June 30, 2012 at 4:51 am #57882Dan RichardsonParticipant
I was introduced to the Sunbeam Alpine in 1959 while stationed in Bermuda as my first duty assignment with the USAF.
My good friend Chamberland purchased a little red convertible, a Series I, that became very popular on the island. As I recall the engine had to be "sized-down" less cc than 1200 ? to get on the Island. At 20 miles per hour and gas (Petro) selling on base at .10 cents per gallon we always had money, gas and gals to keep the little Red going. I had a Triumph Tiger motorcycle that was also neat to get around on. Later I bought a FORD Prefect ’56? RHD that reminds me a bit of my ’34 Ford. The RHD was a bit getting used too….. Then, when State Side in ’61 and purchasing my ’58 Impala the first mistake I made was a left turn and onto the "WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD"…. Hair raising to say the less because I was in Washington, DC.
Bermuda, even though small in land mass, about 12 miles long and approximately 2 miles wide back then, It had some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
After my tour in Bermuda I was assigned to Charleston AFB in Charleston, SC. Here I became aware of a "hot" number that was known as a "tiger". It sported a 260 Cu In Ford V8.
I did not own one but was aware of the "quick" capacity to get away from a red light.
I of course had a 58 Impala which I had purchased with arriving back state side (1961) In late 62 in installed a 425 HP 409 Cu In engine was not to shabby either.
We saw a lot of the British cars in Charleston during that time. I soon bought a little Red & White ’59 Hillman Station wagon that I enjoyed driving around down town Charleston in the narrow streets.
After my retired from the USAF in 1979 and returning home to Greenwood, SC, I spotted a couple of Alpines near home one day that perked my interest!
A nice little ’65 SIV Maroon Alpine with Hardtop, OD and all original, one owner. The owner also had purchased another ’65 Early Series IV GT BW35 automatic as a parts car, He needed a front caliper and a fuel tank that had gone bad.
I pestered him for a year or more and finally he contacted me one day to make me the proud owner of both cars.
We drove the Maroon Alpine around for a few years them parked it for repairs, but as usual, we let both sit (under cover) for more than twenty years.
It was around 1986-87 that my oldest son spotted a little blue ’67 SV Commodore Blue 106. It turned out to be a ’67 LRX 4 SPD that needed a little work (third owner). My son drove it for a couple of years then joined the Army. It sat for a couple of years (in a shed). Then driven a while till engine trouble. Parked again until April 2011 when I started a complete restoration.
The restoration is completed! Enjoy showing it off and hearing all the comments. Met the original owner last year (2015). He spotted it at a local car show where I was visiting. I noticed him doing a once over then again and again. Finally he asked to whom the beautiful Commodore Blue Alpine belonged too! I was pointed out, we became acquainted and are good friends. His interest is returning to become an owner of another Alpine.
While it is nice to have one it is even better to have an extra! Especially an all original like the Maroon one to utilize as a "guide" for restoration of another. I would be fairly lost if I had to rely solely on the shop manual as a guide.
I have had lots of help from other Alpine owners around the country and have made many friends!
Keep them on the road! Happy Touring,
June 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm #64617Eric and Bonnie and Bonnie GibeautParticipant
Great intro too. I was also stationed at Charleston AFB in the late 70’s and there were British cars everywhere. Being there started my Sunbeam habit and it has never stopped-as you have seen…..I hope you can make it to the United this Fall in Tenn. Can you post some photos of what your Alpine looks like now or start a restoration thread?
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