Vintage R&T Review: 1966 Sunbeam Alpine (Series V) – The Alpine Gets A New Engine With 5 Main Bearings and 99 BHP

The Alpine was Rootes competitor to the MG. That was the MGA back when the first Alpine (with its pointy fins) arrived in 1960, with its 1494 cc four making 83.5 gross hp, enough to be competitive. That was upped to 1592 cc a year later with 86 hp. But when the new MGB showed up in 1963, it packed all of 1798 cc and 94 hp. The Alpine was slipping further behind.

That was largely rectified for 1966 with the Series V Alpine, which had a substantially revised new 1725 cc version of the Rootes four banger, and now with five main bearings. Take that, MGB! (the MHB got five main bearings too in 1967).

The Alpine’s new cylinder head was also cast from aluminum; heady stuff! A pair of Stromberg CD carbs encouraged the engine to make its maximum rated power at 5500 rpm. And of course torque was up to, contributing to a noticably greater snap in around town driving.

The tested Alpine did not have the optional overdrive, an unfortunate deletion, as it created a rather buzzy atmosphere at highway speeds, thanks to the 4.22:1 rear axle ratio. The Alpine was deemed to “handle well enough to make exuberant driving a pleasure.” That’s not exactly gushing praise, but…good enough. The all-syncro transmission shifted well, and the disc/drum brake combination (F/R) worked well. The interior was generally well regarded, but there was the curious omission of any sun visors. Hmm. The trunk was significantly larger than typical for a sports roadster.

In summation, R&T said “it continues to be one of the most civilized of the contemporary sports cars. We like it.”

Related CC reading:

Car Show Classics: Sunbeam Alpine and Tiger  R. Carr

Curbside Classic: Sunbeam Tiger – The Other Cobra  PN