On Her Majestys Service – Behind the Scenes Shooting the 1966 Sunbeam Alpine

By Craig Ranson
By Craig Ranson

Managing Director – Bridge Classic Cars

The clouds grew ominous in the late September sky. Rain threatened to fall at any moment on the shoot. The car had only been in our possession a matter of minutes before it was whisked off the back of our enclosed Transporter and off to the shoot location. There was no time to spare.

The timeframe was tight. Shoot and edit the photos and videos for the latest Bridge Classic Cars Competitions car before the release of the latest James Bond 007 film, No Time to Die. Why? Because the Sunbeam Alpine was the first bond car. It appeared in Dr No with Sean Connery behind the wheel as the worlds most famous secret agent.

This particular Alpine had been dry stored for over 20 years before its previous owner had it completely rebuilt. A folder containing photographs of the rebuild came with the car stripped all the way back to bare metal and then worked on from the ground up. This car has been lovingly used by its previous owner, who is a true classic car enthusiast, for several years whilst also ensuring it is kept in the best condition possible for an in-use classic. That also includes the engine…

Without hesitation, the 1725cc 4-cylinder fired into life. The previous owner spent countless hours and no expense was spared getting the engine to perform and run perfectly. This particular engine has less than 1000 miles on it since being completely rebuilt to better than new condition. Along with the engine, this Sunbeam Alpine is fitted with the much-needed overdrive gearbox. Making it more useable as a classic in today’s modern world for its next lucky owner.

All of this was evident as we pulled away from the hanger. It revved out beautifully towards the lowering sun on the horizon. For take after take, the Sunbeam delivered faultlessly over and over again with Charlotte at the helm. As the temperature dropped along with the light, the Sunbeam still kept going. Its near-perfect interior offering no warmth with the roof off but still the best seat in the house when it came to a late summer evening jaunt.

It buzzed up and down the track without so much as a hesitation or stumble. The brakes were faultless, as proved when a herd of deer emerged from the undergrowth during a run. Not a problem for the Alpine, it gracefully and quickly came to a dead-straight stop.

With the light waning from under the wooded horizon, it was time to head back to the hanger.

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