By Maz Woolley
Corgi has announced a 2017 release at the 2016 Classic Motor Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. It is scheduled to be released in March 2017 so the picture shown is of a pre-production sample.
This model is based upon the Sunbeam Alpine pre-production prototype XRW 302. This is painted in seacrest green and bears the registration numbers on the real car as shown at the Classic Car Show.
The “series” Sunbeam Alpine was a two-seater sports drophead coupé. It was built by the Rootes Group from 1959 to 1968 and early cars were assembled at Armstrong Siddeley factory as Rootes had no room in their own factories. The name Alpine was used following the earlier Sunbeam-Talbot’s success in the Alpine Rally during the early 1950s.
The car modelled by Corgi is the third and only surviving prototype, making it the oldest Alpine in existence. It survived because, rather than being thrashed to breaking point in testing, it was allocated to the company’s design department to be used in the development of new styles and trim.
The car was sold in 1961 to Rootes’ development engineer Bernard Unett, who’d worked on the Alpine programme and wanted to go racing. He debuted the car at Silverstone in September 1961. After its racing career the car passed through several owners before finally being acquired by its current owner, John Willshire, who has shown the car at events such as the Silverstone Classic meeting, the Goodwood Revival and the Classic Motor Show where the car was awarded runner-up in ‘Classic Car of the Year’.
Looking at the photograph of the pre-production sample of this car Corgi has not taken steps to uprate this now long in the tooth casting yet. I do hope that before they launch the production model next March they invest some time to make sure that it has the correct colour interior trim, correct colour tonneau cover and better wire wheels.
We welcome your comments and questions. Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page, or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.