In the 1960s England ruled the market for affordable sport cars. These UK imports offered everything from starter sports cars, such as the Healey Sprite and Triumph Spitfire. They had offerings in the middle such as the Triumph TR4 and MGB, and then moved up the scale to Austin-Healey 3000s and Jaguar E-Types.
With all of these offerings there some interesting in-between cars; cars placed between two different price points that offered either better performance or higher-end build quality. One of these models, which placed itself between the MGB/TR4 class and the Healey 3000s, was the Sunbeam Alpine.
The Sunbeam Alpine project began in 1956 when the Rootes Group decided to create a new sports car aimed directly at the U.S. market. The car was designed by Kenneth Howes and Jeff Crompton, with Howes doing most of the overall design. Before joining the Rootes project Howes had been part of the Studebaker team at Lowey studios, followed by Ford in Detroit. They used a modified Hillman Husky chassis for the underpinnings of the Alpine, as well as raiding other Rootes Group cars for various bits needed, and added front disc brakes.
When the Alpine was launched in 1959 it offered a modern sports car look, including roll up windows, a amazing but tricky to erect top that actually kept out the elements. It also featured a seam-welded monocoque bodyshell of great strength backed up by an X-brace to further stiffen the chassis. In many ways it was the most advanced small-bore sports car available from the UK at the time, and predated the TR4, MGB and others with the levels of comfort and performance.
In 1962 the Sunbeam Alpine was featured in the first installment of a brand-new film series titled “Dr. No”, when it was driven by Sean Connery in his debut performance as James Bond. Basically, among the various classic cars that Bond drove over the years the Alpine is the most inexpensive of them all.
The Morgantown, Pennsylvania dealer offering this car describes it as having an all original rust-free body with excellent paint. They describe the interior as also being in great shape with all period instruments working correctly and no modifications from new. They add that the car drive well and has no needs to be immediately enjoyed by its next owner.
If you have always wanted a British car and are looking for something that is not a Triumph or an MG, this Alpine might be just the car you are looking for. At an asking price of $23,500 it looks to be a remarkable value. To get an average Alpine to this level, which I would call an B-, would likely cost more than the asking price for this car.