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OCT 24th 2014

Fancy a brand new rwd Lotus‑engined hot hatch?

With many older cars, it’s their history that gives them their provenance and value. But what about a car whose history is that it has none? That’s the case with this ‘brand new’ 1980 Talbot Sunbeam Lotus which, despite its 34 years, is absolutely factory-fresh, showing just 193 miles on the odometer. And, no, we didn’t miss a zero.

Talbot Sunbeam Lotus

Its past is slightly mysterious. The left-hand-drive machine is currently owned by a UK-based collector who went to Italy buy another car altogether, saw the new-old Sunbeam Lotus and had to have it. It has never been registered, but has apparently been looked after to keep it in good health despite its lack of use. It rather begs the question why you would buy a renowned driver’s car just to park it.

A quick history lesson. The Sunbeam Lotus came about when Chrysler commissioned the Norfolk firm to produce a Group 4 international rally car. They took the boxy body and added a 2.2-litre twin-cam engine and 5-speed ZF gearbox. As well going into rallying, it also spawned an entertaining road car.

This example represents a great opportunity to a prospective buyer. Think modern hot hatches are too sanitised? Here’s the foil: a ‘new’ old-school hot hatch… with rear-wheel-drive to boot. You could even have your name on the logbook first – and this is not hypothetical…

Silverstone Auctions will be offering the car for sale at its NEC classic car show sale on the 16th November. The estimate? £24,000 to £28,000 – which is right in the ballpark of, say, a new Renaultsport Megane. The Renault may be faster, safer and more powerful… but the Sunbeam is a rear-wheel-drive Lotus. The choice is yours…

Talbot Sunbeam Lotus

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