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How Fast is a Sunbeam

Discussion in 'Rootes Racing' started by jdoclogan, Jan 26, 2020.

  1. jdoclogan

    jdoclogan Platinum Level Sponsor

    A January, 2020 article on Ferrari Chat provided an insight into the current status of super car owners need for speed. The highly desirable 200 mph often becomes only an unobtainable dream. A stretch of flat surface long enough to safely and physically attain the benchmark is rare. Sure Hollywood movies have everyone thinking you can go out on some desert highway and find the perfect stretch of road. Or the myth that the USA version of the German Autobahn exist somewhere in Montana on I90. Apparently the best place is at NASA's space shuttle landing strip in Florida. Flat, clean, and at sea level (the best elevation so one can obtain the highest horsepower from the engine).
    Most of us on the SAOCA site recognize that Sunbeam produced the 1000 (aka "the Slug") that broke the land speed record in 1927 (a Schylling model below). The speed of 203.792 Miles Per Hour was like out of science fiction for most that were driving under 50 mph at the time. The first super car with approximately 900 hp.
    Note: the SAOCA calendar proudly hanging in the background - thanks to all involved with producing the 2020 calendar.

    My question here: What is the highest speed your Sunbeam or any Sunbeam you know has attained?

    I know our speedometers are not the best. When my gauge showed 102 mph in my Harrington Le Mans on the straight at Pacific Raceway in Kent, Washington I was dubious of the accuracy. Or the 126 mph my Tiger showed one Sunday morning on the country highway near my home. So share your own observation or what you believe to be true from an article or some glorious myth with your local car club. If you have a time slip from the Bonneville salt flats even better.
    Now off to the shop to work on #41 Sebring race car.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  2. Barry

    Barry Platinum Level Sponsor

    Fishing story rules!
  3. jdoclogan

    jdoclogan Platinum Level Sponsor

    Absolutely!! It is all about the stories of going fast.
  4. 65beam

    65beam Bronze Level Sponsor

    There is an owner in our area ( Cincinnati ) that runs his Tiger in the measured mile in various locations in the Midwest. Hugh is limited to 162 MPH which he achieves at roughly the 1/2 mile mark and coasts the rest of the way. There are videos of his runs on the web. His Tiger is capable of even higher speeds. A few years back Doug Jennings put the car thru it's pace so hard at an auto cross that the doors came unlatched.
  5. jdoclogan

    jdoclogan Platinum Level Sponsor

    Too funny, my drivers door came unlatched on my Series III at the SUNI IV autocross in Park City, Utah. Fun driving with one hand holding the door closed while trying to run between the proper cones.
  6. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    My first Sunbeam, a Series II with O.D., did a two way average of 100 mph. 95 southbound, 105 northbound. Same stretch of road, done within a period of less than ten minutes. Chilly (30's) November day in 1964. Showroom stock. Car had about 20,000 miles on it.

    I had the current car up to 95, not about to see how fast it is. The conditions were perfect, I' not.

  7. Barry

    Barry Platinum Level Sponsor

    Seems reasonable. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence indicating that 100 gross crankshaft HP will get a Series Alpine to 100 MPH. Based on that, it would only take about 260 HP to get to 162 MPH (more to do it in a half mile) and a SBF can easily produce that much power. Stock aerodynamics at that speed would create a significant cojones requirement.
  8. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Diamond Level Sponsor

    The interesting thing - he says there are no stability issues. Most guys think they get kinda light in the front end.
  9. 65beam

    65beam Bronze Level Sponsor

    There are changes that have been made to the car that put down force on both the front and back of the car. The front air dam used during these runs is similar to what is on Patton's GT 2 Tiger.He also has what I would call a custom built front suspension. Watch some of his videos and see for your self.
  10. 65beam

    65beam Bronze Level Sponsor

    Like you I was there and I've seen how you drive and I believe that Doug drives a tad harder and faster than you. He pushes any car hard.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  11. jdoclogan

    jdoclogan Platinum Level Sponsor

    Driving in the Stock Alpine class I took first place by 3 seconds. It wasn't about my ability, just the way the Alpine was set up. The door was coming unhinged because the latch wasn't properly adjusted. I remember seeing Rosemary Smith drive the #9 Tiger Le Mans and her door should have opened up from all the spin outs she ended up doing. Way too much fun for all of us.

