1980 Sunbeam Talbot Lotus Series I


  • Advisory-free MOT valid until 2nd April 2025
  • Highly original and presented in very good usable condition
  • A very early Series 1 example assembled in 1979
  • Accompanied by a substantial and carefully curated paperwork file
  • Subject to a great deal of work during recent years

The Appeal

While Lotus has produced some fabulous cars of its own over the years, some of Hethel’s finest work has been in collaboration with other manufacturers, lending their F1-honed expertise in chassis dynamics (and of course their fabulous twin-cam engine) to several successful sports cars. One of the most fondly remembered collaborations was with Chrysler UK which led to the ‘Talbot Sunbeam Lotus’ - a homologation special whose rallying counterpart took the fight to the Ford Escort and Vauxhall Chevette HS. 
Over time, the dreaded tin worm and many an overconfident helmsman have sadly ensured there are few surviving examples of this legendary hot hatch left. That’s why you can’t afford to miss this fantastic early Series 1 from 1980. It looks to be in amazing condition for a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus of this vintage and the sizeable history file demonstrates that it’s benefitted from a great deal of work in recent years.
The vendor acquired the car in 2021, to fulfil their dream of owning one of these esteemed rally-bred machines and now, having scratched that itch, offers it for another enthusiast to enjoy. Complete with a year-long advisory-free MOT, it’s ready to enjoy.

The History and Paperwork

  • An early example assembled in 1979
  • Numerous recent invoices for specialist mechanical work by Rees Bros and GRL Ltd
  • Some bodywork restoration carried out by Rees Bros in 2021
  • Six registered keepers
  • 14,902 miles indicated  - (the vendor believes the true figure to be 114,902 miles)
  • MOT valid until 2nd April 2025
  • Sunbeam Lotus Owner’s Club Certification and chassis no. information 
  • Collection of old MOT certificates
  • Original service literature and manuals
  • The original service book was unfortunately mislaid by the previous keeper of over two decades
  • Acquired by the vendor in October 2021
  • V5C present

The Condition

  • Embassy Black paintwork with a silver stripe - the iconic Talbot Sunbeam Lotus scheme
  • Straight and solid-looking bodywork which benefits from previous restoration work
  • Marshall auxiliary driving lamps
  • Smart alloy wheels
  • Period-correct rear window sticker
  • Smart underside
  • The light lenses and trim present impeccably for their age
  • Beautifully prepared period-correct interior
  • No notable wear evident to the upholstery and controls
  • We understand the cabin electrics to be in good order
Even in period, seldom would you find such a well-turned-out Talbot Sunbeam Lotus as this. Its condition is a testament to the vendor and how well they’ve looked after this car while continuing to drive it as its makers intended. It’s commendably original throughout and free from notable signs of wear and deterioration. We can’t discern any obvious corrosion or indication of accident damage - a real rarity for cars of this type and age.

The Mechanics 

  • 2,172 cc Lotus four-cylinder twin-cam fed by dual DellOrto carburettors
  • Five-speed ‘dog-leg’ manual gearbox
  • Well-presented engine compartment
  • No advisories were recorded during the recent MOT test 
While Lotus had a hand in developing this car’s chassis setup, its most notable contribution was of course the use of its inimitable twin-cam which was in this case fed by a pair of large Italian twin-choke carburettors.  Unlike most hot hatches of the period, the Sunbeam Lotus was rear-wheel drive - which proved advantageous on loose surfaces in the World Rally Championship.
With no advisories recorded during the past three MOT tests, this is clearly a well-sorted specimen and the vendor does not inform us of any apparent issues. Summer is fast approaching, so here’s the perfect opportunity to acquire one of the most coveted homologation special rally cars of the 1980s.


This sale is subject to the Car & Classic Terms and Conditions. By bidding and/or making an offer, you also agree to the following: 
If the seller is registered as a private seller, consumer rights stemming from EU consumer protection law do not apply. Car & Classic’s return policy applies. 
A non-refundable deposit will be payable if you are the winning bidder at auction or if your offer is accepted, refer to FAQs and T&Cs for details. 
This vehicle is “Sold As Seen”, on an “As Is, Where Is’ basis and without warranty. A full inspection of the vehicle prior to purchase and bidding is recommended. Photos and descriptions are for guidance purposes only. 
✓ VAT is included in the buyer's deposit. VAT may or may not be included in the final bid or offer price, as specified in the listing. 
UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Car & Classic are run through an online HPI check, to verify that they show no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and have no finance owing. 
✓ Buyers are responsible for vehicle collection or delivery. 

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1980
  • Make Talbot
  • Model Sunbeam Lotus
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 14,902 Miles
  • Engine size 2172
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Overton
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
43 bids
  • No•••• £38,250 25/04/24
  • wi•••• £38,000 25/04/24
  • No•••• £37,999 25/04/24
  • No•••• £37,750 25/04/24
  • wi•••• £37,500 25/04/24
  • wi•••• £37,250 25/04/24
  • No•••• £37,000 25/04/24
  • wi•••• £36,999 25/04/24
  • wi•••• £36,750 25/04/24
  • No•••• £36,500 25/04/24
Message C&C Auction Team

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