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1963 Quartz Blue Sunbeam Alpine Restoration

Discussion in '"Stock" Alpine' started by Sunbeam63, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Sunbeam63

    Sunbeam63 Donation Time

    Hello all,

    My name is Solomon Wilharm. I just wanted to share with you my current progress on my Series III Alpine that I've started a frame on restoration. I bought this car back in 2009, picked up in North Dakota off eBay. As you can see from the photos, this is a code 61 car, with the quartz blue and the light blue seats. The serial number is B9200921. If you recall, you may have noticed there was another car that belonged to the username Ghoul. That car was quite the project and I have since taken it off from his hands, so I own two Quartz Blue Alpines. Other than these two, I have seen two on the internet that are restored, and a GT down in Texas for sale on eBay some years back. So I know of 5 total. I will be using the parts car to rebuild my car, as it had some usable body panels. I believe it was fitting that these two old quartz blue cars will be made into one beautiful car.

    It wasn't until around 2012 that I finally got my alpine running. The first thing done was changing the ball joints with new old stock ones and replace the rear brake lines and cylinders. Then I started repairing the engine by going all the way down to the head and redid the whole top half of the engine. This old car had once been worked on, but the work was very shotty. The engine had been repainted chevy orange (I'm still not sure it's the original engine), there were bent valves, bent rods, stripped bolt head screws, there are pop rivets in the floor pans, all the interior panels had been changed to an ugly burgundy color, cruddy paint job and it looks like it could have been in an accident at one time.

    First thing is first, I wanted to get it running the correct way. The head was planed down, fuel pump replaced, fuel line cleaned out, fuel tanks boiled out and coated inside, the radiator boiled out. Anything mechanical that ran the car was gone through. The biggest problem we had was that the brake booster must have gotten brake fluid leaked in it, so we overhauled it.


    In the Summer of 2013, I had the glorious experience of driving the beautiful thing. All these years waiting had finally led up to that point. However, the booster still would not release (I believe there was too much pitting in the booster), so I bought another one in the spring of 2014 in hopes to solve the problem. The day that I replaced booster, I pulled the car out, but unfortunately the clutch would not work; I could put the car in gear, but as soon as I released the clutch, it would not go out of gear. I figured it was the slave cylinder, so I bought and installed a new slave cylinder, had no luck. Now I believe it is the master cylinder that went out.

    I decided if the clutch is out, I may as well begin restoring it. In the summer of 2014, I started to take everything out and meticulously label everything in little plastic bags. I can't believe my whole car is inventoried in little zip-lock baggies! Finally, in the winter of 2014, everything is out. You can now see that I have sand blasted and primed the car. The next step will be to start repairing all the damage.


    As I had predicted, it was once in an accident. Just about every panel is banged up. This is where that other alpine will come in. I've been told it is better to replace than repair, but as no fins are being made at this time, I will use the parts alpine to restore it. That parts car has come to be a blessing and will be used more than I thought. However, all in all, this car is a lot cleaner than I had expected.


    My plans with the car is to restore it as original as I can possibly get it, and to do it the right way. The way I saw the horrible engine work turned me off to cutting corners, and this little car deserves much more. So far, the only things that won't be stock on this car is the synchronized transmission I picked up, big fat white wall tires and complete light blue carpet (it is an ST, so it came with rubber mats). Otherwise, this car will be as original as possible, including the color and interior color. The paint and interior are actually in the process of getting matched now. I'm hoping to have it done by the fall of this year, but it is an expensive hobby, and as a college student, I can only do so much! I'd appreciate any comments and tips given, as I know I'll need it. I'm doing my research on this car, but I welcome all thoughts; help me do this right! Thank you so much for taking interest in this car!

  2. 99ZoomR

    99ZoomR Donation Time

    Looks good Solomon! Keep us posted on your progress, and don't be afraid to ask anytime you need help. There are some very experienced and helpful Beamers on here.

  3. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    Yes, little cars are expensive! It is often said that a boat is a hole in the water that you fill with money. A car is simply something that you fill with money.

    Be patient and keep it in your mind as you rebuild. I think that is the most important thing to keep in mind as you travel down the Alpine Road. For years, every night as I fell asleep, I was thinking about the Alpine. How to build/rebuild it, how it would perform, the good times we were going to have in it.

  4. Tom H

    Tom H Platinum Level Sponsor

    Solomon, you can easily tell if it's the original engine. The engine S/N is stamped on a machined surface on the right side, just below the push rod cover and just behind or above the fuel pump. If it matches the car serial number, it's original.

    Tom Hayden
  5. Alpine66

    Alpine66 SAOCA Vice President Donation Time

    Congrats on your restoration, post some pics and send us a link.
  6. Sunbeam63

    Sunbeam63 Donation Time

    Hey Forum,

    It's been 5 years since I've posted in this thread. I figured I'd show how the car came out and share some photos. If there is interest, I can give more information. My goal was to get this car completed before my wedding, which we were able to achieve, literally placing parts on the weekend before. I never thought I'd know so much about Sunbeam Alpines, but now I feel I may actually know something! My goal was to get this car as close to stock/original as possible. As usual, there are some things I wish were different, but overall I am very proud of this car, especially as it is my first full restoration. I had plans to show it off at the last annual Sunbeam United, but I ended up moving to Oregon in the month prior. Which is a shame, as I only live 3 hours from where the meet up took place! Anyways, please take a look at the photos and tell me what you guys think. As stated, if there are more questions, I can provide more info.