    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  12. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    I had my SV up to 95 on the way home from the 2006 Covington United. At least that is what the speedo showed. I was very lucky not to have documented proof of my speed, as the 6 cars in front of me all got pulled over as we drove though a speed trap. I escaped only because I was the 7th car and they ran out of cops before they got to me. It certainly wasn't the smartest thing I have done in my adult life, but it was a beautiful day and I just fell in with a bad crowd. ;)
    Paul A likes this.
  13. alpine_64

    alpine_64 Donation Time

    Lawrence E. Mayfield, (Larry, Mayfield) broke the 200mph barrier in his LSR alpine... But there wasnt much stock sunbeam left in it..caged..tubed and lots between. The SIV auto based alger had a Twin turbo 302 and pulled 210mph with a 2 way average of over 204mph.

    The Le Mans Tiger #8 these days pulls up to 159mph on the goodwood track woth its heavily worked iron head solid lifter 289 and thats with short gearing not its old LM gearing that got it to 162mph on the Mulsane in period... With the LM gearing that car would pull some big MPH these days putting down around 470hp apparently and with the silppery body.

    The green 5 speed alloy block 363 monster has been mentioned... That car is street driven.

    Jerry Porsche has his alloy block twin turbo street driven drag Tiger hitting 8 second 1/4s and big trap numbers.

    Ive seen 6100rpm in my Tiger on the fromt straight at Phillip Island race circuit with 3.07 rear and 195/60/14s and stock trans... It aint any record speed for a Sunbeam..... But was plenty fast enough in a Tiger...
  14. 65beam

    65beam Bronze Level Sponsor

    The trophies from SUNI 4 are the best looking SUNI trophies. That looks good. The trophy from 09 was the one with the 3D Alpine in the cube and 14 was the engraved lexan. It's been close to 16 years since SUNI 4 and I tend to forget. What car did you have and what was your time? I probably have photos of your car. I remember Wally Swift driving his Alpine over the years and turning in better times than Tigers and FTD most of the time. Here's a comparison of trophies from other SUNI's. I must have stashed the trophy from SUNI 2. I can't find it.

    Attached Files:

  15. 65beam

    65beam Bronze Level Sponsor

    SUNI 5 trophy

    Attached Files:

  16. alpine_64

    alpine_64 Donation Time

    Maybe we need a thread for the fastest your car has been in a trailer :)
  17. spmdr

    spmdr Donation Time

    As a reference, back in my I'll spent youth, I had a '65 Mustang up to an indicated 110 on an unopened new freeway.

    The front end Did feel a bit light! And I had the distinct feeling if I kept it up or attempted any more speed, it may get UGLY.

    Then I got into Tigers ( about 35 years ago) and ran my warmed over 260 street Tiger to 125, measured by a very accurate digital driving computer.

    It was on the I10 going down Cajon pass, a quick and dirty exercise just to see what it was like to go that fast.

    I WAS truly "passing cars like they were standing still!"

    Years later in the Vintage race Tiger world, I have only run a 3.31 gear in my Black and Yellow Tiger.

    And the math says it pulls 148 @ 7400 with 205-60x13 tires (22.25"OD).

    The fastest I have gone is in Tom's yellow Tiger at Fontana on the front straight.

    After a few attempts, I kept my foot in it to 7400 with 3.07 gears, the math saying 160.

    At that speed, dropping the throttle DOES give the feeling of substantial braking!

    But I was quite surprised how stable the Tiger was at 160, no noticeable front end lightness.

    In the Alpine world, I get the sense I am barely beyond the crawling stage, of around 95-100.

    A LOT of room left for fine tuning for top speed/power!

    And, YES conditions ARE everything!

    A little head wind is VERY noticeable!

    And a TAIL wind, .... a TRUE gift!
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  18. 65beam

    65beam Bronze Level Sponsor

    I'd win that hands down considering the speeds I run when pulling a trailer. There are a few here that can verify that.
  19. alpine_64

    alpine_64 Donation Time

    Still dont see a speed listed.

    Ok. Ill go.. Ive towed the alpine racer on a single axle trailer at 80mph. That was with tyres that probably shouldn't have been doing 30mph... But was the return leg of a 17hour drive done in 1 day.
  20. jdoclogan

    jdoclogan Platinum Level Sponsor

    I like it Dan. Here is a poem I wrote years ago for an ailing friend that we can all live by.
    May the wind be at your back on the straightaways.
    May you grip the road in the curves
    May your pit stops be refreshing
    May you take solace that you did your best.

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