When someone says “Sunbeam,” most car people immediately think of the “Tiger.” Sunbeam was much more than just that one model, and the subject of this profile is much rarer than the V8-stuffed Tiger.
Origins of Sunbeam
John Marston created the Sunbeamland Cycle Company in England, in 1887. In 1899, Marston’s assistant, Thomas Cureton, designed and built a single-cylinder car. Marston was impressed enough to fund the second car, this one with a horizontal engine. As his interest grew in automobiles, he became impressed with a design by Mr. Mabberly-Smith. Its four wheels were arranged in a diamond shape. There was a single, chain-driven wheel in the front, then two wheels in a more “normal” arrangement, and a single wheel in the back. The front and rear wheels were offset from each other – not in line – and the driver steered both with a tiller. It was powered by a 2¾ Hp DeDion-Bouton engine and had three seats facing sideways. Named the Sunbeam-Mabley, it sold well – 150 in its three years of production.
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