Vintage Sunbeams in India
I'm just over from England for three weeks and thanks to this GREAT forum I heard of Dr. Ravi Prakash and his fine collection, including two vintage Sunbeams. I contacted and visited him and we spent some time talking about and looking at his cars, especially his Sunbeams as we both have two.
I'd like to know if there are any more prewar Sunbeams in India. Ideally I'd like contact details (send by private message if you prefer) so that I can get in touch and get a few details such as chassis number and engine number. These I can pass to the club registrar who has a list of all vehicles that are known. It would be fantastic to find a few survivors the club doesn't know about.
Dr. Ravi allowed me to have a good look as his two and I now have the details I need, along with a lot of photos.
We'll start with photos of my two cars though as there are several of Dr. Ravi's cars already on the forum.
there was a MDN registered 1923 Sunbeam tourer which originally belonged to Mr.Revi Uthup husband of famous singer USHA UTHUP.this car was red in colour and was in kerala till 2008.dont know abt its current wherabouts
With luck someone will know where it is now...!
Some photos of mine...
This is my 1926 Twincam. We've just started to dry assemble the engine so the crankshaft is going off soon to be checked over, straightened if necessary, then we can remetal the journals and we're away...
Restoration blog here
Vintage Sunbeam Cars: 25hp and 3-litre
Then there's my 1927 Sunbeam 25hp. This one runs!
The cars are very different. The 25hp is a 60mph car that's really a tourer in every sense. Get it into top gear and it just runs and runs. There's so much torque you only need to change down for the steepest hills. I never go above 50mph - too noisy and you need to repect cars of this age!
The Twincam is very different. It was the first production twincam OHC car made in the UK. 100mph and high revving for a 1920s car of course because of the lack of pushrods and rockers etc.
Talking about Vintage Sunbeams, there are quite a few in India. We only have point them out and other can post pics:)
There is one with Virendra Hegde near Mangalore, that is ex-Baroda city.
Sanghi collection has atleast one.
There is one with a family in Nagpur which has an old Sunbeam. I believe that Rajasthan also has a few.
I have a Rapier convertible, and ther eare a number of Alpines around.
Lovely cars do please post more pictures of the 25 HP, is this the three litre ? It is a very handsome car and I would love to see side ,rear, interior and engine bay pictyres of this car.
Do please post more pictures of the Twin Cam and its body.
These cars were really good looking cars with grest engineering and cutting edge technology for those days.
Was it the twin cam that was raced as well ?
I am aware of several post war Sunbeam Sedans and tourers in India along with a good many Alpines but have never seen any pre war cars except for one of the Doc's cars. I think it was silver or gray?
Please do post pics and details of his cars too if it is OK with the owner.
Our resident Historian Harit will be able to tell about the earlier cars as he has extensive knowledge of cars in India.
Harit can we see some pics of your Rapier too ? It must be an interesting car! Could you share some details and history on it ?
I don't have all my pictures with me, but I'm happy to post a few more that I have. The Twincam, Sunbeam three-litre twincam to be precise, is three litre as its name suggests. The 25hp is 3.8 litre. I have no body for the 3-litre, or a chassis come to that, but things are moving on apace and a chassis will be made in the near future.
If my 25hp looks a bit grubby, it's because a lot of these pics were taken just before I bought it. I'm not into polishing, but I do wipe round a bit and over time the car gets cleaner! I like original, but not filthy :)
And now a few pics of how the car (Annabel) was found, and during restoration, and a little history pasted from a document I leave in the car at shows...
First registered on 28th September 1928 in Midlothian, Scotland, although it has spent most of its life in Suffolk. It was originally a tourer, but was black.
Colonel Jacynth d’Ewes Fitz-Ercald Coke (1879-1963) CMG, CVO, CBE was the first known owner. Colonel Coke served in the South Africa War (despatches, Queen's medal and 3 clasps, King’s medal and 1 clasp) and the First World War (despatches, CMG, Legion of Honour) and bought the car on the 8th October 1936 while he was Chief Constable of Suffolk.
It is not known exactly when the car changed hands next, but its next owner, Mr Donald Dorey, ran “The Garage” in Walsham-le-Willows from 1924 to 1946. Mr Dorey worked for the Police for a time, although not in Suffolk, so there may be a connection there to Colonel Coke. Mr Dorey’s son remembers his father needing a prestige car to do taxi work, which is why the Sunbeam was purchased.
During the first months of the war, before August 1940, it was converted into a breakdown truck using the cab of a Morris Commercial lorry and a crane built from parts of the lorry chassis, the lorry tipper, and a Harvey Frost hoist! Sadly no pictures have yet been found of the car in this condition!
Mr Eric Randall worked for The Garage’s new owner, Mr Charles Vaggs, just after the war, and remembers the car well. In 1948 he spent a month using it to pick up concrete tank traps and drop them at the side of a local river to reinforce the banks.
The breakdown truck was bought from the newly named Sideways Garage in 1968 and was finally restored to its current form in the early eighties. Annabel is named after the restorer’s daughter.
The bonnet, scuttle and windscreen are original, as are the footboards, bulkhead and glovebox door! The rest of bodywork is an accurate replica of the original copied from another car. Mechanically, the car is very original. Many parts were dated and numbered by the factory as they were made and all such parts on this car are dated 1927 (letter G) and have low numbers showing they were made early in the year.
And finally for today...
A pic of each of Dr Ravi's cars. Just superb, both in remarkably original condition, both running, both gorgeous. I couldn't get close enough to his twenty-five limousine to get a good shot. Too many other lovely cars and bikes in the way.
I was able to get shots of his 14hp though. A very important car. The earliest known 14hp and the only cabriolet. I wish it was mine.
Hello VintageSunbeam ,
Thanks for the lovely photographs , I am with the STD Register , member number 2650. I have a 1935 Sunbeam 'Twenty' Six Light Swept Tail Saloon - Chassis No. 3005T / Engine No. 3014 T - still under self restoration at my own slow pace , photographs when the car is restored.
The car in Dharmastala was brought to Bangalore for a local collector by restorer Mr. Sripathy Rao from Gujarat. The car was originally owned by the Maharaja of Kholapur. This car is a 1934 model and Coach built by Sunbeam Limited. The Dharmastala bought this car about 10 years back
Thanks for all the info. I found the Dharmastala car on our forum. It's a 1935 twenty-five, so the same model as Dr. Ravi's 1934 limousine, although this one is described as a "hunting tourer, fitted with special body by Brooks with hunting lights and glass fittings for the Maharajah of Kolhapur". I'm guessing your spelling (Kholapur) is correct and will get that corrected :)
As far as the years go, the models didn't change at calendar year end, so 1935 models could be bought in 1934. We tend to use Sunbeam's model year not calendar year, so that's probably why our year is different to KPS's.
My car for example is a 1927 model, but with a very low chassis number so almost certainly built in 1926, but first registered towards the end of 1928. It has dual-ignition but this was fitted separately, not in the instrument panel like the 1928 dual ignition cars. Could have been a period fitting, could have been Sunbeam's test car, which might explain the delay until it was registered. Who knows!!
I've also heard of a 1924 Sunbeam 12/30 in India somewhere, an incredibly rare survivor. The last name the club has is Mrs L E Gautama. I think the numberplate is/was MC7675.
There's also a mention of a 1928 16.9 (BMY7798) in Bangalore.
The club has no photos of either of these cars, so if anyone knows where they are and can get a photo or two that would be fantastic.
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