The road over Dunkery Beacon - June 2007
Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans
284 WPH
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 WPH
Av miles per day

16/01/62 0
18/07/62 1178 6.4
28/09/62 2196 14.1
27/11/62 3834 27.3
05/04/63 4680 6.6
27/06/63 6605 23.2
18/10/63 8549 17.2
18/02/64 11916 27.4
24/07/64 13134 7.8
01/01/82 66000 8.3

 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
above the ground, and decent bump in the road would cause the tank to hit the ground. At the time I was unable to source a new series II tank, so my brother-in-law Bill and I set to to design a new one to be made from stainless steel. Designs passed back and forth attached to emails. Eventually a design was established that I felt would work and had the same capacity as the original tank. I made a cardboard mock-up of the tank to ensure that it would fit between the rear springs and have enough clearance from the exhaust pipe. The plate to which the tank fuel level sender bolted was transferred to the new tank and welded in place. This allowed the original sender be used. Surprisingly we got everything right first time and the tank fitted perfectly!


 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.

The car had at some time been involved in an accident, as there had been significant damage to the right side front of the car. The top suspension wishbone had to be replaced as the flattened bolt, on which the wishbone moves, was bent at one end. This restricted the up and down movement to almost nothing - must have been fun to drive! I hadn't initially noticed that the distributor was the wrong one for a Harrington. The one fitted was a standard Alpine one 40766A when it should have been a 40836A. This might have been fitted as a result of the accident. The distributor was taken to Martin Jay the distributor doctor at Wiveliscombe not that far from me here at Horner.

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 ill at

She stayed chatting and looking at the car for a while before moving on. A short while later I was surprised to find that her husband came to see me. It transpired that this was to be the only time that I would have the opportunity to speak to him as I understand that he died a few months later. I told him that my car had been sold by A Gray & Co of Guildford. He knew the company and told
me that in 1960 the MD was Gerald Chomley and that the sales manager was Cliff Harper. We discussed the selling of Harringtons. He described the procedure as follows: People interested in test driving a Harrington were taken to George Hartwells in Bournemouth
where there was a bright red Harrington Le Mans, registration 3RU, which they were able to test drive. Those wishing to buy a Harrington then chose the colour and specification.

A Sunbeam Alpine was then obtained by the dealership (purchased?) and registered with what is now the DVLA. The car was then taken to Thomas Harringtons so that it could be converted to a Harrington Le Mans. My particular car was then delivered to the customer, G Burley & Sons, on the 19th May 1962, it having initially been registered on the 17th January 1962. So at this time it was taking about four months to carry out the conversion.

What might be of help to other cars with a Moonstone finish, is that the following colour is an exact match to Moonstone. I found this out the hard way when I scratched the top of the right wing and had to get it touched up professionally. It only took the bloke doing the spraying 3 hours to find the colour match! Skoda 1990-94 DuPont 1088 Pearl White F0842


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