This Sunbeam Alpine GT Needs a Mopar Infusion


Written by: Diego Rosenberg

Hot rodders have no shame at all. They’ll stumble upon something and then try to stuff an engine as if it was born that way. They’d probably add a big-block Chevy to a Bugatti if there was one rusting away in Malibu.

So maybe this 1970 Sunbeam Alpine GT isn’t quite a Bugatti, but if there’s one car screaming to be made into something better, this car on Craigslist is it.

So what’s a Sunbeam? You may be familiar with the Sunbeam Tiger, which Maxwell Smart drove in the TV show Get Smart, which was British sports car that was a part of the Rootes Group. In the mid/late-1960s, Rootes was taken over by the Chrysler Corporation, which sold the Rootes-built Hillman Avenger as the Plymouth Cricket in the US.

Chrysler also sold the Sunbeam Alpine GT in the US, which was based on the Sunbeam Rapier that was produced in the UK from 1967-76 but the Alpine GT only appeared in the US for a short period of time due to poor sales and Chrysler’s mismanagement of its captive brands. By 1978, Chrysler Europe (which also included France’s Simca and Talbot) was absorbed by PSA Citroen-Peugeot.

Despite the ad calling this Alpine GT a “mini Barracuda” it was designed before Chrysler’s involvement. Originally equipped with a 1.7-liter slant-4 with overdrive 4-speed, we’d toss it and prep a nice 340 from a “real” Barracuda (maybe if we’re feeling masochistic, a 426 in the back a la Hemi Underglass) and then hit the shows with a Mopar or No Car bumpersticker with no sense of irony.

How would you build it?

Sunbeam Alpine motor image

Source: Hot Rod