From a Private Collection

1924 Sunbeam 24/70 Four Seat Tourer

Make: Sunbeam
Model: 24/70 Four Seat Tourer
Year: 1924
Registration Number: XR 2831
Chassis Number: 7003D
Engine Number: 7022B
Transmission: Manual
Steering: Right Hand Drive
MOT Test Expiry: Exempt
Guide Price: £75000 - 95000
Road Tax Exempt

This 24/70 was built by Sunbeam Motor Company of Wolverhampton, and was at the top of the range for its year in 1924. The 24/70 was designed by George Roesch, a Swiss engine designer, and Louis Coatalan, a French engineer, racing driver and Sunbeam’s chief designer. He had worked for a number of British marques previously and had a similar model to the 24/70 for his own use for many years. The model was highly regarded as the finest of motor cars on the road and was known as the ‘Sunbeam Supreme’; the elegant torpedo style tourer gave effortless cruising from the 70hp engine and could easily rival Bentleys and Rolls-Royces of the era. Indeed, the 24/70 was unique at the time for having four wheel brakes, operated by an efficient servo powered by the gearbox. The clutch brake enabled the engine to be slowed for a swifter gear change, and Sunbeam also equipped their 24/70 with the patented Autovac vacuum system, which was a new innovation and a much improved way to deliver fuel in comparison to the traditional pump pressure system used by Rolls-Royce models of the period. 

Only one hundred and two 24/70s were produced by Sunbeam, and today it is believed that just four exist, making this example a truly rare and exciting motor car. XR 2831 sports a very fine body named the ‘Super Light Sports Tourer’ and is equipped with a six cylinder, 4.5 litre overhead valve engine and a four speed crash gearbox. Electrical equipment includes the original Rotax lighting, finished in German silver. Much of the motor car’s history is known: it was delivered to Captain Thomas Booth Jones of Fordingbridge on the 16th of February 1924. It was then purchased by Mr Bernard Smith of Plympton, who later founded Mr Kipling, and he used the Sunbeam between 1954 and 1958, including for his own wedding. Interestingly, the 24/70 was featured on the front cover of the Veteran and Vintage magazine in August 1972. The Sunbeam has passed through the hands of Dan Margulies Ltd of Queens Gate Place Mews and was also bought from Pankhurst’s garage of Salisbury for £100 by the fighter pilot, war hero and racing driver Sq Ldr Cameron Millar, who completely rebuilt the Sunbeam and competed with it at VSCC events, as did later owners.

This delightful 24/70 remains in superb, impeccable condition today and has formed part of a private Somerset collection for a number of years. To cope with modern motoring conditions, XR 2831 is equipped with a Kenlowe fan, although a new alloy fan assembly is included in the sale, but it will require machining if it is to be fitted to this motor car.

The history file includes the V5C registration certificate, an older V5C certificate, photographic starting instructions, historical notes and correspondence, a photocopy list of spare parts, a photocopy handbook, an original handbook and photographs.

Auction Date: 9 June 2022