Lot Number

1961 Sunbeam Alpine Harrington Coupé

Sold For £64,960

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - SALON PRIVÉ 24 - 23 JUNE 2011

Chassis No.
B 9102730/OD/HRO

1,592 cc OHV inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with swinging links and coil springs, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs. Wheelbase: 86"

- The 1961 “Works” Le Mans entry; 2nd in class, Index of Thermal Efficiency winner

- Unique racing-purpose body modifications by Harrison Coachworks of London, England

- Restored to original specification by Rod Jolly and approved by Clifford Harrington

- Raced at 2000 and 2003 Goodwood Revival Meetings and Le Mans Winners Parade

Purpose-built for competition at Le Mans, this 1961 Alpine Coupé was originally registered 3000 RW and dispatched to Sussex-based coachbuilder Thomas Harrington & Sons Ltd. for body modifications based on the original Harrington Alpine Coupé that debuted at the London Motor Show. In addition to its sleek, glass-fibre fastback roof, 3000 RW also received an aerodynamic frontal treatment with covered headlamps prior to race-preparation as a “works” entry into the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Driven by Peter Harper and Peter Procter, it ran faultlessly and covered 2,194 miles at an average speed of over 91 mph. It finished second in class behind a Porsche and an amazing 16th overall, winning the Index of Thermal Efficiency and marking Sunbeam’s last major racing success. The limited-production Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans road model followed, with only 250 built.

After Le Mans, 3000 RW was converted for road use and returned to its original specification. It was not heard from for some time but was finally located 15 years later by Clive Harrington, the son of Clifford Harrington, its original creator, who found the car in remarkably complete condition including the engine block “EXP 421” and cylinder head “EXP1.” The Alpine was restored to period specification, including its sleek nose, during the 1990s with work performed by Rod Jolly and approved by Clifford Harrington. In 2000, the car raced in the UK for the first time at the Goodwood Revival Meeting, and in 2003 it returned to Goodwood. Offered in its period racing livery, 3000 RW is now fitted with a Holbay engine block, but the original block and cylinder head do accompany it at auction.

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