It is amazing that the four Grand Prix Sunbeams built by the factory for the 1922 French Grand Prix at Strasbourg all still exist, and mostly in original form. Equally amazing is this publication by Australian historian Neville Webb into the history of those four cars. While cars typical of the period were powered by gasping side-valves these cars were certainly quite the opposite. The 2-liter Sunbeam engine was an exquisite twin-magneto DOHC straight-four with 4 valves per cylinder developing 84hp at 4,250rpm. Webb devotes a chapter to each of the cars and traces the history of each from construction to the present day. Interestingly, the first and fourth cars both spent time in Australia with No. 1 being imported by well-known driver of the time, Hope Bartlett, uncle of Frank Gardner. Bartlett went on to run the car at such circuits as the Olympia Motor Speedway at Maroubra in surburban Sydney and Muriwai Beach in New Zealand. It later ran in the 1937 Australian Grand Prix, driven by Ashley Moulden. The car still resides in Australia while the 4th is now in the UK. The fifth chapter of this book focuses on the Sunbeam supercharged 1.5-liter engines built between 1921 and 1925. Like their larger brothers, the smaller engines were detailed and jewel-like. Bringing the book to a finish is a collection of photos showing the first GP Sunbeam under restoration. This is a most satisfying book for those of us who are automotive historians and who love that “between-the-wars” period when such manufacturers as Sunbeam produced exceptional motor cars. The publication is available direct from the author at email@example.com
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