Launched in 1948, the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 was a fine sporting car built by the Rootes Group in Ryton, Coventry and was to be the last car to bear the Sunbeam-Talbot name.
The bodywork was completely new and sold as a four-door saloon, two-door drophead coupé and later on as a two-door roadster in the form of the Alpine. The saloon featured a distinctive ‘pillarless’ join between the glass on the rear door and the rear quarter window and the car went through three versions before production stopped in 1954.
The original had a 64bhp 1,944cc side-valve four-cylinder engine derived from a pre-war Humber unit carried over from the Sunbeam-Talbot 2-Litre. The chassis was based on the Ten model with a wider track and the brakes were updated to full hydraulics.
In 1950 the MkII version gained a stiffer chassis with independent front suspension using coil springs and the engine was enlarged to 2,267cc with overhead valves. Power was up at 70bhp. A coupé version tested by ‘The Motor’ in 1952 had a top speed of 85.2mph and could accelerate from 0-60 in 20.2 seconds. They were sporting cars in their day and very successful in International Rallies, driven by Shelia Van Damm amongst others.
This 1952 MkII Drophead Coupe was purchased by the vendor through Westdale Classics in 2010. Sadly nothing is known of its early life, the car having been restored sometime in the early ‘90s when its colour was changed from bronze to Old English White. It changed hands again in 1992, its new owner keeping it until 2009.
The car retains its original upholstery which remains in nicely patinated condition (there are a few repairs here and there) and the bodywork is in sound presentable condition including the hood.
The vendor has driven it around 4,000 miles, undertaking a number of improvements along the way. A set of five Avon Tourist tyres and tubes were fitted shortly after he acquired the car at a cost of £655 and he has steam cleaned and carefully waxoiled the underside. In addition, the rear wheel arches and spats have been treated with Rust Buster Epoxymastic 121, a tough and hard wearing protective covering.
The brakes have been overhauled with rebuilt cylinders as required and the head has been surface ground and the valve seats recut. The engine has also had new core plugs, the sump removed and cleaned and the distributor reconditioned by the Distributor Dr which cost £249.
The chrome is in good order and the tool kit is present in the boot as it should be. The car also has a stainless steel exhaust, a new battery and has just had a comprehensive service and so is ready to go.
A spare differential and rear brake cylinder are included in the sale, the documents folder including an original lubrication chart, factory workshop manual and four recent MOTs, the current owner believing that although exempt from such things, an MOT is an important safety measure, its current MOT expiring in April 2017.
Elegantly proportioned and with a fair turn of speed, this highly usable Drophead Coupe looks like a particularly civilised way to travel.