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Impressions

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mjamgb Avatar
mjamgb michael anderson
Carson City, NORTHERN NEVADA, USA   USA
My parents own a '67 Alpine. They traded in an Opel Kaydett for it in '67. The only thing they ever said about the Kaydett was that my playpen would fit in the rear compartment flat on the floor. I was all of 2yo. It wasn't their first cat, that was a salmon and grey Pontiac inherited from Grandpa.

My first impression of the Alpine ("Alice," of course) was of retuning home to Ashland from Medford, Oregon. In about '72 or so I-5 was pretty much complete but still a new freeway and Oregon's speed limit was either non-existant or quite high. My memory was peeling off I-5 and taking old 99 the last bit to Ashland (the Pheonix exit) and complaining that 65 mph (the speed limit on "secondary roads"winking smiley was SOOOOO SLOOOOW!!!

My next big impression was probably in '73 or so.

My mother took my little sister and me from Ashland to visit her bestest friend who at the time (and still does) live in Elko, Nevada. Oddly, so do my parents, now.

I remember very well crossing the hot bleak landscape on incomplete I-80 with various bits on the old Lincoln Highway (US-40)... Waiting for seemingly interminable periods for the flagger to let us through; tar on the Sunbeam's otherwise impeccible red flanks; sneaking snacks (Apollo candy... think for a bit - this was the era when Tang was invented).

And oh, yeah, we were in the rear package area for most of these trips... child seats? Seat belts? Huh???

My first driving impression was after my dad, uncle and I finally got it running after a 10-year hiatus that included the rings siezing up. I drove it around the block and back into the back-yard and remembered just as the house loomed large that the brakes had not yet been fixed...

My second driving impression came a few years later after I got it running again. This time with brakes.

I took it out in the desert and let 'er rip.

By this time I had owned a '67 MGB for a couple years and had been the successor in ownership of a '70 VW Westy. Also, I had by now driven a succession of light duty fire-trucks ranging from a nasty-rasty '48 Studebakeer Deuce and a half to a '70 International Loadstar 1800 to various mid-80's 3/4-ton pickups loaded with fire-fighting packages (emissions exempt Gov't service).

The memory is that the Sunbeam was not so much faster or better handling than the MGB (or markedly worse, either) but rather one of refinement. The Alpine less hammered down the road than "progressed." It was less noisy and felt a little less "busy" all-together.

Dad commuted to work in it for a few years after that but it suffered being backed into by a kid in a "stomper" truck and has been slowly aging in their garage since, paint looking more like tomato bisque than the ketchup red it used to sport, torn off front bumper and headlights looking to the sky.

Really like that car. Really impressed me that the engine was alloy and the cylinder bores chrome plated.

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Skye Avatar
Skye Webmaster Skye Nott
Vancouver, BC, Canada   CAN
1964 Vespa VNB 125
1966 MG MGB "The Bomber RIP"
1983 Suzuki MC GS750E "Kate"
1986 Merkur XR4Ti "The Rally Car"    & more
Great story Michael, thanks for sharing

It's amazing how certain cars are linked so closely with certain memories... especially hot seats in the summer!

Skye


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19MGBDP69 Denton Perry
Snellville, Georgia, USA   USA
I miss my Alpine. What a smooth driving car. Except for the klugey hood, was very refined. My Fender Bandmaster guitar amplifier wound stand up in the trunk due to the clever (but somewhat scary) petrol tank configuration. I easily fit my entire guitar rig in that car- Amp head, Speaker cabinet, two guitars, mic stand, accessories and my wife could ride along. Would never be able to do that in my MGB but at least I can get parts fro the B. Was driving home for lunch on a 2-lane road. Lady in front stopped to make a left turn. Happened to look in my rearview mirror to see a Ford Taurus heading toward us. Then noticed I was looking at the top of the driver's head! (Turned out it was an insurance adjusted dialing his mobile). Put it in gear and quickly started for the side of the road but wasn't quick enough. He hit me in my left tail light, bursting my left gas tank. Pushed me on passed Left-Turn-Lady and hit her too. Thank goodness I was in motion as I received no injuries but it ruined the car. My wife often reminds me of he suggestion that I should have kept it and made a pickup truck out of it!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2013-04-28 07:56 PM by 19MGBDP69.

Skye Avatar
Skye Webmaster Skye Nott
Vancouver, BC, Canada   CAN
1964 Vespa VNB 125
1966 MG MGB "The Bomber RIP"
1983 Suzuki MC GS750E "Kate"
1986 Merkur XR4Ti "The Rally Car"    & more
Hi Denton, thanks for sharing your Sunbeam story! Got any photos scanned from "back in the day"?

I wasn't familiar with the Alpine gas tank configuration so I did an image search, it is rather unique...


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19MGBDP69 Denton Perry
Snellville, Georgia, USA   USA
Photos- I wish. Dark blue with a white racing stripe. The insurance adjuster took my best ones. Was worth it as I got nearly $8K for a $2K car. My car was not like the photo you show. I didn't have the funky spare tire shelf. My spare sat upright agains the rear of the cockpit with the modified 5-gallon Jerry cans in the wings makde for a very deep and usable boot. Like I said, my 18"h x 12" d x 28"l Fender Bandmaser cabinet would fit standing up in the boot.

Anyway, thanks for starting this site up. Nice to visit from over in the MGB site.

One other thing I remember- I seemed to be the only Sunbeam owner the guys at English Car Spares in ATL cared much to deal with. Apparantly Sunbeam owners had a reputation of being somewhat uppity (to be nice- I'm not printing what they called 'em). Looked but never bought- not that there was ever really much to buy! The story was that Chrysler sunk the boat as they were transporting the spares over.

But think what we could have had should Chrysler had continued. A Hemi Tiger!

Here's a photo off a site of one for sale. The gas tanks consisted of two 5-gallon Jerry cans connected by a ~2 1/2" hose/pipe just inside the boot opening. You can see by the spare that the boot is quite roomy.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2013-04-28 09:19 PM by 19MGBDP69.

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