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Sunbeam-Mabley Motor Sociable

This car created four wheel tracks; the wheels were deliberately not aligned to reduce the risk of skidding to a minimum. However, the chance of the vehicle toppling over was all the greater.

Note also the unconventional design that is reminiscent of a sofa or chaise longue. Nevertheless, nearly 150 of these cars were sold. As far as is known, four still exist.

The driver sat in the back and looked past the passengers, who were seated sideways. The side wheels were belt- and chain-driven by the front mounted, single-cylinder De Dion-Bouton engine, and equipped with a transmission brake. The front and the rear wheel were steered by means of a tiller.

John Marston in the English town of Wolverhampton was already producing bicycles under the name Sunbeam and had started working on the prototypes for cars when architect Maxwell Maberley-Smith offered him the design for this car, sparing him the cost of development. Maberley’s name may have been misspelt in the name of the car, but the first Sunbeam car became a reality.

This unconventional car became the basis for a marque that was to reap much success in racing and in 1922 even set the land speed record of 215.182 km/h (133.708 mph).

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