By Gayvin Powers
The Sunbeam Alpine is a sassy, sporty, two-seater coupe launched in 1953 that went into production in 1959 by Rootes Group, a British car manufacturer, making the Alpine Series I-V. This quick little number could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 13.6 seconds and got 31.4 miles per gallon. The design was inspired by the Hillman Husky estate car, and the elegant lines combined with sassy details, like the fins and rounded head lamps, made it popular in films of that time. In 1960, Elizabeth Taylor sped through “Butterfield 8” in a red Series I Sunbeam Alpine, James Bond raced a lake blue Series II in the 1962 release of “Dr. No,” and in a white 1968 Sunbeam, Michael Caine saved a woman in “Get Carter.”
The featured car this month is a 1963 Sunbeam Alpine III, owned by Kim Barnes of Pylesville, Maryland, who put this green beauty on display in 2013 at the Concours d’Elegance in Pinehurst. The three year restoration of Barnes’ car shows off thoughtful details in the design, including the lion and crown hood ornament (left), spoke wheels, burled walnut accents (dashboard and steering wheel) and black leather interior that is edged in seacrest green.
Barnes says that she and her husband “were looking for a Sunbeam Tiger at the time. I’ve always been a lover of big fins, but most fins are on large cars. I prefer fast, sporty cars. We found ‘Tiffany’ (the Sunbeam Alpine) in a barn on an alpaca farm. She was covered by a tarp, but I saw those fins sticking out. It had the fins and that was it.”
The seacrest green color is quite something to behold in person. Seacrest green was the select Sunbeam racing liverly from 1960 thru 1963. When spectators saw a car race past in signature seacrest green they knew it was a Sunbeam.
To see Barnes’ latest restoration, check out her restored Sunbeam Tiger (in red) at the Concours d’Elegance in Pinehurst on May 2.