Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Sunbeam Alpine Series II automobile -- the car James Bond drove in Dr. No in 1962. It featured no gadgets or doodads.

Sunbeam was a line of the Rootes Group, a British car manufacturer founded in 1913.

The Alpine Series cars were a redesign of the Alpine Mark line of Sunbeams, a two-seater coupe itself derived from the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 Sedan. The Mark I and Mark III (there was no Mark II) were in production from 1952 to 1955. A Mark III appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief.

The Alpine Series I began production in 1960, and was little changed from the Alpine Mark III. One alteration was that the floorpan derived from Hillman Husky station wagon.

The Alpine Series II began and ended production in 1962. Its 80hp, four-cylinder, 1.6-litre engine was slightly larger than the Series I, and only 19,956 were made. It had a top speed of 98.6 mph, could go from zero to 60 mph in 13.6 seconds, and got 25.8 mpg. (That's better mpg than most cars today, even though the Alpine was made completely of steel!)

The Sunbeam Alpine Series II was the only sports car available to the Bond production team while filming in Jamaica. So they used it. It cost them 15 shillings a day to rent it from a local man.

The Bond Sunbeam was painted in Lake Blue with matching upholstery, and featured wire-rim wheels and whitewall tires.

The car used in Dr. No has never been located.

Here are three shots from the movie, and a close-up of a current restoration of a Sunbeam Alpine Series II.

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