SUNBEAM TALBOT 90 MKIII REVIEW

Prices are rising for these saloons, so now is the perfect time to take a look

The 90 might look conservative but the Sunbeam sold more than 22,000

The 90 might look conservative but the Sunbeam sold more than 22,000

The Ryton-built Sunbeam Talbot 90 range was launched in 1948 and evolved into the MkIII version by 1956 when production ended. Changes included enlarged air intakes on each side of the front grille, and three ‘porthole’ vents at the rear of the front wings. Independent front suspension was also added as was a larger, more powerful engine that was based on a Humber unit – both of which vastly improved the handling and driveability of the 90. The Talbot name was dropped for this version too. 


VITAL STATISTICS

Sunbeam 90 MkIII

Engine                                    2267cc/4-cylinder/OHV

Power (bhp@rpm)                  80bhp@4400rpm

Torque (lb ft@rpm)                 121lb ft@2400rpm

Top speed                                93mph

0-60mph                                  17.4sec

Consumption                            23mpg

Gearbox                                    4-speed manual


WHAT TO LOOK FOR

BODYWORK & CHASSIS

Rust is something of a problem with the 90. It can strike in all the expected places including the front wings, particularly around the headlamps, front cooling vents, and at the rear where they meet the doors. Pay close attention to the sills, bottoms of the doors, the inner and outer skin of the rear wheel arches, and the lower edge of the boot lid. Other trouble spots include the spare wheel well, and the point where the rear wing and boot floor meet – the felt pads applied to the inside of the panels soak up moisture.  

 

ENGINE

The Humber-based unit is well-proven and durable with regular maintenance, and came with a cylinder head and alloy con-rods that were unique to the 90. Oil leaks from the sump and rear main crankshaft seal can be an annoyance but are easily cured, while a healthy cooling system is vital for longevity. Silting-up of the engine block and radiator can cause hot running so watch for signs of overheating on the test drive. Replacing the radiator with an uprated unit from the Alpine is a popular and worthwhile modification. 

 

RUNNING GEAR

The 90 was fitted with a four-speed manual ‘box and column shift as standard, with overdrive an optional extra (worth having for the improved cruising ability). Apart from worn synchromesh and shift linkages there is little to worry about here, though it’s worth mentioning that a conversion to a floor-mounted shift was a popular modification. A dealership in Leicester offered these in period, the fitting of a Hillman Hunter gearbox being a more recent solution – expect to pay somewhere over £2000 for this to be done. It’s not unheard of for cracks to appear in the rear axle carrier around the differential, which is bad news as parts are hard to obtain, so don’t ignore any problems here. Other issues to watch for include play in the steering box, worn front wishbone mounts and kingpins, leaking dampers; and sagging rear leaf springs. The drum brakes are more than up to the task of slowing the heavy Sunbeam as long as they have been set-up properly, so the attention of a specialist is often all that’s needed to improve braking performance.  

 


INTERIOR

Check leather seats, carpets, and door trims carefully and adjust the asking price accordingly if they are particularly tatty. Old wiring can present a risk on any classic of this age, more so if previous owners have been tempted to uprate lighting. One area worth checking closely is the sliding sunroof that was fitted as standard to the 90 range. Make sure there are no signs of water leaks.

 


OUR VERDICT

If you’re after a spacious, comfortable classic then the Sunbeam 90 makes a lot of sense. Solid build quality and good driving manners make it very usable on a daily basis as well as ideal for long-distance touring. So all told a good all-rounder which is what many of us want from our classic car. The 90 is decent value at the moment too, and although prices are slowly beginning to rise for the best examples, a well-cared for car shouldn’t break the bank to run.

Recently Added

P1020415Sponsored Ad
£19,995
  • 1,234
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1100158
Mini Cooper Sport 2001 1 Owner Just 1234 Miles from New. Mint
10
02085 012727
View details
1tSponsored Ad
1967
€37,950
cabriolet V8 1967 in good condition
  • 28,315
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 LHD
  • Refcode: TA1100159
This Ford Mustang convertible was delivered in 1967. The car has beautiful white paint and fabulo...
8
+31 416 751393
View details
Austin   2 x3Sponsored Ad
£34,000
  • 84,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1071258
Vintage and Prestige are proud to offer this 1959 Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite For Sale. Registra...
20
01375 379719
View details
2013 mercedes e 350 2 x3Sponsored Ad
2013
£29,900
  • 10,500
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 Other
  • Refcode: TA1100096
2013 Mercedes Benz E-Class (212) E350 Sport Saloon Petrol V6 Left Hand Drive Chassis number: WDDH...
20
01375 379719
View details
Ab28mrext8Sponsored Ad
1938
£95,000
High Vision
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1100154
Displayed on the HJ Mulliner stand at the 1938 London Motor it must have caused quite a sensation...
6
01248 489 220
View details
Bentley mk vi 202 xuc 2 x3Sponsored Ad
1951
£25,000
  • 1,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1100153
Vintage and Prestige are proud to offer this 1951 Bentley MK VI Standard Steel Saloon For Sale Th...
20
01375 379719
View details
Received 10212172386598711Sponsored Ad
1994
£300
E 1.9TDI
  • 196,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: DIY1100106
Spares/Repairs/Project. Laser red. 6 owners. Electric sunroof. Lots of history. Starts & drives. ...
9
07552283358
View details
F94448a3 6641 40a3 9138 1b435077f784Sponsored Ad
1986
£13,500
528i Lux
  • 78,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: DIY1100104
Alpine white, original interior, missing dashboard, exterior in very good condition, engine compl...
9
07724527609
View details
174Sponsored Ad
2013
£165,000
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1049618
Rolls-Royce Phantom - March 2013
3
01371 809 874
View details
Ghost 2012Sponsored Ad
2012
£122,500
  • 20,000
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Automatic
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1088224
April 2012 Lunar Blue with Crème Light hide and Burr Walnut veneer. Fitted with comfort entry sys...
3
01371 809 874
View details
See All Classic Cars for Sale