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James Bond fans should instantly recognize this 1960s Sunbeam Alpine. Though not exactly the model IV pictured, Bond’s lake blue Alpine made its silver screen debut in 1962’s Dr. No. Sean Connery drives the vehicle through Kingston, Jamaica, en route to meet antagonist Miss Taro.
The Sunbeam Alpine is a two-seater sports drophead coupe produced by the Rootes Group in Warwickshire, England from 1953 to 1955, and then again from 1959 to 1968. Alpines were the first vehicles from Sunbeam-Talbot to bear the Sunbeam name alone.
This vehicle was initially developed as a one-off rally car. After finding success at the prestigious Alpine Rally, a race through European mountain passes, the name “Alpine” was colloquially given. The first Alpines were initially for export only; US models cost $2,899, and UK market cars were available from 1953 onwards. With a top speed of 90mph and an 18 second 0-60, the model had no exterior door locks and side-screens in place of winding windows.
Production of the Series IV Alpines began in January 1964, and American Sunbeam buyers could now find Alpines in their local Chrysler dealerships as they purchased part of the Rootes Group. The Series IV looked noticeably different from its predecessors because its tailfins were trimmed, and a simple one-bar grille, rubber-tipped bumper overriders, and a vinyl-covered dash fascia for Sports Tourers brought the cars up to date.
The Alpine name was resurrected in 1976 by Chrysler on a totally unrelated vehicle: the UK-market version of the “Simca 1307,” a French-built family hatchback. The car was initially badged as the Chrysler Alpine, and then finally as the Talbot Alpine following Chrysler Europe’s takeover by Peugeot in 1978. The name survived until 1984, although the design survived (with different names) until 1986.
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