[Sunbeam Talbot Email List] British Invasion, Stowe, VT and Ethanol in Fuel (long rant)

John Feng bfeng7 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 24 23:05:08 EDT 2014

I would never call an Alpine peppy. I would call it adequate in modern highway traffic. What were the test results back in the day for 0-60mph, 16sec? I'll be it is comparable to a Merc 220S Ponton. And I believe all Alpines would have a challenge over the "notch" road at British Invasion. First, you're got a bit of altitude so you're down a bit on power. Second, the road is quite steep in spots. Third, the tightest corners are also the steepest. Some are so tight that many old British cars can only take them in first gear and even that's a bit of a struggle. 

I'd call my xk120 peppy (c-type motor,  9:1 compression, sport cams),  and I can do it in 2nd gear but only  IF I can keep up the revs by using part of the other side of the road. 

      From: Dan Gooding <degooding at suddenlinkmail.com>
 To: 'Martin Spurrell' <spurrellmartin at hotmail.co.uk>; 'ben john feng' <bfeng7 at yahoo.com> 
Cc: staowners at sunbeamtalbot.info 
 Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 9:01 PM
 Subject: RE: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] British Invasion, Stowe, VT and Ethanol in Fuel (long rant)
#yiv5901026173 #yiv5901026173 -- _filtered #yiv5901026173 {font-family:Calibri;panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4;} _filtered #yiv5901026173 {font-family:Tahoma;panose-1:2 11 6 4 3 5 4 4 2 4;}#yiv5901026173 #yiv5901026173 p.yiv5901026173MsoNormal, #yiv5901026173 li.yiv5901026173MsoNormal, #yiv5901026173 div.yiv5901026173MsoNormal {margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;font-size:12.0pt;}#yiv5901026173 a:link, #yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173MsoHyperlink {color:blue;text-decoration:underline;}#yiv5901026173 a:visited, #yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173MsoHyperlinkFollowed {color:purple;text-decoration:underline;}#yiv5901026173 p {margin-right:0in;margin-left:0in;font-size:12.0pt;}#yiv5901026173 p.yiv5901026173MsoAcetate, #yiv5901026173 li.yiv5901026173MsoAcetate, #yiv5901026173 div.yiv5901026173MsoAcetate {margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;font-size:8.0pt;}#yiv5901026173 p.yiv5901026173ecxmsonormal, #yiv5901026173 li.yiv5901026173ecxmsonormal, #yiv5901026173 div.yiv5901026173ecxmsonormal {margin-right:0in;margin-left:0in;font-size:12.0pt;}#yiv5901026173 p.yiv5901026173ecxmsoacetate, #yiv5901026173 li.yiv5901026173ecxmsoacetate, #yiv5901026173 div.yiv5901026173ecxmsoacetate {margin-right:0in;margin-left:0in;font-size:12.0pt;}#yiv5901026173 p.yiv5901026173ecxmsochpdefault, #yiv5901026173 li.yiv5901026173ecxmsochpdefault, #yiv5901026173 div.yiv5901026173ecxmsochpdefault {margin-right:0in;margin-left:0in;font-size:12.0pt;}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173ecxmsohyperlink {}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173ecxmsohyperlinkfollowed {}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173ecxemailstyle18 {}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173ecxballoontextchar {}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173ecxemailstyle21 {}#yiv5901026173 p.yiv5901026173ecxmsonormal1, #yiv5901026173 li.yiv5901026173ecxmsonormal1, #yiv5901026173 div.yiv5901026173ecxmsonormal1 {margin-right:0in;margin-left:0in;font-size:12.0pt;}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173ecxmsohyperlink1 {color:blue;text-decoration:underline;}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173ecxmsohyperlinkfollowed1 {color:purple;text-decoration:underline;}#yiv5901026173 p.yiv5901026173ecxmsoacetate1, #yiv5901026173 li.yiv5901026173ecxmsoacetate1, #yiv5901026173 div.yiv5901026173ecxmsoacetate1 {margin-right:0in;margin-left:0in;font-size:8.0pt;}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173ecxemailstyle181 {color:#1F497D;}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173ecxballoontextchar1 {}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173ecxemailstyle211 {color:#1F497D;}#yiv5901026173 p.yiv5901026173ecxmsochpdefault1, #yiv5901026173 li.yiv5901026173ecxmsochpdefault1, #yiv5901026173 div.yiv5901026173ecxmsochpdefault1 {margin-right:0in;margin-left:0in;font-size:10.0pt;}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173BalloonTextChar {}#yiv5901026173 span.yiv5901026173EmailStyle36 {color:#1F497D;}#yiv5901026173 .yiv5901026173MsoChpDefault {font-size:10.0pt;} _filtered #yiv5901026173 {margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in;}#yiv5901026173 div.yiv5901026173WordSection1 {}#yiv5901026173 Thanks Martin, Well, this is really interesting as I am shocked to learn that these cars are supposed to be peppy even on hills.    I will have this one completely reviewed to see what the heck is going on with it.    My MB 300 convertible sedan experience left me with no concern when this one equally doggy despite its lesser size.  Presumed that was the way it was back then and therefore now it is what it is.    This is my first English car but I have owned some 40-42 Packards and they would really go, no issues keeping up with interstate traffic at all.  Thus, I thought that was just a difference in the way they were built.  Sheesh.   Thanks again. Dan  

