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2021 Club Calendar Monthly Car Articles

Discussion in 'General SAOCA Discussions' started by 65sunbeam, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. 65sunbeam

    65sunbeam SAOCA Membership Director Diamond Level Sponsor

    Welcome to 2021!
    Let's use this thread for those who have their car featured in the calendar to share some info about their car as it appears each month. Such as how long you have owned it, what you have done to it, longest road trip, future changes, etc. Thanks for sharing "the rest of the story" with us as well as for sending in those photos for this calendar!
    Silver Creek Sunbeam and Slainte like this.
  2. puff4

    puff4 Gold Level Sponsor

    Well, as I will without question forget to post this when my month finally comes around, I'll just bite the bullet and do it now, with many thanks for featuring my car in this year's calendar.

    Our tale begins....

    Back when I had a business restoring cars (of all sorts - British, Italian, American, German, what have you), a lovely, petite, middle-aged lady popped into the shop and introduced me to her rather nice, carnival red, SV Alpine. She asked if I would 'fix it up' so she and her husband could take a second honeymoon in it when he returned from his mission.

    It seems Mrs. Baughman's husband, a 42-year-old flight officer in the U.S. Navy, had purchased the car new when he was stationed in Reykjavik, Iceland. He actually bought it, not from a dealer per se, but from the "Base Agent" who presumably sold you any sort of car you wanted, so long as they could haul it over on a ship. He ordered it with nearly all the bells and whistles that the fine folks at Rootes had on offer... it had a hard top, tonneau, overdrive, heater, manual windscreen washer, clock, ammeter, wheel trims, reversing lamp (dealer installed), cigar lighter, radio, sun visors, seat belts, tool kit, crank, trunk mat, upgraded tyres and even the very rare option of twin rear seat cushions. Our fine officer eventually brought it back to the US, where he and his wife, who had recently married, took it on their honeymoon. Over the years the couple kept fairly meticulous records, including receipts for nearly all the service work, and they enjoyed a great many drives and trips in it. At one point Navy Lieutenant Commander Baughman was assigned to go to Central America for the Navy (during the 1976-77 Nicaraguan mess), leaving Mrs. Baughman here with the car, whereupon I entered the story, as noted above.

    In my shop it was treated to quite a bit of work, including a rebuild of the carburettors, rebuild of the gearbox, wiring work and some badly needed suspension repairs. When all done, it was right as rain - the car never had any rust and still retained its original and nicely running motor. I delivered the little Alpine back to Mrs. Baughman and it was then presumably all set for the loving couple to enjoy it for their second honeymoon and for many more years to come. Except that didn't happen. Tragically, LtCmdr Baughman never came home... he perished while away on deployment, on November 24, 1977. His body was brought back to a grief-shattered wife, and he was subsequently buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

    Mrs. Baughman kept the Sunbeam, unable to part with it because of its attachment to her beloved husband, and because of the bittersweet memories it held. She drove the car occasionally, and kept it sheltered in a dry garage, but clearly did not drive it enough to keep it from mechanically deteriorating. She would call me up from time to time to ask if I'd get it running again for her, and for a few years I fixed things like dead batteries, an alternator, flat brakes and the like... all for free, as I felt considerable sympathy for her, though she always protested and demanded I at least take the money for the parts, for which I sometimes relented and accepted.

    One day Mrs. Baughman rang me up and told me that, sadly, she would just have to let the Alpine go - the car wasn't getting driven enough and she felt awful about the prospects of it falling into further disrepair. She said that since I knew a great many people in the motorcar field, would I know of anyone who might like to buy it and take care of it? I asked how much she would be asking and she said "Well, I suppose $2,000." Now, in 1981, Sunbeams weren't worth all that much, but given this was a rust-free and virtually mint original example, I felt it could have been worth considerably more. I replied "Well, Mrs. Baughman, the car may be worth much more - actually, even I'd be interested at that price" to which she rapidly replied "Oh, Kevin, you've been so kind to me over the years, I'd be happy to sell it to you for $1,600. I know you'll take good care of it." It took a slightly less than a nanosecond for me to to stammer the words "Umm... w-w-wait right there, Mrs. Baughman.... Uh... I'll be right up!" I purchased it that very spring afternoon.

