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1983 Talbot Sunbeam Lotus 'Avon Limited Edition'

Lot Number: 408

1983 Talbot Sunbeam Lotus 'Avon Limited Edition'

A rare example (1/56) of the luxuriously trimmed, bespoke Sunbeam Lotus from Avon Coachworks.

  • Sold for: £23,625

LIVE AUCTION: This lot was auctioned on Saturday 28th May, 2022 at 1.00pm BST at Sywell Aerodrome, Sywell, Northampton, NN6 0BN

  • Body Colour

    Moonstone Blue

  • Drive


  • Registration Number

    A178 KTT

  • Odometer Reading

    55030 Miles


A rare example (1/56) of the luxuriously trimmed, bespoke Sunbeam Lotus from Avon Coachworks.


The Talbot Sunbeam-Lotus was one of the most exciting hot-hatches to emerge from the 1970s. Chrysler commissioned Lotus to produce an effective entrant for international Group 4 rallying - to beat the dominant Ford Escort RSs at their own game. Lotus took a 1.6 GLS shell and installed a 2.2-litre ('Type 911' and closely related to the Type 912 found in the S2 and S3 Esprits) version of their 16-valve four-cylinder engine and a five-speed ZF gearbox. The new Sunbeam-Lotus certainly looked the part - initially offered only in black and silver, with Marchal spotlights and tailored double four-spoke cast-alloy wheels.

Launched in 1979, the high-compression 2174cc twin-cam engine breathed through two twin-choke Dell'Orto carburettors, developed 150bhp (but was easily tuneable to well over 200bhp for rally use) and delivered excellent performance, being rear-wheel drive and weighing only 960kgs, giving a 0-60mph time of just 6.6 seconds. Lotus wasn't just an engine supplier, it was also involved in designing the suspension and exhaust system.

As soon as it qualified for inclusion in international rally competition, the Sunbeam-Lotus proved extremely effective, finishing 1st, 3rd and 4th at the 1980 Lombard-RAC rally, Britain's round of the World Rally Championship. In 1981, the Sunbeam Lotus brought the entire manufacturer's championship to Talbot.

The production process was convoluted and apparently every car made a loss so in early 1982, with only 1,184 right-hand drive examples having been sold, production was discontinued. A number of cars were left unsold and there were interested commercial buyers for the remaining stock, however, the best known was probably the Ladbroke Avon Coachworks concern who took 56 of them with the intention of offering a specially-trimmed ‘limited-edition’, individually numbered, at a price which was actually lower than the quoted final retail figure for the basic car!

The Avon cars were re-painted in pale blue, complemented by double bands of deep metallic blue running the full length of the car. The bumpers and front spoiler were finished to match, while the normally black grille was ‘colour keyed’ in pale blue. Adding to the exclusive luxury aura, a full length vinyl roof was an option in contrasting blue, plus a Britax tinted, tilting sunroof. Red coach lines ran above and below the side stripes and the exterior appearance was set off by a pair of original yellow and green Lotus badges. Inside, the Avon Sunbeam Lotus had also been improved considerably, the standard trim replaced and the car fully soundproofed. The interior was then retrimmed with high quality blue carpet, contrasting blue velour and leatherette trim with red piping on the seats, padded door caps and a specially trimmed console.

Offered here is one of the final production-run cars and it’s even rarer as one of the Ladbroke Avon Editions. Well known in Sunbeam Lotus circles, this example presents in great condition and carries a Ladbroke chassis plate. Owned by our vendor since 2016, it’s had six previous enthusiast owners and has spent time in the favourable Tenerife climate as part of an ex-pats collection. It seems at some stage that the external Avon livery was changed to reflect the more mainstream Lotus colours of the period, however, it might make sense for the next owner to revert back to the Avon scheme as they do represent quite a premium over the standard Sunbeam Lotus. The interior is pure Avon. It’s said to drive really well by our vendor, probably commensurate with the low mileage of only 55,000. In the event, Avon only finished a couple of dozen and a lot of those will have disappeared over the years so this is now a very rare car.


Lot Number
Registration Number
A178 KTT
MOT Expiry
Chassis Number
Engine Number
Body Colour
Moonstone Blue



For further information regarding this lot please contact Lionel.



Vehicles can be collected from Sywell Aerodrome, NN6 0BN, on Monday 30th May between 9am and 2pm.

Our transport partners, EM Rogers, can assist with collection and delivery. Please contact them on 01604 755511 or for a quote.

Any vehicles not collected by 2pm on 30th May will be taken to EM Rogers storage facility in Northampton for a fee of £175 plus VAT. Storage will be charged at £10 plus VAT per day from Monday 30th onwards.

Automobilia can be collected from Sywell Aerodrome over the weekend or on Monday morning between 9am and midday by prior appointment. After this time it can be collected from our offices in Warwickshire or shipped to you at your expense.

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