The Sunbeam-Talbot 10 was a compact executive car or small sports saloon manufactured by the Rootes Group in their Clément-Talbot factory in North Kensington between 1938 and 1939, and then reintroduced after the Second World War and sold between 1945 and 1948.
It was at first a two-door then a four-door sports saloon although a drop-head coupé version and a sports tourer version were also available.
The Clément-Talbot and then the Sunbeam Motor Car Company businesses fell into the hands of Rootes in 1935, and the new owner’s strategy was clearly to use the prestige of the Talbot name for selling larger numbers of lower priced cars than hitherto. This Rootes’ Talbot 10, was one of the first products of the Rootes strategy intended to open Talbot’s planned shift down-market and add a genuinely small car to the proposed range.
A star of the 1936 Motor Show it was a lengthened Hillman Aero Minx with a stronger chassis all updated at short notice by Talbot’s Georges Roesch and re-badged and so another variant of the existing middle market saloon, the Hillman Minx. Reviewers described the car as an attractive refined and well-equipped small car
The Talbot 10 was re-badged Sunbeam-Talbot 10 in August 1938 by when Rootes had decided to make no large luxury car using the Sunbeam name but keep the name alive by linking it with Talbot. Although apparently just a re-badged four door version of the Talbot 10 the new Sunbeam-Talbot 10 was given a whole new all-steel body with four doors. Changes included pressed steel wheels but covered by wheel discs, a normal lever for the gear changes, better instruments, and slightly reshaped front mudguards. Synchromesh was dropped from first gear and then later from second gear.
The new body was on effectively the same chassis but the engine and the radiator were moved 3.5 inches forward. This body was again made in Acton but by British Light Steel Pressings in their Works next door. Cars exported to Europe were badged Sunbeam. The car was undoubtedly the most elegant small saloon of the period.
The classic saloon featured the streamlining increasingly characteristic of mainstream British cars in the later 1930s and 1940s, along with “stand-alone” headlights. Power came from a 1185 cc side-valve engine for which 41 bhp of power output was claimed delivering a top speed of 68 mph. All four wheels were suspended using semi elliptical leaf springs.
In 1948 the Sunbeam-Talbot 10 was almost exactly twice the price of the new Austin A40 Devon and slightly slower on the highway.