The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu says that fundraising for its Sunbeam 1000hp restoration, began last March and has now reached £50,000, putting it well on the path to raising the £300k needed to take the car to Daytona in the USA for the centenary of its record-breaking 200 mph attempt in 2027.
The Sunbeam’s two (!) 22.4 litre aero engines, which each produced 435bhp, have not run since before World War II more than 80 years ago – after corrosion attacked internal workings. The car’s last outing was a demonstration circuit at Brooklands, running at slow speed on only one engine. With painstaking rebuilding, using specialist knowledge and bespoke parts, National Motor Museum engineers intend to restore the 4-ton, chain-driven automobile to its full-throated, twin-engine glory.
Designed by Captain Jack Irving and built by the Sunbeam car company in Wolverhampton solely to break the 200mph barrier, this immensely powerful machine was driven by Major Henry Segrave to become the fastest car in the world at 203.8 mph (205.6 mph according to the long version of the historic film footage).
Visitors to Beaulieu can currently see the exposed chassis on show in the National Motor Museum, but if and when the restoration is complete, there are plans to take it to Europe and on tour to motoring museums across America. Opportunities will also be offered for schools, colleges, and universities to get involved with STEM workshops and activities.
The Museum’s Michelle Kirwan says, “Funds are now needed to complete the second engine build and ultimately the full restoration.”
To kick start the new round of fund-raising there will be a special event at Beaulieu on the 27th January at which the Museum’s Manager and Chief Engineer Doug Hill and Senior Engineer Ian Stanfield will talk about the efforts to restore the impressive car. The evening will have a special guest appearance from land speed record holder Richard Noble. Proceeds from the ‘Transport Torque’ evening will go to the Sunbeam 1000hp restoration campaign.
Further donations to the campaign can be made online, and sponsors and corporate donors who would like to be associated with the campaign are urged to get in touch with the Museum’s Development team.