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1981 TALBOT SUNBEAM Lotus - £35,000

  •  20170410 095228
  • Sunbeam 4
  • Sunbeam 5
  • Sunbeam 3
  • Sunbeam 6
  • Dsc 1607
  • Sunbeam 2
  • Photo 3
  • Img 20170522 005500 246


This fantastic example was originally supplied in Moonstone Blue and is currently undergoing a full bare metal restoration. The shell has been dipped, painted and waxoyled and is being reassembled to MSA historic rally specification. The car will be eligible for many historic rally events.

Specification: Skip Brown engine (SB cams, ported head, Cosworth pistons). All running gear powder coated and refurbished. All new bushes and bearings. Adjustable dampers. Adjustable coil-overs up front. Rear disc conversion. 4 pot front calipers. MSA weld in rollcage. Plate type LSD rebuilt with new plates and bearings. Loads of new parts clutch, laminated screen, tons of spares including the original interior etc.

The shell was rebuilt with new sills, and all bad metal has been cut-out and replaced - the arches are alloy, not fibreglass, and the steel floorpan is modified to accept large cross-section wheels. Also supplied is a pair of new Corbeau G8s, possibly the coolest '70s / '80s rally bucket seats in the world.

The car is an original Lotus on a "DAC" plate (one of the last 150 built).

Prospective buyers may choose from a very impressive specification at £32,000, or add optional specification as they see fit at additional cost. For example, taking power even higher to Group 4 spec is possible, but not for the faint hearted!


The Chrysler Sunbeam first appeared with three engine variants, 930cc, 1300cc and 1600cc. The sporty end of the market was soon catered for with the 1600cc Ti model with 100bhp and 0-60mph in under 10 seconds - very respectable in the late seventies, but Chrysler knew that this was insufficient to mount a serious challenge in the rallying world against Ford RS Escorts and Vauxhall HS Chevettes.

Chrysler had already spotted the potential of the Sunbeam but needed serious power. Nothing in the Chrysler range was likely to prove adequate. Suddenly an obvious solution presented itself; Lotus had been supplying 2 litre engines to Jensen Healey, who had recently ceased trading. A standard 160bhp 2 litre and a modified version producing over 230bhp were sourced for testing. Testing began in earnest and the car competed in several events where homologation was not required. Lotus subsequently developed their engine into a 2.2 litre unit designated type 911.

The competition engine was initially uprated to 234bhp (later increasing further) and featured 48mm carburettors and a compression ratio of 11:1. Once Talbot took delivery of this they set about re-building it with components of their own choosing Cosworth pistons, for example. To enable these to compete, 400 cars had to be produced to satisfy homologation rules. Chrysler's ambitions were for a run of 4500 engines, and homologation was achieved for April 1 1979 on the basis of 32 pre-production cars converted by the Service Department - these filled the factory's service workshops and gave the right impression of progress to the FIA delegates at a time when production cars were not quite ready to roll off the lines.

The Chrysler Sunbeam Lotus was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1979, but deliveries did not start until summer of that year. By this time, Chrysler UK had been sold to the French Peugeot concern who changed the name to the Talbot Motor Company. With the exception of the very first pre-production models, all road cars were officially known as Talbots.

Originally the cars were only available in Embassy Black with broad silver side stripes and grey interior, and the very early cars also boasted twin exit exhaust pipes. For the 1981 model year, Moonstone Blue paintwork became the only available colour, although customers were offered a choice of silver or black stripes.

The Talbot Sunbeam Lotus took part in international rallying from 1979 to 1982 and won the World Championship for Talbot in 1981. Its most famous achievement was at the 1980 Lombard-RAC rally, Britain's round of the World Rally Championship, where Henri Toivonen became the event's youngest ever winner and Sunbeam Lotus cars finished 1st, 3rd and 4th - the last time a two-wheel drive car won the RAC.

Sunbeam Lotus works drivers included the late Henri Toivonen, Guy Fréquelin (co-driven by Jean Todt) who narrowly missed out on being the Driver's World Champion in 1981, Stig Blomqvist, Tony Pond, Andrew Cowan and Jean-Pierre Nicolas. Russell Brookes also competed in a works-built car, privately sponsored by Andrews Heat for Hire. At the end of the 1982 season many of the Talbot team transferred to Paris where their experience contributed to the success of Peugeot-Talbot's new rally contender, the 205 T16.

  • 0 Miles
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • RefCode: TA1046635

Other Classic Talbot Sunbeam Cars for Sale

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  • 6,100
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 Manual
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1082415
Full service history, 5 speed Dogleg Box, LSD, Uprated suspension, CD player, leather seats,super...
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