Being born and based on the undignified bones of a van, no less, the 1959 Sunbeam Alpine theoretically had a lot of catching up to do, but it somehow seemed unnecessary. The car was, by almost any standard, more refined and dignified than any of its contemporaries in the small convertible market, although some critics made it to be too feminine. A fair assessment, for sure, but the Alpine offered a more civilized ride, with more modern amenities than the competition, although it was always considered too heavy to be a real driver’s car.
The Alpine started out with a 1.5-liter, four cylinder engine that pumped out 78 horsepower. It was upgraded over the years to a 1.7-liter engine producing 93 horsepower in the later models. This allowed the car to finally reach 100 miles per hour. Acceleration was a decent if not exhilarating 13.5 seconds to 60 mph.
Technically speaking, the Alpine featured front disc brakes, an independent front suspension and a four-speed manual transmission (a three-speed automatic was also available). The 1959 Sunbeam Alpine was a sophisticated, classy car that is still missed today, despite falling off the map in 1967.