    And so... time has since then quietly slipped away... my hair has gone white and my bones ache a wee bit more, but it now seems I will have been caretaker for this little Alpine for almost all of 40 years, with the anniversary due to arrive the in spring of this year of our Lord 2021. I've tried my best to preserve the car, and I think I've done fairly well, all things being equal. It's definitely not perfect, but it's perfect enough. Sometime this spring I will drink a toast to LtCmdr Baughman and his lovely wife Joanne, and quietly tell them how much I've appreciated their memory-filled gift.

    Mrs. Baughman, as it happens, later became a dental assistant working for my own dentist, so as such, she got to 'visit' with the car on several occasions when I would drive it there to get my teeth cleaned. If I hadn't driven it to a visit, she'd always ask how 'her' Alpine was, and I'd always let her know it was doing just fine, and I'd share some stories about where my wife and I had recently been in it. Mrs. Baughman retired after a time, and passed away in 2016, knowing her treasured memories were still in good hands. She was buried next to her beloved Robert, in Arlington National Cemetery, forever together.

    The car, and me, in recent years.


    The base agent price sheet, from Mrs. Baughman's records. I think this may have actually been for an earlier year car, but I suspect that's the only information the agent had, being he was located in far-off Reykjavik, and likely didn't get the most recent updates!


    A place, and a man, of honor.

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
    Toyanvil, SierraNev, John W and 4 others like this.
  3. Aladin Sane

    Aladin Sane Gold Level Sponsor

    Now that is the kind of info I was hoping to get when I asked about this type of thread for last years calendar. Thanks for pinning this topic and for the first contribution.
    puff4 likes this.
  4. sunalp

    sunalp Platinum Level Sponsor

    Great story Kevin! Thoroughly enjoy reading stories of "how it came to me" and this one is truly

    Thanks so much for posting it!
    puff4 likes this.
  5. 65sunbeam

    65sunbeam SAOCA Membership Director Diamond Level Sponsor

    Excellent Kevin-what a great history you have with your Alpine! My own story for Miss March and a few of the small thumbnail photos will pale in comparison.......
    puff4 likes this.
  6. Silver Creek Sunbeam

    Silver Creek Sunbeam Platinum Level Sponsor

    If Motor Trend ever starts a series called "Car Stories - Tales of Automobiles and Their Owners" or something to that effect...this would make an EXCELLENT episode. That was great...
    Out of curiosity...is the car 'named'?
    puff4 likes this.
  7. Slainte

    Slainte Gold Level Sponsor

    You've set a high standard for the rest of us, Kevin. It will be hard to equal your story. I'd better start working on April right away!
    puff4 likes this.
  8. puff4

    puff4 Gold Level Sponsor

    No, not as such, but I usually refer to it as "The Bunseam"... admittedly not the most glorious of monikers, but it has a certain ring. ;):D
  9. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Diamond Level Sponsor

    What a wonderful story! IIRC, my car is Miss December. I'd better get started on my write-up now, although even Hemingway couldn't bring my story up to the standard you just set; the core material isn't there.
    puff4 likes this.
  10. Rick Young

    Rick Young Platinum Level Sponsor

    Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it.
  11. Paul354

    Paul354 Gold Level Sponsor

    So, after reading puff4s article I had to go back to the drawing board.

    Calendar January

    This Series V was purchased by my uncle George new in 1966. It came with backup lights $12, seat belts $21, ammeter $20, hard top $200, tonneau cover $35, Rootes radio $98 and 2 outside mirrors $15. It was his 3rd Alpine. He had owned a Series II and a Series IV, trading each in for the latest model Alpine every 2 years. George returned to the dealer in 1968 to purchase his next Alpine only to find out they were no longer making them. He decided to keep this one as his summer car.

