction House in California (August 2012 - Quail Lodge Sale - Lot # 347). That very pretty bike was brought back to this country, to be extensively rebuilt by Peter ..who used 'Katie' (this / his own bike) to correct details and as a pattern to make its missing parts.

Perhaps best known for its OHC 500cc inline engine with internal oil ways, wet sump, and in-series clutch, gearbox and shaft-drive - the Sunbeam S7's design was astounding in the 1940's ..and seventy years on - people still stop in their tracks to admire the elegance of her clean Art-deco styling. Oh yes, the fat 16" tyres not only add to these bike's glorious stature but they also contribute to its unmatched comfort.

'Katie' was first registered on 22nd March 1948. She's 72 years old ..but still riding as if she were 25 years younger.!

She was saved and extensive restored in the 1980's ..when the correct early s7 parts were still available (I have a thick file of hand written correspondence between the owner and Stewart Engineering - Sunbeam Specialist, from this time) and again the engine was rebuilt in the late 1990's by a long-term and very active member of the Sunbeam Owner's Fellowship.

Please note the S7-deluxe is a similar bike but the early S7 differs in a thousand details. In no particular order : They featured centrally sprung front forks, inverted brake and clutch levers and concealed cables for the those and the bendix-type twist grip and handlebar's high-low headlamp switch.

Inside the engine is different too with a more responsive camshaft and a lighter crankshaft, cam-chain tensioner and a different flywheel. Fortunately consumables such as pistons & rings, bearings, seals & gaskets, brake & clutch parts and tyres - are all common to the later bikes ..so readily available. 

The early S7's centre-stand works with a ratchet which cleverly functions with both tyres still bearing weight on the ground or with the rear wheel lifted. And the single saddle is of cantilever design and bowl shaped for support. Its spring is within the frame's backbone and the rear of the seat is further insulated with rubber block hinges. It is very comfortable.

Katie joined Mr Bird's private collection in 2012, is historically a UK bike, is registered (V5) and maintained as road legal. Her documents include the UK 'buff' registration document and a generous pile of receipts. Retiring a few years ago, he is now selling the last of his private collection ..with just three special Sunbeam motorcycles left of the 14 he owned, plus a few classic cars.

At the end of last year (2019) he recommissioned Katie., and aside from the usual maintenance and adjustments, oil changes, servicing brakes, replacing the battery, etc., the tasks included : replacing both the wheels & tyres, respraying the petrol tank (in two-pack), replacing oil seals and the clutch, the speedometer was rebuilt, the dynamo armature was rewound, seat mountings rubbers renewed, the valve guides have been replaced and the cylinder head very lightly skimmed.

This bike is now roadworthy, recently road tested, and ought to be very usable and reliable. Furthermore, it is also correct in most every detail - so a worthy addition to any genuine collector or a museum.

Please contact Peter Bird with any specific query &/or more photos of this very special and highly unusual British motorcycle.

Thank you for your consideration.


p.s. For those of you in mainland Europe, we are located in the East of England near to the Harwich Ferry Port to Holland.

We are also nearby Felixstowe ..with its International Shipping-container Port. We would glad to assist your own shipping agent to transport ..as recently done with a classic car to New York.
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Edit 19th June : added link to Dropbox with 60+ additional photos. Please note those show a later dynamo (borrowed off my Sunbeam S8) as Katie's original had been sent off for it armature rewind.
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