‘New’ Lotus Sunbeam could be yours for £28k

Published: 24 October 2014

It’s not often we cover a classic here on CAR, but how could we resist reporting on a 'new' Lotus hot hatch? Amazingly, an unregistered Talbot Lotus Sunbeam is heading to auction.

This 1980 Lotus Sunbeam is being described as ‘brand new’ by Silverstone Auctions, the firm responsible for bringing the hammer down price-wise when it goes for sale on 16 November at the Classic Motor Show taking place at the Birmingham NEC. It was discovered languishing in a forgotten corner of an Italian collection, and has apparently covered just 313km (193 miles) since leaving the factory.

The lack of registration means the lucky buyer will end up being the first name on the logbook, should they choose to take it on the road – which will be a tough decision, as this will surely slash its value in an instant. The car has been given a fresh UK MOT in anticipation of such enjoyment, however.

Why should I care about this unregistered Lotus Sunbeam?

The Lotus Sunbeam was one of the hot hatch progenitors, having its origins in homologation for Group 4 rallying back in 1970s.

Combining a Chrysler Sunbeam 1.6GLS shell with a 2.2-litre Lotus 16v engine, five-speed ZF gearbox and rear-wheel drive, the competition version won the 1980 Lombard RAC rally. The road car was positioned as a pricier rival to the Ford Escort RS2000.

Silverstone Auctions predicts this ‘immaculately preserved’ example – and it certainly does look very clean – will sell for between £24,000 and £28,000.

To be honest, for that money we’d probably go for a brand new Golf GTI (or a GT86 if you like steering from the rear), but the Sunbeam is still a ray of light on an overcast Friday afternoon, isn’t it?

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

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