 From: Martin Spurrell [mailto:spurrellmartin at hotmail.co.uk] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 6:34 PM
To: Dan Gooding; ben john feng
Cc: staowners at sunbeamtalbot.info
Subject: RE: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] British Invasion, Stowe, VT and Ethanol in Fuel (long rant)  hi dan,           all conventional four speed gearboxes have a ratio of 1:1 in top (4th) gear so a change of gearbox shouldn't affect the car's performance in top on a level road. of course overdrive gives you the benefit of a fith ratio which may be different to your original 'box.   perhaps the car is fitted with a low compression head, or wrong carb. or perhaps your throttle is not opening to it's full potential. set up right these old cars go very well and keep up with modern traffic. earlier this summer i gave a usa star member a short ride to the station in my alpine and he commented on how strongly the car pulled through the gears. this may be as we said earlier, that for the time being the european union (if you pardon my french), have left us with a trace of petrolium in our ethanol.                  martin.From: degooding at suddenlinkmail.com
To: bfeng7 at yahoo.com
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:14:38 -0400
CC: staowners at sunbeamtalbot.info
Subject: Re: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] British Invasion, Stowe, VT and Ethanol in Fuel (long rant)John, Please refresh my memory, where do you and your car live?  D.  From: J Feng [mailto:bfeng7 at yahoo.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 11:33 AM
To: Dan Gooding
Cc: Robert Hamilton; Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Owners Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] British Invasion, Stowe, VT and Ethanol in Fuel (long rant) DanThese car should have no problems getting up to 75-80mph if everything is working as it should. I've had mine up to 70mph and it had plenty more to give. The motor had been recently been rebuilt by Martin Spurrell so my experience won't apply to one with a worn out engine.

John Feng (mobile device)Tel: 508-789-8195
On Sep 24, 2014, at 11:02 AM, "Dan Gooding" <degooding at suddenlinkmail.com> wrote:
Bob,  Do you have the same engine in your DHC as my MK I has?   Irv, from whom I purchased this car in 2009 you will recall, had a later Sunbeam…’63 he thought…transmission put in the car.  I don’t know what effect that is having on the performance since I have no clue about the ratio differences involved, etc.    I can assure you that this car can’t get beyond 65 in fourth though and that I thought that was normal based on my MB 300 convertible “tank” experience in the late 70’s.  My technician, who is 66 now and well experienced, says the car is well tuned, too.  Hmm, I wonder. Dan      From: Robert Hamilton [mailto:hamilton at accesswave.ca] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 9:46 AM
To: Dan Gooding; Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Owners Mailing List
Subject: RE: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] British Invasion, Stowe, VT and Ethanol in Fuel (long rant) Hi Dan,

I really appreciate your and other's views on this problem. My Alpine, DHC and Saloon run fine here in NS, pulling up "Interstate hills" type hills and even accelerating. On the flat I can easily hit 85+ MPH so I think they are tuned properly. If you can only reach 65, then there could possibly be a problem with your car that you are not aware of.

When I hit the U.S. on this trip in the Alpine, it all went downhill this time. When it started to slow down on the hills, it would buck and misfire (no backfiring) if I gave it more gas and I would have to modulate the accelerator pedal to avoid this misfiring and in the meantime slowing down and downshifting. It would die if I gave it full throttle (like fuel starvation) so I am presuming it had to be the Ethanol content as it ran fine here in NS. I should have made note of the Ethanol content at the pump as I understand the concentration can vary but I was using the top grade all the time and various brands. Smuggler's Notch is only 2170' high but the road up to it is steep in places, and with switch-backs, it kept slowing down to a point where I had to finally go into 1st (stop the car) then no power to get going again and had to make a "Y" turn to go back downhill again.

