1962 Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans.
Former 1962 RAC Rally / Road car.
Registration 2 EGG
The Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans was introduced at The Earls Court Motor Show in October 1961. The Le Mans name comes from the Sunbeam win of 'The Index of Thermal Efficiency' Trophy at Le Mans in April of that year. The Le Mans introduced some radical new coachwork that literally chopped the rear fins from the car. Taking advantage of publicity from the win at Le Mans, Rootes targeted American buyers and sent as many as half of the 250-car production to the US.
While the standard line of Harrington options were still available, the Le Mans had more standardised production and was not offered on a per-order basis like the Harrington Alpine. This meant that they were offered as a Rootes product and not an 'official conversion' and could be found on showroom floors... if a dealership was lucky enough to even get one! The Le Mans does not carry the Alpine name and is identified by its unique finless design with all units built on Alpine Series II bodies.
County Classics are proud to be offering this particular example of the extremely rare Sunbeam Le Mans Harrington.
Purchased new by esteemed club racer and Scotsman, John Melvin, in 1962, this car was originally red in colour and registered ‘2 EGG'. It was delivered just in time for the car to be put through its paces in the International Scottish Rally in June of that year. Accompanied by Melvin's usual co-driver, a Mr. W Gordon Bennett, the pair set off on the rally, however, failed to finish after a rather deep Scottish water splash soaked the cars electrics forcing them to retire.
However, this event was merely a test for John whose ambition it was to enter the 1962 RAC Rally in November. The car was back to full running condition in no time and the two prepared for the rally. Then, just days before the event, co-driver Gordon Bennett was force to withdraw due to a death in the family, leaving John to find a new co-driver. Friend and motor journalist, Graham Gauld, duly stepped in and off they set for the start in Blackpool.
On arrival, much to their surprise, another Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans bearing the registration ‘MEL 63' had been entered, driven by Peter Pillsworth and editor/founder of Autosport, Gregor Grant. An impromptu Harrington Le Mans team was formed and the two cars set off with ‘2 EGG' wearing the number 73.
The ungraded Highland forest roads proved to be tough for all competitors that year, especially ‘2 EGG'. In the early stages, the car hit a rock at speed causing both the rear shock absorbers to collapse and leaving the car very much 'tail heavy' until it was repaired by mechanics at the end of the stage.
Eager to gain lost time and catching a few stragglers, the pair came upon a rather sedate Mrs Haggie in her Ford Allardette and with little space to overtake, John barged past. A large thud was heard, followed by a plummeting fuel gauge and the car ground to a halt. They had split the fuel tank but luckily, using two packets of chewing gum and a gallon of fuel, they were able to make a temporary fix and limp the car over two stages before they were able to carry out a more robust repair.
Unfortunately, their luck ran out and two stages later the car bottomed out and came to a juddering stop further down the road. They had flattened a fuel line and split the fuel tank again and the pair where forced to retire from the rally. The car was taken home and repaired at John Melvin's workshop to be sold on.
The car then ‘disappeared' until it surfaced in Ireland in the 1970s and was later bought by George McWaters. He set about reviving the car which had become very tired. The colour was changed to Forest Green and the car was fitted with an uprated engine bored out to 2-litres with twin 40DCOE Weber carburettors, an alloy cylinder head converted to unleaded along with a high-capacity alloy radiator. Uprated brake callipers where also fitted along with adjustable rear shock absorbers, Mini-lite style alloys and a new stainless fuel tank. He also re-trimmed the original Harrington interior in Biscuit with green piping and green wool carpets and fitted a wood-rimmed steering wheel.
Previously sold by us in 2015 to a collector, who stored the car and did not use it. In 2015 prior to sale we changed brakes, fluids etc. we have recommissioned the car again September 2023 including new fuel and hoses, carbs stripped and cleaned, oil and filter change, checked brakes etc. rolling road crypton tune up at Mech Repairs, Cheltenham. Invoice £1698 on file.
'2 EGG' is steeped in interesting history and surely any new owner would be proud to share the tales of this car's past. Similarly, the car would be perfect for someone wanting to revive its rallying/racing past as the Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans are well known for racing in period, with the sister car ‘MEL 63' even taking part in the fabled Goodwood Tourist Trophy of 1962.
The car has MOT until Nov 2024, HPI all clear certificate, eligible for free historic road tax. It comes with 2 history folders, with much useful information including model guides and specifications etc.
The old-style green registration logbook is also present as well as a letter from the Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans register validating the car of ‘Historical importance’. There is also a written account of its early competition years by the co-driver Graham Gould. Also, correspondence copies between us and ‘Clive Harrington’s’ great grandson of the Harrison family. There are 2 large A4 files of history and information with the car, along with various spare keys.
In general, the car now presents in very good straight condition, the older paint still retains a good shine, only showing a few small areas of ageing / patina. No visible rust or anything untoward, excellent chrome, trim and glass etc. It is very solid underneath and has a no advisory mot until November 2024.
The interior is beige leather, piped green, and is still in very good condition throughout, as is the headlining. Also now fitted with deep pile, quality dark green carpets. Overall, the general appearance is very good.
Mechanically, now running and driving as you would expect, having recently had recommissioning which included fluids, filters, brakes, carbs tune up etc.
The engine we believe is a 2 litre Geoff Woolf Engine, bored out from a 1725cc unit, developing an estimated 150 bhp. From details on file and speaking to Geoff Woolf, it is assumed the engine was rebuilt around 10 years ago, by a former owner.
The valuable, original registration number of 2EGG will be included in the sale at the asking price.
Engine No LG1126362010 Chassis No B91089520DHR0
This is a rare opportunity to purchase a road/competition car that can be enjoyed and used as it was intended whilst also representing a wise investment.
A very rare car today as very few right-hand drive Sunbeams Harrington Le Mans exist today. This car is known to the Alpine Owners Club UK and the International Harrington Register.
A very affordable entry into the world of historic motorsport, and an opportunity to own an important part of British motoring history.
This is a rare opportunity at £39,999
Please see www.countyclassics.net for more pictures and video.
Please call to arrange viewing, 07595 218406, Gloucester. Please see www.countyclassics.net for more photos and video. All information for guidance only, please check and satisfy yourself of all descriptions and specification listed.