In the 1970s, the sustainability of the outdated structure when the rear wheel drive and rear engine came under pressure. For years the concept of Hillman Imp and derivatives of badge engineering has been in production. Chrysler UK saw the need for a modern car built in compact class, which also had to pass Imp. It started in 1976 with the development of Chrysler Sunbeam.
Not only was the wear and tear of the Imp structure a major factor in the creation of a new compact. Because Chrysler was in a difficult financial climate, the arrival of a new public car was essential. Chrysler received help to set up a factory in Linwood, Scotland. It was the UK that provided tens of millions of pounds of government aid for the development of the new “Made in Scotland” car.
Low cost challenge
Development began in January 1976. Ryton was the area of technical component engineering. The design was created at Whitley Studio in Coventry, where Roy Ax was in charge. The designers were instructed to use as many parts of the UK as possible and to have a low cost and development budget. The challenge was huge. The technical base was borrowed from the Avenger rear car. Another condition associated with the project is that the structure must be ready for production in the short term. The contractors were successful in this endeavor.
Already in a year and a half
The public was already aware of the results on July 23, 1977. The Chrysler Sunbeam was enthusiastically received by those interested. They greeted the newly acquired and well-completed car with certified Chrysler UK technology. The sunlight also stood on Avenger’s shortened 8 cm platform. The lines were sharp and sporty and eye-catching is one of Sunbeam’s design features: a third glass door.
Direct selection of three trim and engine levels
After the introduction, the prospective buyer was immediately available three versions (LS, GL and GLS). A similar number of engines were also obtained, with a small OHC 928 cc engine (with Imp design components) being reserved for LS only. The existing 1295 cc Avenger engine with a basic camshaft was found in the Chrysler Sunbeam in LS and GL trim standards. 1598 cc (also known from Avenger and for the basic camshaft) was stored in the GLS with very elegant accessories. In 1978, TI followed, the game progressing. It also knew 1598 cc, but instead of 80 HP gave a power of 100 HP.
Clapper: Lotus Sunlight
The hit in the series came on the market in 1979. The Sunbeam Lotus was introduced at the 1979 Geneva Salon and contained, among other things, the Lotus 2172 cc power unit (depending on usage, power varied from 150 HP to 250 HP), strong suspension and bar blocking bar. . Like Chrysler, the Sunbeam Lotus was not issued for personal purposes. After Chrysler’s name changed to Talbot – as a result of the PSA grab in 1978 – Lotus became public.
Unfortunately, the hijacking of Chrysler UK by PSA marked the end of Sunbeam’s sympathetic structures within a few years. Linwood – as it is called – will not be profitable again in the long run. However, the 1977 model received the final improvement. By the time it was followed by Talbot Samba of France in 1981, Sunbeam still came to a standstill, but after the production of 200,000 copies it ended with this impressive compact. And not only that: the name Sunbeam also disappeared altogether from history books. And that is where the brand name came to an end, which since 1905 had been inseparably linked to the famous British cars.
– How to enjoy Auto Motor Klassiek every month
– Chrysler 180. British bird in French nest
– Hillman Avenger. The first and last Rootes formation with the Chrysler logo
– Chrysler Simca Horizon (Dodge, Plymouth, Sunbeam)
– Talbot Sunbeam Lotus: A wolf in sheep’s clothing