Don Armacosts's 1960 Sunbeam Alpine
In the fall of 1961 I was informed that Kansas University no longer needed me as a student. I was reluctant to go home and face my father so I stayed after school was out. I got a phone call from my sister telling me that I needed to come home as Dad had bought a car for me. At the time, my grandfather and uncle were in the car business. My first car, a ’53 Studebaker was on its last legs, so I was anxious to see what was going to replace it, and my sister wouldn’t tell me what it was. It was a low mileage ’59 Sunbeam Alpine, Moonstone with red interior with white piping and equipped with a Blaupunkt AM/FM radio with a marine band. The car was originally purchased by a serviceman in Augsburg, Germany. I dated my future wife in that car and had an absolute blast with it. With marriage, the Alpine went away to be replaced with a ’62 Impala SS.
Like many hobbyists I dreamed of replacing the long-lost Alpine. About 25 years ago I saw an ad in the KC Star for an Alpine. I went to look and was excited even though the head was off, the car had been painted orange with a brush and the left side was hard against the wall of the garage so I couldn’t see the terrible rust damage. But for $600 I had my dream (nightmare!).
To shorten this story after hours of replacing all rocker panels, the lower half of the left rear fender and both dog legs, we had a complete car ready for paint which was planned to be Moonstone. The car was on a rotisserie and the underside was already Moonstone, but then I happened to be at the Sunni 25th Anniversary in Snowmass when I came across a later model painted Balmoral Grey. I called the shop, and said “Stop painting. We are changing color.”
So, what you see in the pictures is a ’60 Series I, with a Series II motor, Series IV transmission and a Series II top and chrome wires. The crummy vinyl aftermarket interior was replaced with leather, and the dash is like the one in a Tiger but with a glove box door added. I also have the very rare factory hardtop. Dream complete!