Sunbeam Cars

Today on our
Saturday Car post ,
we’ve got some
very cool automotive
advertising posters,
featuring another car
that you’re not very
likely to see at your
local dealership…
or even at the car rally
for that matter.

They’re vintage,
and they’re rare.

Mostly, they weren’t
really very good cars
to begin with.

But their ads make
them unforgettable.

Sunbeam.

The earliest British made
Sunbeam Rapiers, which
were manufactured
from 1955 to 1976,
and sports-cars like
the Sunbeam Alpines
and Tigers might be
exceptions, for two
reasons.

One, as far as British
car building is concerned,
the pre-‘Chrysler Europe’
Sunbeam line in general
seem to have met people’s
performance expectations
at the time ……

And two, despite the
very limited availability
of the Sunbeam Rapiers
in the United States,
their dramatic looks reflected
ground-breaking design that
had been influenced by a
whole range of American
made Studebakers in the
early 1950’s.

Surprising?

Yes, considering the same
people who made the
Sunbeams also produced some
of the most mediocre cars in
Britain during that same period.

The company that produced
the Sunbeam line was called
the Rootes Group, and over the
years also built vehicles like the
Singer, Hillman, Humber,
Talbot, Karrier, and Combers.

Yes, I know-
not exactly Jaguar
or Triumph, is it?

Rootes was later acquired
by Chrysler Europe,
and then absorbed into
Peugeot and Renault.

But today :
— the Sunbeam Tiger MK I
from the mid 1960’s,
with their Ford-made
8 cylinder engines designed
by Carroll Shelby, are very
highly thought of —

( I wouldn’t mind having one
myself, if I could only fit into it )

– and along with the earliest
Sunbeam Rapiers (1950’s)
are the most desirable
of the line.

Note:
There was also a variant
on the Rapier ‘Fastback’
in 1967-1975, made strictly
for the United States market,
(and sold at Chrysler
dealerships nationwide)
called the Sunbeam Alpine GT —

If you’re tempted to find
one of those and restore it,
my advice is to just take a
flight over to Las Vegas and
put the money you woulda
spent down on the double zero.

Cause you’re gonna end up
there one way or another.

Or–
you could always
bet on 86, or 99.

!!! HOY !!!

 

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Back Seat Front Seat

In an era where they
can’t seem to stop
talking about driver-less automated cars,
it seems somehow appropriate that we
post on a concept
that has kinda become
a figure of fun, intentionally
or not, by today’s drivers –
– drivers licenses.

I’m sorry
(no, I’m not)-
and I hate to gripe
(no, I don’t) –
but it seems to me that
the quality of education
programs for new drivers,
and the skill level of
even experienced drivers
these days, is pretty
damned rotten,
generally speaking.

Bring back those horrifying
driver’s education films of
the 1950’s and 1960’s like
” Signal 30 “,
” Blood On The Highway”
” Signs of Life ”
” Drive and Survive ”
” Mechanized Death ”
and “Hell’s Highway” , man.

(I’d link some of them, but
I still get nightmares from
” Blood On The Highway ” )

I don’t know if it’s all
the padding, air bags,
belts, alerts, alarms,
computer controlled
parking devices and
other such millarkey
that new cars are
built with,
but yow, man –
is it dangerous out there.

Drivers today just don’t have
that healthy look of terror
that baby boomers learned
to have before they started
a 4000 pound car to go
hurtling 70 miles per hour
down the average pot-holed
and badly maintained highway.

And I’m thinking it might
be part of some evil conspiracy
to convince the remaining
good drivers out there
( you know who you iz )
that we could actually
BENEFIT from the whole
automatic car thing –

– which of course,
is absolute horseshit.

It will drive insurance rates up,
road taxes up,
vehicle registrations up,
and make it almost impossible
for average Joe to afford
to operate his own car,
especially vintage ones.

It won’t just keep BAD
drivers off the road –
it’ll keep us ALL off em.

Unless you got a gold plated
comb-over that is.

I know it, you know it —
but they’re still gonna
try and do it.

Try, my ass –
they will do it.

And it don’t sound like
there’s a damned thing
we can do about it.

Nuts.

Anyhoo…
I came up with a couple of
pieces of trivia about driving ,
that I thought might make me
feel better about the future.

Cause, when you think about it,
the past was pretty stupid, too.

Did you know:

The first driver’s license
in the world, in 1888, was
issued to Karl Benz in the
Grand Duchy of Baden.
(now part of Germany).
And yes- that Karl Benz.
And no, it wasn’t a 450 SL.

In 1899, the cities of New York
and Chicago became the first
places in the United States
to require a license.

Anne Rainsford French Bush
became the first licensed
female driver in 1900 –
and she drove for over
50 years without an accident.

The first state to require
an examination before licensing
was Maryland – in 1910.

Most states didn’t follow
suit until the 1930’s.

South Dakota didn’t even
require a license until 1954,
or a test until 1959, and
still maintains the lowest
age requirement in the U.S.
– 14 1/4 years old.

That the first ‘modern’
three light traffic signal
was invented by a Chicago
Police Officer ?

Before that, cars on urban
streets were manually directed
by live officers, sometimes
in tall ‘traffic towers’.

In the United States,
it’s referred to as a “Driver’s License ” ….

– and in Britain a ” Driving Licence “,

and in Canada (like Britain)
the word ” licence ” is
spelled with two c’s.

The world’s first drive-in
restaurant was Kirby’s Pig
Stand in Dallas, Texas –
the year ? 1921.
Mmmm…. bbq and cars –
an unbeatable combination.

Add a pretty girl, and :
the world’s first drive-in
movie theatre was opened
in Camden, New JerseyImage result for spooning in the car vintage
(across the bridge from
Philadelphia) in the
summer of 1933.

If things went …
ummm…
well..,
if they progressed
in a certain way from
there, you know,
there was also the first drive
through wedding chapel,
which was opened in
Las Vegas in 1951’s .

Drive through divorce?

Naaah —
You shoulda taken those
movies about wrecks much
more seriously, man.

!!! HOY !!!

.

PS:
OK — here’s one.
Don’t watch it too close to bedtime.