    First we'll start with some exterior parts. The photo below is the day I really first drove it. You can see the passenger seat is not even back from the upholsterer.


    The photo below is on the wedding day. We got really lucky and had some beautiful weather.


    You can see below I found a very nice Series 3 hood emblem. The front air dam is obviously not original, but it can be removed.


    Some more nice professional shots.

    69260929_10157383838232403_7275369837134610432_o (1).jpg 69662906_10157383834557403_6452340406846750720_o.jpg

    A photo of the professionally restored dash and steering wheel. I didn't get the horn ring painted, but I'm having issues with it getting a good ground, so it may have to come out anyway.


    Here is another interior shot. I did my best to match the light blue vinyl. The grain doesn't match, but its high quality vinyl that should last a long time. You can also see I'm missing the top stow door trim. Please let me know if anyone has them! It's not in this picture, but I do have a matching rear seat made up.


    I had a full set of seats still made up, so I wanted to see the changes they went through. I'm really proud in that I worked with the upholsterer to keep the original way the seats were made. I knew that was unique to this year, and wanted to maintain that.


    Here is the engine shot. This is unfortunately not the original engine to the car. In fact, it's a series 2 engine. But no matter, It's a good running engine and will drive the car down the road. The engine, carburetors, brake booster and steering column (If anyone wants to know, the column does come out with the dash and engine installed) were all rebuilt and work beautifully.


    As I said, there are a few things that didn't turn out as I wish, but overall it exceeded my expectations. And most importantly, the things I learned and the hundreds of wonderful people that helped me along the way can't be beat; and some of those people are no longer with us (These old cars and technologies are outlasting the ones who grew up with them!).

    Thanks for those who looked at this, I'm proud to share it with you. Now on to the next project!
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
    sunalp60, alpine_64 and puff4 like this.
  7. Sunbeam63

    Sunbeam63 Donation Time

    It looks like the original photos in the post are lost. For those that don't remember, here are some photos before I started:

    163425_484406107402_4115243_n.jpg 10459893_10152520423197403_8207289975393694007_n.jpg
  8. sunalp

    sunalp Platinum Level Sponsor

    You have every right to be proud! What a pretty car and a very rare color .
    Always had a soft spot for 3's.
  9. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane Gold Level Sponsor

    That looks great Soloman. I hope my current project comes out as well as yours did.
  10. alpine_64

    alpine_64 Donation Time

    A great project veey well done. Also fantastic you kept the original s3 early microcell seperate nase squab seats.

    Car is a credit to you.. Lovely
  11. Slainte

    Slainte Gold Level Sponsor

    Such a great color. You've done a nice job of bringing the car back to life.
  12. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    I love the color and am glad to see another unmolested Alpine on the road. They are such pretty little cars.
  13. bernd_st

    bernd_st Bronze Level Sponsor

    Excellent job and indeed a very rare colour. Like that you put a lot of effort to achieve the S3 original style. Thumbs up !
  14. ChrisR

    ChrisR Platinum Level Sponsor

    Congratulations. Looks fantastic.
    Maybe some pictures already for next years calendar
  15. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    What a great looking car! Congratulations on bringing a rare S3 back to life. And, on your wedding. And, for getting it ready in time for your wedding! Good news all around.

    I also agree with Chris' comment about the 2021 calendar. I have to assume your photographer's photos - I'm partial to the black and white one, but others might prefer one in color - will more than meet Greggers' needs, as long as we can use them. I hope so; it would be nice to be able to feature your handiwork.
  16. sunalp60

    sunalp60 Gold Level Sponsor

    Beautiful car Solomon, Love that color. You did a wonderful job bringing it back.
  17. alpine_64

    alpine_64 Donation Time

    The photos are really nice.... But i got to ask...why is the windcsreen blind in the car for the pics ..??? :eek:
  18. Sunbeam63

    Sunbeam63 Donation Time

    First of all thank you for the support! It took a lot of work, and it's nice to see others have noticed some of the details I tried to keep!

    Michael, I actually didn't know they were going to take photos of the car! I staged the car, but it was in the sun, so I put the shade up. They took some photos while the wedding was starting.

    Jim, Wow this would be amazing. There are some more photos I could provide to select. I spoke with the photographers, and they said they were happy to have one of their photos selected. I told them I would somehow credit them, as well as get them a copy! But they are very on board with it.
  19. alpine_64

    alpine_64 Donation Time

    Another quick question.. You have removed the scuttle brace on the left side. This is sometimes done to clear aftermarket carns (weber dcoes etc) but note you have stock zeniths. Are you missimg the brace or another reason? A few members heee could help you with the part
  20. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    Great! While we almost always have to scramble for usable photos, Greggers, our VP and Technical Director, has already said that he is running well ahead of normal on photo submissions for next year. While Greg's usual problem is with photos that aren't suitable for enlarging to 8 1/2 x 11, I assume your professional photos will be more than sufficient. My suggestion is that you send him one or two of your favorites. Let's overwhelm him with options for 2021!

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