Antique Car Insurance: A History of Sunbeam Motors
After nearly 40 years of inactivity, it has been rumored recently that a newly revived Sunbeam Motor Company Limited is set to design and manufacture electric vehicles in the very near future, propelling the marquee’s long standing history of innovation and vehicle production. For over a century the Sunbeam brand has made an incredible impact on not only the auto world but on vehicle production as a whole, from cycling to aviation. Many classic and antique auto enthusiasts might know the brand as England’s pioneer vehicle producer, whose roots go as far back as the late 1800’s.
In 1877 John Marston established the Sunbeamland Cycle Factory where the cycling enthusiast began manufactured and designed bicycles under the marquee “Sunbeams”. The cycling operation was successful and as tastes changed and technology advanced, the cycle-maker began dabbling in motor vehicle construction. According to historians, the company produced a number of experimental cars between 1899 and 1901 however none ever made it to the consumer market. It wasn’t until they partnered with designer Maxwell Maberley-Smith in 1901 that the first Sunbeam automobile emerged for commercial sale. Unfortunately their first attempt was a bit of a flop, selling only a few hundred vehicles when production ended in 1904.
In 1905 the Sunbeam Motorcar Company Ltd was separated from the Sunbeam motorcycle and bicycle operation before Marston brought in another designer for their next attempt. By 1912 were making conventional, high-quality vehicles which appealed to consumers at the time who were looking for a little less flash and extravagance offered by their most direct competitors, Rolls Royce. Through the World Wars, Sunbeam like many other vehicle makers became a supplier for military vehicle parts and technological advancements.
A Sunbeam was the first British car to win a Grand Prix race, where it simultaneously set a number of land speed records. However in 1935 the company went into near bankruptcy and was purchased by the Rootes Group marking a turning point in the brand’s history. In 1938 Rootes created a new marque called Sunbeam-Talbot which lead to a number of successful roadsters, racers and sports-performance vehicles. The Rootes Group continued to use the Sunbeam marque to much success until 1976 at which time the marquee was acquired by Chrysler who would go on to completely re-brand the vehicle lines. This resulted in a loss of brand loyalty and enthusiasm among consumers and coupled with diminishing sales eventually lead to a halt in production in 1978.
Whether you are a fan of the early days or the Chrysler era, protecting your antique Sunbeam auto or bike is important. At Condon Skelly, we know how exciting collecting exotic, classic and sports cars can be. That’s why we specialize in offering complete car insurance for classic car. We’re a group of collectors, enthusiasts, and professionals who specialize in insuring all types of collector vehicles. Our team is as passionate about protecting your vehicles as you are about collecting them. We can help you secure affordable, industry-leading specialty car insurance coverage to protect your classic, antique, or exotic vehicles. For more information, contact our antique classic car insurance specialists today at (866) 291-5694.