Vintage Sunbeam Weddings

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Sunbeam at Littlecote House, August 2008 Sunbeam near Northleach, May 2012
Sunbeam at Burghclere, near Newbury, 1996

Beautiful vintage Sunbeam touring car available for wedding hire

Oxfordshire and surrounding counties

including:  Abingdon, Bicester, Boars Hill, Didcot, Eynsham, Kidlington, Oxford, Sunningwell, Thame, Wallingford, Wantage, Wheatley, Witney, Woodstock and Wootton

Contact by E-mail to or call:  07776 30 11 66  for a booking enquiry form.

Details of car

Manufactured in 1927 by: The Sunbeam Motor Car Co. Ltd. Wolverhampton.

Registered in Birmingham (OX) possibly one owner until the 1960s and then exhibited in a Dutch museum before being returned to England in 1987.

6 cylinder 2040 cc overhead valve engine (complete overhaul in 1990 by marque expert Roger Carter )

Top speed: 60mph (fitted with 4 wheel brakes) average c 20 mpg

This car has successfully crossed HardKnott & Wrynose passes (gradients steeper than 1 in 4) in the English lake district.

It has also completed several tours of France; including in 1999 when it crossed French alpine passes over 5 700 ft (1 750m) high.

Sunbeam returning from the French Alps

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Sunbeam at the summit of Col du Coq

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Commodious rear accommodation suitable for the grandest wedding gown!

Some background information

The original Sunbeam company was founded by John Marston in 1899 and based in Wolverhampton. Its position in the market was akin to the present day Jaguar.

Sunbeam was one of the premier marques of British car achieving its peak of fame during the 1920s. It first came to prominence following the appointment of Louis Coatalen as chief engineer in 1909 and Coatalen designed cars were soon setting new records of all types at Brooklands race track in Surrey. In 1912 the 3 litre Sunbeams caused a sensation when they came 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Coupe de l'Auto for touring cars run at Dieppe. So good were they, that they achieved 3rd, 4th, and 5th places in the French Grand Prix run concurrently! The cars which came 1st and 2nd achieved their places with engines which were 3 and 5 times the size of the Sunbeams! The almost identical touring model sold very well as a result.

In a famous race against Bugattis and Fiats, among others, Sunbeams came 1st, 2nd and 4th in the 1923 French Grand Prix and won the Spanish Grand Prix the following year. Sunbeam was the only British make to win a Grand Prix in the first half of the 20th century. Many of the features taken for granted on modern cars were first developed and tested by Sunbeam on the race track and then introduced to their ordinary touring cars. Among features pioneered by Sunbeam were overhead valve engines, brakes on all four wheels, power assisted brakes and twin overhead camshaft engines. Twin cam engines were standard on the 3 litre Super Sports models from 1924.

Sunbeam also held the world land speed record on several occasions as commemorated on British stamps issued in 1998. Malcolm Campbell's first "Bluebird" was a Sunbeam and in 1924 he achieved 146mph on an 18 litre 12 cyl Sunbeam developing 350hp. He had achieved the same speed a year earlier but the timing equipment had not been approved. In 1925 he was the first to reach 150mph on a similar car.

In 1926 Maj. Henry Segrave beat this on a new 4 litre 12 cyl Sunbeam when he reached 152 mph. The final triumph came in 1927 when Major Segrave, driving a twin engined 1000 hp Sunbeam, again broke the World's Record with a speed over 200mph for the first time.

In 1925 Sunbeam entered the new 3 litre Super Sports car for the Grand Prix d'Endurance (24 hours) at Le Mans. Sunbeam won 2nd place overall coming first in its 3 litre class and beating the 3 litre Bentleys.

The STD Group, which came about with the merger of Sunbeam with Talbot-Darracq in 1920, was in fact badly mismanaged. It failed to rationalise its model range so that, at double the development cost, its own cars were often competing against each other for sales. The Sunbeam 16 and Talbot 14/45 for example were fairly similar cars aimed at the same market. Not only this, but there was virtually no standardisation or interchangeability of parts within the group which would have reduced costs. From about 1927 Coatalen spent most of his time in France and Sunbeam innovation more or less ceased. Sunbeam which had been the saviour of the Talbot company hitherto, now increasingly depended on the success of the Roesch Talbots. Following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the depression of the 1930s set in and when in 1935 a large loan, taken out ten years earlier, could not be repaid, STD Motors went into receivership. The Rootes Group outbid the fledgling Jaguar company and bought Sunbeam and also Talbot. Both plants were closed and Rootes merely used the name to sell cheaper, badge engineered Hillmans. The combined Sunbeam-Talbot name was nevertheless to achieve much success in the 1950s & 60s in its new guise.

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VINTAGE CARS - An explanation of the terminology.

The following terms are applied to old cars in the UK.

The Veteran Car Club (VCC) administers pre First World War cars -

The Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) covers pre 2nd World War cars -

Classic - This name is usually applied to quality post 1945 cars.

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Littlecote (again!) September 2009
Another happy couple at Littlecote Sept 2009
Waiting for the bride, Sept 2009

Another visit to Littlecote House on a glorious day in Sepember 2009

Some necessary small print

The fee charged will be inclusive of provision of the car and driver and time taken in the motor house to prepare the car together with oils and motor spirit.

The car will be clean, subject to road and weather conditions on the journey to the bride's hotel or other agreed pickup address and may be driven open or with the hood erected in place as desired. 

Although problems are unlikely, nevertheless it should be fully appreciated that a vintage car, as with any other, cannot be guaranteed trouble-free.  Regardless of the car hired, you should have an alternative plan in case of problems. In the event that a problem caused by accident, mechanical breakdown or illness of the driver should arise you may cancel the arrangement at no cost.  In this case a full refund of the fee will be made as the agreed recompense.

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