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1969 Sunbeam Alpine GT: Baby Barracuda from Britain

I was browsing the website of BarnFinds.Com and saw a photo of this white two-door fastback for sale at Hemmings for $18,500 or best offer. Immediately, I concluded that it was a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda but upon closer inspection, I knew that it was not. “Is it a Fiat Dino or an Opel Kadett?” I asked myself and again, I was wrong on both counts.

And then I read the description included with the photo: it was a 1969 Sunbeam Alpine GT. “Gee“, I thought to myself, “I never knew that Sunbeam built a model like this“. I know a lot about the Sunbeam Alpine convertible, which was produced from 1959 until 1968, but I didn’t know that Sunbeam revived the Alpine name on a fastback that was produced from 1969 until 1975. Like most car enthusiasts, I did not associate this less widely recognized two-door GT with its more popular convertible predecessor, which looks like the 1955-1957 Ford Thunderbird.

Previous Sunbeam Alpine (1959-1968) was a different model altogether.

Vintage photos of the Alpine GT shows a sleek small car with an airy cabin.

Ad materials states that it was marketed by Chrysler in the US.

Barracuda-inspired Styling

I found the styling of the Alpine GT quite interesting as it looks like a shrunken version of the aforementioned Plymouth Barracuda. The difference is that the rear glass on the Alpine GT is not as complex as that of the Barracuda, which is quite expensive to replace. Powering the Alpine GT is a 1,725cc inline 4-cylinder with twin side-draft carburetors that pumps out 94 horsepower that passes through a 4-speed manual transmission before going to the rear wheels. A 3-speed automatic was available as an option.

Rear glass of the Alpine GT is made of 3 pieces instead of 1 complex piece like the Barracuda’s.

The rear view of the Alpine GT is particularly handsome.

1.7-liter inline-4 has dual side drafts and packs 94 horsepower.

I can see from the side photos of the Alpine GT being sold in the ad is that it seems to be in good condition. Enlarging the photos shows no major body damage with good paint, trim and chrome. Compared to the photos I downloaded from the internet, the car for sale was just missing its wheel covers, rubber-capped bumper over-riders, brushed aluminum rocker moldings, and black vinyl on the B-Pillars, that’s all.

Side view of the car for sale shows a solid body.


A preserved Alpine GT with aftermarket wheels


Inside, the seats look good but the door trims are broken while the dash and the steering wheel do not look original. The tachometer and the switches on the dash are correct, the glossy burled walnut wood trim needs to be replaced and floor console needs some work.

The interior of the car needs a lot of work.

What a restored dash would look like…

The correct steering wheel…

… and correct seats would increase its value.

Under the hood, the engine needs to be fitted with the original air cleaner and some of the wiring needs to be tidied to bring the car up to snuff. According to the owner’s description, new disc brakes, a new clutch, a new carburetor, a new starter, tires, battery, and a new blower motor were recently installed in this Alpine GT.

The engine bay of the ’69 Alpine GT has new parts but still needs some TLC.

If you think that I’m already creating a Restoration Plan in my head for this British car, you are partially right. Preserving a rare automobile is one of my passions and if given the opportunity, I’d like to work on this sports car and restore it to its former glory. But, thankfully, the car is NOT in the Philippines thus, all I can do is day dream about it. Or better yet, write about it, like what I just did. If only this relatively rare little car is here, I’d make it ready to be driven and enjoyed as it is. The other details can be addressed a little later on…