John Marston Limited's first Sunbeam production car, a De Dion-engined voiturette, was sold in 1901 but it was not until 1907, two years after the Sunbeam Motor Car Company had been formed, that the firm produced its first all-British model, the 16/20. The arrival of designer Louis Coatalen, and the pursuit of an effective competition programme, enabled the marque to establish a formidable reputation prior to WWI, its superbly made products enjoying a reputation rivalling that of the best from Alvis and Bentley thereafter. A Sunbeam was the first British car to win a Grand Prix and the company went to set many land speed records.
Introduced in 1933 and produced for only a couple of seasons, the 'Twenty-Five' used the 3,317cc seven-main-bearing engine of the later 'Twenty', being in effect an upgraded version of the latter. It was produced on two wheelbase lengths - 130" and 136" - and was among the finest of contemporary sporting motor cars, possessing exemplary steering, brakes and gear change.
This particular 'Twenty-Five' was supplied new by Edward & Co of Bournemouth to Admiral Cecil Raikes of Wimborne, Dorset in March 1934. Given over to the war effort and used in the London area, the Sunbeam was returned to Admiral Raikes after the war and remained in his ownership until 1957.
The next significant event in this Sunbeam's history is a well documented 'last nut and bolt' restoration, which was carried out in 1975 by the then owner Stuart Wayland Peck, a former employee of the coachbuilder Mulliners of Birmingham. There is a photographic record on file showing the Sunbeam's restoration from a rolling chassis to a finished vehicle, a process that was completed in July 1979.
In 1992 Mr Peck sold the Sunbeam to Mr Owen Rich of Bath, who kept detailed diaries recording his on-going maintenance. During his ownership, in July 1993, the Sunbeam underwent a colour change from brown/cream to red/black. Mr Rich owned 'JT 769' for some 19 years before selling it to the present owner in 2011, by which time he had covered only 1,713 miles in the car.
The Sunbeam was still in excellent condition but needed re-commissioning for road use. The present owner has carried out a full overhaul of the hydraulic braking system; all wheel cylinders have been honed and new rubbers fitted, and the master cylinder rubbers replaced. A new digital SU pump has been fitted to increase delivery pressure, and all rubber fuel hoses have been replaced.
The Sunbeam has been stored in a heated/dehumidified garage and used in the summer months for many pleasurable outings. It has been well received on the Mendip Tour on numerous occasions, winning 'The car the sponsors would most like to take home' award in 2013. 'JT 769' has a commanding presence when being driven or on display at shows, and is offered for sale only because the present owner has decided to downsize his collection. The car is offered with an old-style logbook, V5 registration document, current MoT certificate and a substantial quantity of photographs and documents including MoT certificates dating back to 1979. Also included is a hood bag, tonneau cover and side weather windows.