    George was meticulous about maintaining repair history, I have copies of everything from the sales brochures, owners’ manual, and bill of sale for all 3 cars and itemized repair records. During the first 2 years of ownership this Alpine was his daily driver including winter. He worked as a professor at the University of Guelph, Ontario Canada. His daily commute was approximately 30 Miles per day, about 8,000 Miles per year. The car was always kept in the garage and George always made sure it was operational each year.

    My most memorable trip with the Alpine was when it was new, and I was six! In the summer of 1966, our family went on vacation to Port Clyde Maine and George brought the Alpine, he had just purchased it in April. It was a round trip of about 1,500 miles. I have owned the car for a few years now and it is in fairly good original condition with some rust in the usual places. As the current caretaker I work to keep it on the road and continue to drive it in the summer.

    1966  7  7  Paul  Catherine. Port Clydejpg copy.jpg

    My sister and I with the new Alpine in the background. Port Clyde Maine 1966

    The blanket we used to build the lean-to is currently on the back seat of the car.

    1962  6  George and Sunbeam  jpg (2).jpg

    George with his earlier Series II Notice the snow tires

    Attached Files:

    SierraNev, Slainte, John W and 4 others like this.
  12. puff4

    puff4 Gold Level Sponsor

    :D Haha! Well, I’m glad I was inspirational!

    That’s a great story, Paul. Love the photos, too! So great to ‘keep it in the family’. Well done!

  13. Slainte

    Slainte Gold Level Sponsor

    Great story, Paul. Those rear tires speak of a car that was used thoroughly and well. Thanks for sharing.
  14. absunbeam

    absunbeam Gold Level Sponsor

    Good story Paul, I just took a set off some wire wheels last fall. Should have kept them, you could have recreated the SII pic! They were re-capped with snow tire tread.
  15. sunalp

    sunalp Platinum Level Sponsor

    Having always owned "someone else's" Sunbeam , I always thought it great when someone hangs onto
    their Alpine for life and passes it to someone that appreciates it.

    I have a customer that has his dads Alpine that's very original and in really nice shape. When I was working
    on it my wife came in the shop and was looking it over and thought it really interesting. I said to her "how come
    my dad didn't leave me something cool like this. She just turned to me and said " your dad wasn't cool"

    takes a cool parent or uncle to leave something like this. Great story Paul!

  16. rixter

    rixter Platinum Level Sponsor

    My Alpines are featured this month in the SAOCA calendar. That and a poke has me saying a little about them. I first saw a finned light blue Alpine as a kid growing up in the mid 1960s. It was something that stuck with me through many years of owning other cars as an adult. In 2011, I casually was conversing with a fellow in my bike club who was also in a British car club. I happened to mention always wanting to get a Sunbeam Alpine. His response was that he had a friend who owned one and was selling it. When I went to check it out, it was not the finned model I desired, but a Carnival Red series 5. The look grew on me and I was swayed that this series had all the latest improvements. I had it towed home and went through all the typical head scratching that many inexperienced first time owners of these cars deal with as it relates to things performed by previous owners and years of aging combined with varying levels of neglect. Little did I know how long it was going to take me to get the thing road-worthy. That finally happened a couple of years ago. I've been having a blast attending some car collector gatherings and taking the wife and friends for rides or going for ice cream on a warm summer evening, or even just cruising around the neighborhood. The owners on this forum have been so helpful in my journey and I am thankful for that.

