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Sunbeam Lotus




Sunbeam Lotus (Type 81)

period: 1979 - 1981 (last ones where sold in 1983)

engine: Lotus 911 2174cc, 150 bhp

# made: 2308 (including 10 'works' rally cars)

The Chrysler Sunbeam Lotus was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1979 and deliveries did start in the summer of 1979. At that moment, Chrysler UK had been sold to the French Peugeot concern and the name was changed to Talbot Motor Company. All road cars were officially known as Talbots (On the registrion documents of my own car the official name was Talbot Simca Sunbeam Lotus).

The introduction of the non-turbo Esprit S2.2 was delayed untill March 1980 due to the Delorean project, and the 2174 cc engine was first fitted in the Sunbeam Lotus. This made further development for Lotus' own models possible.

Lotus did not only design and manufacture the engine but als developed the suspension and exhaust systems. The rolling chassis were delivered to Lotus in Norfolk. Lotus then placed the engine and 5-speed ZF gearbox. 

At first the car was Embassy Black with broad silver side stripes and grey interior.

In 1981, Talbot Sport won the World Rally Championship with the Sunbeam Lotus.


Sunbeam Lotus - Essex

period: 1980

engine: Lotus 911 2174cc, 150 bhp

# made: 1

This very special Talbot Sunbeam Lotus was used extensively as the VIP car by the Essex Lotus F1 Team during the 1980 & 1981 seasons. Julian Rivett, the Aerial Displays manager during the 1980 season & Director of Operations during the 1981 season with Essex, was the first and only owner of the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus ‘Essex’. Starting 2012 this car had an extensive restoration. The car was offered for sale in 2016.


Sunbeam Lotus - Series 2

In 1981 the Series 2 was introduced with a black and grey "Piccadilly" trim, larger headlamps, a new corporate grille, new door mirrors, a much needed larger fuel tank and engine modifications that resulted in small increase in power and torque figures.

In 1982 Moonstone Blue paintwork became the only available colour, withe either silver or black stripes.




Sunbeam Lotus - Avon

150 Cars were reserved for Avon Coachworks of Warwick to produce a limited edition "Avon" model. Finally only 58 cars where converted by Avon Coachworks. These were to be retrimmed internally, with a change of exterior colour scheme and the addition of original green & yellow Lotus badges on the flanks.