|What is a Sunbeam Lotus?|
The basic Talbot Sunbeam was a small hatchback designed to rival the VW Golf and Ford Fiesta. It had been engineered in record-breaking time, and to achieve this carried over the basic layout and shortened chassis of the Hillman/Chrysler Avenger (sold in Europe as a Sunbeam and briefly in the US as the Plymouth Cricket). This meant that the Sunbeam appeared with rear wheel drive in deference to the more modern front-drive competition, but this was to have benefits to the Chrysler/Talbot Competitions Department, who struck a deal
About 2300 cars were built, of which about half were exported to Europe.
The rally versions were homologated into Group 4 and then Group 2, before being transferred to Group B. Outright victories on the Arctic Rally, Mille Pistes, Lombard RAC and Codasur (Argentina) rallies were combined with numerous class wins that culminated with victory in the World Rally Championship for Makes in 1981.
Standard cars have 150 bhp, and it is not too difficult to increase this to about 180bhp while keeping the car fairly sensible (remember, though, that the standard brakes are not overly brilliant to start with!). 200bhp+ involves a bit more work and will probably see driveability suffer - and petrol bills soar. The works rally cars peaked at about 245bhp and anything more than this (for competition use only) would be taking you onto thin ice without increasing the capacity (it has been done!) or adding a turbo (likewise!)
Road cars will hit 60mph in 6.6 seconds, works rally cars in 5.0 seconds. Top speeds; over 125mph in standard trim, or lower depending on gearing.