• Year of manufacture 
  • Lot number 
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  • Condition 
  • Number of seats 
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  • Exterior colour 
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1931 Sunbeam Sixteen Saloon
Registration no. not UK registered

Founded by John Marston, a God-fearing Victorian industrialist who foresaw the growth in demand for private transport, Sunbeam was first associated with beautifully made, though expensive, bicycles. Although comparative latecomers to motor car manufacture, the Wolverhampton-based Sunbeam factory quickly established a fine reputation alongside Lanchester, Wolseley, Austin, and Daimler at the heart of the expanding Midlands motor industry.

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 in 1909 and the pursuit of an effective competition programme enabled Sunbeam 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. Produced between 1929 and 1933, the Sunbeam 'Sixteen' featured a massively built chassis frame sprung by semi-elliptics all round, and was powered by an overhead-valve six-cylinder engine of 2,040cc rated at 16.9hp for taxation purposes. Hydraulic brakes arrived for 1931 together with a 2,193cc engine rated at 18hp, and in 1932 the four-speed gearbox gained synchromesh on third and top gears. Sadly, the collapse of the Sunbeam-Talbot-Darracq combine in 1935 and its subsequent acquisition by Rootes meant that the revised Sixteen - one of the last true Sunbeams - never got the chance it deserved.

According to recognised Sunbeam authority, Bruce Dowell, this 16hp Sunbeam was first registered in January 1932 and was supplied with the factory's own six-light saloon coachwork (see file). The last owner known to Dowell was a Philip Hayward of Southport, who is known to have owned the car up to 1993. The history file also contains an invoice (dated 1990 and totalling £5,162) from K Hodgson of Southport for various restoration works to the mechanicals and body. Additional documentation consists of sundry other invoices, an old MoT certificate, and an Irish registration document showing that the Sunbeam was first registered in Ireland in 2008. An original instruction book is included in the sale.

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