In 1959, the Sunbeam division of England’s Rootes company introduced a new sports car for the 1960 production year. Engineered under contract by Armstrong-Siddeley and assembled by them, the car used the steel unibody chassis from the Hillman Husky station wagon and the drivetrain from the Sunbeam Rapier sedan.
Despite this unlikely combination, the result was a sweet little roadster called the Alpine, a name Rootes had originally used for their 1954 roadster. The new car offered roll-up windows and comfortable trim, but with styling that was much more American than Italian.
Through the early ’60s, several series of Alpines were produced, though the changes were largely cosmetic. The final version, the Series V, was introduced in late 1965, sporting the four-speed synchro box that had been introduced in 1964 plus a new 1792cc engine. The last Alpines were produced in 1967.
This Alpine is a Series IV that was restored by noted marque specialist Bill Atalla out of Reno, Nevada. Although it doesn’t have the larger engine of the Series V, the changes Bill made under the hood have increased performance enough to match the later car. He put the engine through a careful rebuild with the requisite porting, polishing and balancing before replacing the Solex carburetor with a Weber.
The original cars ran on 13-inch wheels and 70-series tires, but Bill substituted 14-inch wheels with lower-profile tires. This Alpine also offers benefits with a custom roll cage and racing safety fuel system. It’s an incredibly fun Alpine to drive and can be enjoyed on the track or the road.
Winner Best Vintage car at the The 6th Annual Niello Concours at Serrano El Dorado Hills, California in 2009.
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