1983 Talbot Sunbeam Lotus Limited Edition
Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Northamptonshire, U.K. | May 28, 2022
We’ve covered the history of the Talbot marque before, and it’s very confusing. We’ll pick up the trail in 1935 when the Rootes Group had both Talbot and Sunbeam under their ownership. Sunbeam-Talbot was a marque that existed from 1935 through 1954, when the cars just became Sunbeams. This was because Talbot-Lago was operating in France and it was confusing. Still is.
Well Talbot-Lago only lasted five more years after that. The dormant Talbot name was then sold to Simca, which became part of Chrysler Europe in 1970. In 1977, Chrysler introduced the Chrysler Sunbeam model. It was a three-door hatchback. It was not very exciting.
However, Chrysler dumped Chrysler Europe on PSA (Peugeot/Citroen) in 1978 for $1. PSA in turn dumped the Chrysler name, rebranding all Chryslers in Europe as Talbots. So now, a few decades removed from Sunbeam-Talbot, there was a Talbot Sunbeam on sale in Europe. Around this time, they also wanted to make the Sunbeam (the model) more exciting.
The hot-hatch Ti variant was introduced in 1978. Chrysler had already been in talks with Lotus to build a rally version of the Sunbeam to take on the Ford Escort RS. Thus, the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus was born, and it went on sale in 1979. It was one of the best hot hatches of the ’70s/’80s.
Power is from a 2.2-liter high-compression version of the Lotus 907 inline-four. Road cars were rated at 150 horsepower. Rally cars were able to get up to 250 horsepower out of the engine. There were also suspension and exhaust tweaks. The car was responsible for Talbot winning the WRC manufacturer’s championship in 1981.
Only 1,184 right-hand-drive examples were made before production ceased due to the fact that they were more expensive to make than they could sell them for. Fifty-six of them were taken by Ladbroke Avon Coachworks to be turned into “Limited Edition” cars that featured the paint scheme seen here.
This limited-edition Sunbeam Lotus carries a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$37,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $28,914.