The road version of the Sunbeam Lotus Rallye, the winner of the Rallye World Championships in 1981, the Sunbeam Lotus was launched in 1979 at the Geneva Motor Show. The first cars were supplied in the summer of 1979, offered all in black with silver stripes and a grey interior. The rolling body shells from the Linwood factory were brought to Lotus in Norfolk by road, where the twin cam engine and ZF 5-speed gearbox were fitted, in addition to other items such as a larger radiator alloy wheels.
Then cars were brought back to the end control to Linwood, inspected and despatched to the dealer network. By 1981 the Sunbeam Lotus enjoyed a facelift, with larger headlamps, a modified radiator grill, different exterior mirrors and a larger fuel tank, in addition to modifications to the engine. In order to boost sales the Sunbeam changed colour to Moonstone Bue, with the option of either silver or black stripes.
The car saw much success in the World Rally Championship – in 1980, Henri Toivonen won the 29th Lombard RAC Rally in one, and, in 1981, the Sunbeam Lotus brought the entire manufacturer’s championship to Talbot.
This extremely well sorted works specification Sunbeam Lotus has been rebuilt for rallying to a high level of detail. The starting point is the shell which has been strengthened and seam welded, and modified with a works tub to accomodate a larger fuel tank and dry sump oil tank. The wheel arches have been extended to Group 4 specification, and a Safety Device bolt-in cage has been fitted. The wiring loom has been replaced with a rally-designed item featuring pop-out fuses.
The engine has been treated to a rebuild by specialist Phil Davison (featuring omega pistons and conrods, and a big valve head), and is now running with dry sump lubrication, which helps it to produce 240bhp (a print out is available to support this). Fueling is handled by 50mm Weber carburettors, breathing is improved by a Tony Law exhaust manifold and system, and cooling is bettered with an alloy radiator.
The rebuilt motor drives through a Martin Jones 5 speed ZF gearbox, and handling is taken care of by Bilstein all around, with rose-jointed front track control arms, works specification steering rack and thicker tie rods. Finally braking is addressed with the fitting of four pot front, and two pot rear calipers astride vented front and solid rear discs.
Offered with a recent MoT certificate and MSA historic papers, this is wonderful rally car which is ready to compete