Classified Info

Talbot Sunbeam Lotus Series 2

To Be Auctioned


Talbot Sunbeam Lotus Series 2 – A superbly restored example of one of the most exciting hot hatches to emerge from the late 1970s.

The Talbot Sunbeam-Lotus was one of the most exciting hot-hatches to emerge from the 1970s. Chrysler commissioned Lotus to produce an effective entrant for International Group 4 rallying – to beat the dominant Ford Escort RSs at their own game- and a 1.6GLS shell found its way to Hethel. Lotus installed a 2.2-litre ‘Type 911’ (closely related to the Type 912 found in the S2 and S3 Esprit) version of their 16-valve four-cylinder engine and a 5-speed ZF gearbox. The new Sunbeam-Lotus certainly looked the part and was initially offered only in Black and Silver, with Marchal spotlights and tailored ‘double four-spoke’ cast-alloy wheels.

Launched in 1979, the high-compression 2174cc twin-cam engine breathed through two twin-choke Dell’Orto carburettors, developed 150bhp (but was easily tuneable to well over 200bhp for rally use), and delivered excellent performance, offering 0-60mph in just 6.6 seconds. Lotus wasn’t just an engine supplier; it was also involved in designing the suspension and exhaust system.

For the Series 2 cars in 1981, a big ‘T’ was placed in the middle of the grille, the engine was mildly tweaked, the fuel tank and headlights were enlarged, and the wing mirrors were changed. Only 1,184 examples of the Sunbeam-Lotus were ever built with around half of these in right-hand drive, however, today you’d be lucky to find 80 of these special cars according to the Owners’ Club.

This stunning Series 2 is finished in Embassy Black with a silver side panel and was purchased by our vendor on 11th July 1983 when it was only eighteen months old having been delivered new to Victor Keeble, ex-professional Newcastle United and West Ham footballer and latter-day manager of Chelmsford City FC in the late seventies. The comprehensive history file contains the purchase invoice from Balgores Motors of Gidea Park indicating a mileage of 19,880 miles as entered in our owner’s personal notebook.

The car was used up until 1988 when it was parked up in our vendor’s garage until 2016 when he decided to have it completely restored by Simon Rudge Motorsport Ltd. (SRM) of Chelmsford. The history file contains all the invoices and details of the work undertaken during this exacting full restoration of the body and all mechanical parts. It’s worth noting that in Simon Rudge’s summary he notes that ‘’Overall, the shell was remarkably free of corrosion and dents’’. The body was taken back to bare metal, epoxy primed, fully prepared and repainted. The seats were stripped to component parts, checked and rebuilt with new cushions and importantly with the very rare correct original facing material. The engine was stripped to component parts, cleaned and rebuilt to manufacturers specification using new parts as required, with modifications recommended by a leading authority on the Lotus 901 engine in the interests of longevity. The gearbox was fitted with new bearings and all service work has been carried out to date by SRM with the odometer now showing 58,021 warranted miles. It’s supplied with a driver’s handbook and comprehensive history file.

Revered in the day by the motoring press this ‘’Inter City Express’’ still performs more than adequately because of its exacting rebuild and will delight any new owner. Driven a few miles for our photos, it’s obvious what all the fuss was about in the day.


Entries are now invited our first sale of 2024 on Saturday 24th February at Race Retro, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. Entries close on 24th January. Race Retro brings together over 24,000 fans, drivers and enthusiasts at the start of the competition car calendar for a weekend of all things motorsport. As the shows official auction partner for the 12th year, we are now inviting entries for what promises to be a magnificent, dedicated sale of Classic and Competition Cars. Discounted tickets for the show are available using the code ICONICAUC.


Seller Info

by Lionel Abbott
Published: 14 January 2024 (1 month ago)
To Be Auctioned
Member Since
04 Dec 2023
Phone Number
07831 574381
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To Be Auctioned
Seller Accepts
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