|Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans
Chassis number: B9109980 HRO Colour 19 - Moonstone.
First registered (as a Sunbeam Alpine) 17 Jan 1962
First owner: C Burley & Sons, Dorking delivered 19 May 1962
phone number Forest Green 321
Second owner: Mrs Charlotte Burley, Applegate, Ockley, Dorking
Third owner: Mr Greg Rudkin, Cowfold, Horsham 6 Feb 1982
Fourth owner: Graham Haw, Horner Mill, Horner, Minehead 25 Sep 1990
The car was purchased from A. Gray & Co Ltd, Rootes Main Dealers, Woodbridge Meadows,
Guildford, Surrey phone number (from key fob) Guildford 60601
Mileage from service book for Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans 284
The first owner of the car was G Burley & Sons who were Building Contractors. George Burley married Charlotte Adelaide Gaw in 1937 in the Croydon Registration District. They had three sons John, Richard and David.George and Charlotte were both born in 1905 in Fulham.
The second owner of the car was Charlotte Burley who was the wife of George, I don't know when she became the official owner, it may well have been a retirement present. As being born in 1905 she would have been able to retire at age 60, in 1965. I suspect that she had always driven the car from new. Certainly there was significant evidence on the window glass of a person wearing a diamond ring, as all the internal windows were very heavily scratched - demisting with the back of the hand whilst wearing a engagement ring containing a diamond would do this. The scratching was so bad that all the glass had to be replaced during the restoration.
I bought the car from Greg Rudkin of Cowfold, Horsham in September 1990. He had purchased it in 1982 with the intention of restoring it. He apparently had several cars he intended to restore, and decided to reduce his inventory by selling the Harrington. I got to hear about this by someone who, at the time, was a customer of mine - Nick Freeman of Nical Engineering, based near Beaulieu, Hampshire. He knew that I had formerly owned a Harrington when I lived in London back in 1968. Greg was a customer of his, so the connection was made, and Nick asked me if I would be interested in buying Greg's Harrington Le Mans. I agreed to this so Nick collected the car and delivered it to me at home in Highcliffe, Dorset. Nick's business is restoring classic cars and boats so after I had completely stripped the car down to the bodyshell, he removed it to his workshop to restore the body. A comprehensive set of photographs was taken at all stages of the restoration.
Eventually the bodyshell was completed and painted in its
original colour, Moonstone. My son, who at the time worked as
a mechanic at Gates Garage, Brockenhurst, borrowed a trailor
and pickup truck to tow it, and brought the bodyshell to its
new home in Horner, Somerset. This was in 2006. The following
year the car was back on the road and taking part in events.
One small problem was that the petrol tank was completely useless
having a very damaged bottom right corner with a significant
hole present after shot blasting all the suspension parts and
tank. The damage is not surprising given that the tank is hung
underneath the boot floor only a few inches
Although having owned the car for sixteen years I had never driven it or even started the engine. Surprisingly the engine ran very well although compression tests showed rather low readings. There were the inevitable teething troubles, like the distributor vacuum advance not working, the left rear axle oil seal leaking and the rear universal joint needing replacing.
He rebuilt it completely and turned it into a 40836A in the process. An excellent result.The gear box was replaced in June 2009 as the original box had a habit of slipping out of third gear. I eventually, in 2013, had the engine rebored by Hamlin's Engineering Ltd, Bridgwater, I then fitted a new set of pistons. This eliminated the smoke that was being emitted out of the breather pipe on the side of the engine block.
In October 2019, together with my daughter Catherine, we struggled through thick low cloud from Horner to Lynmouth, Devon to a photo shoot with Practical Classics. A short article and this photo appearing in the October 2019 edition of Practical Classics.
A few years ago I was showing the car at the Recreation Ground
in Porlock when a lady (Mrs Baker) approached me. She said that
she used to drive a Harrington as her husband George, had been
a director of Robins & Day. She and her husband had moved
to 9 Crawter Drive, Porlock a week earlier. I expressed a keen
desire to talk to her husband, but she said that he was quite