I appreciate all the feedback and experiences others have had with these new fuels, and got a good laugh from Martin Spurrell's comment:

perhaps when they get round to adding 10% petrol to 90% ethanol we will need to all give up and take up stamp collecting!
Take care,

At 09:50 AM 9/24/2014, you wrote:

Here in West Virginia we are known for seemingly endless hills and mountains.  Thus I am driving my car often somewhere other than the flat downtown areas of our cities.   Here is my observation:
I have a ping under load unless I add STP to the gasoline.  It is not a timing issue…been all over that.  Everyone tells me it is ethanol in the gasoline that is the problem.  
I also find that I have to downshift if I am on a really steep grade.  However, top speed in 4th gear is only about 65 mph flat out on level ground in the first place.  I don’t have overdrive.  
I have always presumed that these cars, heavy as they are and with their four cylinder engines, unless they are souped-up like a Works car for racing, are way underpowered for their weight.  That is not unusual for European/UK vehicles of that era.  I once had a ’53 MB 300 4 door convertible sedan that was a total dog…beautiful, but WAY underpowered.
Further, these cars, I have thought, are geared for the sleepy English rolling, countryside roads, not the M highways there today nor the Interstate System ubiquitous here in the U.S. since the 70’s.  Driving up a long mountain, say Sandstone Mountain on I-64 here, which climbs in one mile to two to about 1500 feet and is a 10% grade on average, I have to downshift to third.  The Alpine will reach the ridge it at about 45 or so in third gear…pedal to the floor.
Of course, I didn’t expect high performance.  I have fast cars and they are fun;  I have this one because it is drop-dead gorgeous…it is a work of art.  
So now I am wondering if my car is underpowered compared to other MKI’s here in the U.S.  
Any thoughts on that? 
I have only seen one other of these cars since I purchased mine in 2009 and my contact with Alpine MK I and III owners is via this internet family only.  I may have a car underperforming compared to those running corn-free gasoline and not know it!   Maybe my U.S. fellow owners are in the same boat if so…unless they owned their cars in the pre-corn fuel days and there is a difference of which they are aware.
Best to you all!
Dan Gooding
Lewisburg, WV, USA
From: Staowners [ mailto:staowners-bounces at sunbeamtalbot.info] On Behalf Of Robert Hamilton
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 8:34 PM
To: Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Owners Mailing List
Subject: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] British Invasion, Stowe, VT and Ethanol in Fuel (long rant)

Returned home from a successful 1700 km round trip to Stowe, VT and returned with a People's Choice 2nd place in the Sunbeam Alpine Class against some very tidy Series Alpines and Tigers. Winning was not the purpose of this trip but to meet some of the Alpine owners on this email list and talk about our cars with the spectators who take interest in them. It was a real pleasure to finally meet up with John Feng from this list who used to own a MK Alpine which he sold and now owns a stunning Jaguar XK120. Funny but he literally ran to the side of the road with his camera then flagged me down to introduce himself and we later met on the field for a great chat.

The Alpine ran fine while burning the Canadian high test fuel which does not contain Ethanol, yet but while in the U.S., it was a far different story. On the flat it was pretty good but the minute I gave it gas to get up some of the hiolls in new England, it would buck and misfire and start slowing down. It did not have the power to get up in high gear like it normally would forcing a downshift. It was so bad, I could not get through the steep, twisty road through the Smugger's Notch near Stowe and forced to turn around in fear of damaging a gearbox or burn out the clutch. Once I stopped to get into first gear, I was dead and no power to get going again. I even bought some Ethanol Armor Defender fuel additive ($15 for 236 ml) which made no difference. Upon re-entering Canada, I fueled up with our High Test and it was like a new car again, "laughing at the hills" as the 93 year old previous owner of my Saloon once told me.

So my question is to those who are living with 10% Ethanol in their fuel, how are you able to drive your Sunbeams with any amount of enjoyment with Ethanol in your fuel? Are there any other ways to overcome this problem? Are there any brands of gasoline (petrol) that you can be assured does not contain Ethanol? I know it is marked on the pumps but when travelling it is hard to spend time looking for these stations that have Ethanol free fuels.

Other than this problem, it was a great trip and I was accompanied by a close friend with a 1959 Singer Gazelle convertible who also took a second place in the Singer group which were all the pre-Rootes models. (comical image below)

Take care,

Robert (Bob) A.C. Hamilton, Waverley, Nova Scotia, Canada
Sunbeam Talbots - Alpine, Drophead and Saloon, 1953-1954
Sunbeam Talbot Web Page: www.sunbeamtalbot.info (or .org)       
E-Mail: hamilton at accesswave.ca
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Robert (Bob) A.C. Hamilton, Waverley, Nova Scotia, Canada
Sunbeam Talbots - Alpine, Drophead and Saloon, 1953-1954
Sunbeam Talbot Web Page: www.sunbeamtalbot.info (or .org)       
E-Mail: hamilton at accesswave.ca

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