• Year of manufacture 
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1919 Sunbeam 16HP Tourer
Registration no. CJ 2740
Chassis no. 5030/19

Dating from 1919, this highly original 16hp tourer is the earliest known post-Great War Sunbeam. The accompanying old-style logbook (issued 1958) records the date of original registration as 25th January 1921, this being shortly after the introduction of the Roads Act of 1920, which required local councils to register all vehicles at the time of licensing and to allocate a separate number to each. (Many vehicles, although in existence for several years in some cases, were only registered for the first time after the Act's passing).

During the 1960s, the Sunbeam was displayed at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. Correspondence on file from the NMM's Michael Sedgwick (dated June 1970 and addressed to the car's then owner, Mr Albert Ward of Turvey, Bedfordshire) states that the Museum acquired it from a garage clearance sale in Herefordshire in 1957. Apparently, the Sunbeam had been abandoned because its original owner, a British Army officer, had disappeared on India's Northwest Frontier. According to Michael Sedgwick: 'It had certainly been off the road since 1928, and no modifications had been carried out at Beaulieu.'

Post-NMM, the next owner listed in the logbook is one Roger Gates of Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex, who acquired the car in December 1968. Acquired by the aforementioned Albert Ward in June 1970, the Sunbeam was restored by him to a very high standard, its non-standard water pump being replaced in the process with a new item to original pattern.

Used infrequently by Albert Ward, the Sunbeam was acquired from him in May 2006 by the next owner, only its third since 1968. Various minor issues were addressed to bring the car up to his exacting standards, including regrinding the valves, checking and correctly setting the valve timing, and overhauling and tuning the carburettor. In addition, a new set of wheels was made and shod with fresh rubber.

The current owner purchased the Sunbeam at Bonhams' Beaulieu Sale in September 2015 (Lot 124). The car boasts many sought after period features such as an Auster screen, Esso spare fuel can, fire extinguisher, and charming original brass fittings. Complementing the two-tone paintwork beautifully, the interior features deep-buttoned beige hide seats, while the mohair hood and tonneau cover are relatively new.

An immensely desirable and rare motor car, this wonderful early Sunbeam is offered with a substantial history file containing assorted correspondence; numerous invoices; photocopied literature, instruction manuals and spare parts lists; copy V5 and current V5C documents; and a quantity of old MoTs.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department