    A couple of years ago a series 3 Alpine came up on eBay in my region of the country. And it was in Wedgewood Blue color. The owner advertised it as "a mess". At least he was an honest seller. I went on site to see the car and was torn between any notions of a restore versus what it was worth in parts. Many parts were taken off the car and stored in the trunk or interior. Everything seemed to be there. I had the advantage of not just working with these cars, but also knowing what parts sell for on eBay and other markets. I was convinced there was easily enough value in parts to tow it home. So I bid and was the only bidder. Hmmm. I parked it in an old tent garage while other things took front burner. Twice I had to raid parts from it for my series 5. That was good on one hand, but I knew anything raided from it would have to be replaced if restoration was the fate for it. Fast forward to last year when I had a pole barn constructed solely for the Alpines. The tent garage blew down during the final construction of the pole barn, so that was timely. I've made the decision to save the series 3 and not part it out. I do not know if this will be a mistake, but this was the dream car for me as explained above. It has floor pan and other issues, but appears to be quite solid where it counts. While expenses aren't a drawback for me, I want to perform as much of the work as possible by myself. That is a big undertaking, I know. But it is one I am looking forward to... both for the experiences and the rewards. Learning all the little details that differentiate the series models is intriguing to me. Just the other day I learned of what looks like may be at least three ways that the heat registers direct airflow in the foot wells. I was going to post some photos on the forum seeing if anyone knew the possible thinking in the design process and the point at which they changed from one type to another. That will be for another post.

    Stay tuned for progress on the series 3, and who knows... maybe in ten years I'll be able to submit a photo for the 2031 calendar.

    SierraNev, John W, hartmandm and 3 others like this.
  17. 65sunbeam

    65sunbeam SAOCA Membership Director Diamond Level Sponsor

    March 1st-my turn.....
    Doug Jennings in Ohio called me late July of last year to tell me that someone in Florida had called him and said they had 3 Alpines they wanted to sell as a group because the owner was in poor health and was trying to clean up his property. They were too far away for Doug to check out so he thought I would be interested. I called up the friend of the owner -who did not know much about British cars-but he told me a little about the Sunbeams and mentioned that there was a Hillman Husky too and would email me some photos.
    So I got the photos. One is the March car-I loved the bolt on spare tire! The Husky is on the bottom of February, and another Alpine is at the bottom of June. After looking at the photos I called him back and asked if there were any other cars for sale. He said this man had about 25 cars and all were to be sold. So I asked him what they were-mostly old American cars from the 60's and they had all been sitting outside for about 30 years like the Sunbeams had and most were parts cars and very rusty. And then came the surprise-he told me he had a few VW's too. 3 bugs and 1 bus. Oh and the bus is one of the few cars that had been stored inside for 30 years. It was an early split window bus which got my interest as my father had one about 50 years ago and my two brothers had a few over the years too. So with a friend's help with his truck and trailer, we ended up getting 3 cars out of there. The VW bus, an Austin Healey 100-6 that was so rusty it broke in half when loaded on the trailer, and the Hillman Husky which I gave to my friend for helping me. This was the longest and busiest road trip I had made since the whole virus mess started and it felt good to get out of the house and do something! Even with all the heavy rain and mud and miserable conditions for moving the cars.
    The Sunbeams were too far gone and had been used as parts cars for years so not much left and not worth hauling back to South Carolina. The VW bugs were the same-one had sat in the woods so long a 10 DSC02965.JPG DSC02948.JPG DSC02951.JPG DSC03000.JPG inch tree grew between the front bumper and the body.
    I will attach a few photos of what we saw there......

    Attached Files:

    John W, Slainte, puff4 and 2 others like this.
  18. Wayne67vert

    Wayne67vert Donation Time

    Nice find Eric.
  19. John W

    John W Diamond Level Sponsor

    What great stories!

    I dug the calendar up last night after seeing Rixter's blue firewall in the SIII engine photos.

    Whoever thought of attaching "screen names" to the calendar photos needs a pat on the back.

    Again, great stories! Really enjoyed this.

    April's story has got to be interesting, even if that car was purchased yesterday.
  20. absunbeam

    absunbeam Gold Level Sponsor

    It’s great to get those phone calls telling you to go look at someones collection, buy it and bring it home. Lots of labor but the reward is worth it. Keeps the marque going! Love the moss patina! In Florida things don’t stop growing and there are things that can kill you.

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