[Sunbeam Talbot Email List] To Catch a Thief

SEAN AND TRICIA JOHNSON healey at communitynet.org
Thu Mar 19 10:19:52 EDT 2015

It's completely consistent for the "wearing" surfaces to be in hide and the parts that wouldn't come into contact with you to be in vinyl.  Most English cars were trimmed that way.  it simply would have been prohibitively expensive to trim all of the surfaces in hide.   Austin Healeys prior to 1964 had only the front seats and center armrest in hide.  Only the portions of the seats that came in contact with you were hide.  The seat back and bolsters were panel weight vinyl  (leathercloth or vinyde were two of the trade names)  the rear seats on four seat Austin Healey's were completely vinyl.  In 1964 all of the surfaces of the interior were trimmed in Vinyl (Ambla) unless you ordered leather and leather was only an option for the home market or Europe.


Jaguar XK's were similarly trimmed.  Leather on the wearing surfaces and vinyl and moquette on everything else…


I remember my father's 90 Mk2A  DHC had leather on the front and rear seats but all of the rest was vinyl…   (LHD export)


the only British car that I have come across with a complete interior trimmed in hide was a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 that I restored about 15 years ago.  I would have expected no less from a completely handmade car that expensive


Sean Johnson   USA



From: Staowners [mailto:staowners-bounces at sunbeamtalbot.info] On Behalf Of Max King
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 7:43 PM
To: Malcolm Clark
Cc: staowners at sunbeamtalbot.info; Bill Spear
Subject: Re: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] To Catch a Thief


Just to add to the mix, on my Alpine, the cockpit cap surrounds were leather (dash, rear, and door tops), as well as the padded door pulls/armrests, center armrest over the handbrake, handbrake boot, and the seat seat fronts (as Martin put it, the "parts you are in contact with"). All the rest, matching vinyl.


According to the Parts Catalogue:

Leather, Crushed Grain: Capping roll, seat facings, squab borders, centre and door armrests.

Leathercloth/Vynide: Cushion borders, seat backs, center arm rest back, cushion backs, squab bottom, scuttle, door and quarter trim, piping.


We have all seen variance from the Parts Catalogue and from one car to the next, so doubtless there are a few more combinations that are "right" (or "wrong") for our cars.

Cheers! --Max 



Max King, Ph.D.

Associate Vice Provost

University of Pennsylvania

3611 Locust Walk

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6222

(215)898-6081 (Phone)


mjking at upenn.edu


On Mar 18, 2015, at 5:19 PM, Malcolm Clark <shadow74 at bigpond.com> wrote:

Hi Martin, It make sense that maybe export cars used the matching Vinyl, were as home market may have been leather, I am sure my Alpine I had in the UK, CMD 172 in 1972,   had these  area’s in hide, 

 Biggest mistake I did in those days, was to have all the interior leather coverings removed, and replaced with new red Vinyl all for 55 pounds, looked fantastic, but a stupid thing to do, as I remember the original red leather wasn’t too bad either. That car has recently sold by Mike Knoche, and now resides in Tasmania. Mal Clark.


From: Martin Spurrell [mailto:spurrellmartin at hotmail.co.uk] 
Sent: Thursday, 19 March 2015 1:18 AM
To: Malcolm Clark; 'George Hummel'; 'Robert Hamilton'; 'David Allen-Hughes'
Cc: staowners at sunbeamtalbot.info; 'Bill Spear'
Subject: RE: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] To Catch a Thief


hi malcolm and all,

                              we could both be right , or wrong on this. any i have done (and there have been a few) have been what we call 'half leather' that is hide on the important bits and a high quality matching vinyl on the incidentals, but i wouldn't argue with your findings, who knows if cars differed depending on availability of materials at the time, or if export models had different spec. to home market. also in fifty-sixty years a lot can happen to a car. changing the subject, many years ago a friend and i had both bought the same first rolling stones l.p. (yes that was a long time ago)  at the youth club an argument ensued between he and i about 

whether a particular track had a lead guitar solo. we bet each other and the next week we took our respective albums to the club and played them. two identical albums bought from the same shop. his had no guitar solo on the track and mine did! so we were both right and wrong. meantime if david has his car expertly re trimmed in either choice i'm sure no one will talk about him!

                                            best wishes from a chilly u.k.




From: shadow74 at bigpond.com
To: spurrellmartin at hotmail.co.uk; ghummel at worden-shewell.com; hamilton at accesswave.ca; 3264760 at gmail.com
CC: staowners at sunbeamtalbot.info; bill at wmspear.com
Subject: RE: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] To Catch a Thief
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2015 00:13:09 +1100

Hi Martin.  I am sure a couple of original Alpines I have restored, the front and rear trim was hide to match the top of the door padding,  ??????  Mal Clark.


From: Staowners [mailto:staowners-bounces at sunbeamtalbot.info] On Behalf Of Martin Spurrell
Sent: Wednesday, 18 March 2015 11:38 PM
To: George Hummel; Robert Hamilton; David Allen-Hughes
Cc: staowners at sunbeamtalbot.info; Bill Spear
Subject: Re: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] To Catch a Thief


hi george,

                a mixture of both!   the fronts of the seats, the parts you are in contact with are leather. the less important bits including the top rail of the dash are of identically matching vinyl .

of course there is nothing to stop anyone from re doing the lot in leather if they so choose.

          hope this helps.





From: ghummel at worden-shewell.com
To: hamilton at accesswave.ca; 3264760 at gmail.com
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:23:50 +0000
CC: staowners at sunbeamtalbot.info; bill at wmspear.com
Subject: Re: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] To Catch a Thief

An original 1953 Sunbeam mark I 

Was the dash and seats leather or vinyl?




George Hummel


C: 717.577.6954


Committed, Responsive, Progressive

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From: Staowners [mailto:staowners-bounces at sunbeamtalbot.info] On Behalf Of Robert Hamilton
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 10:11 PM
To: David Allen-Hughes
Cc: Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Owners Mailing List; Bill Spear
Subject: Re: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] To Catch a Thief


Hi David,

We have an email list for owners of Sunbeam Talbot and Alpines with presently about 250 subscribers from around the world who will be able to assist you finding the correct colours for the movie car.

I suggest you visit my S-T web page ( www.sunbeamtalbot.info <http://www.sunbeamtalbot.info/> ) with loads of information on the restoration and maintenance of these cars and also subscribe to the email list ( http://sunbeamtalbot.info/mailman/listinfo/staowners_sunbeamtalbot.info <http://sunbeamtalbot.info/mailman/listinfo/staowners_sunbeamtalbot.info>  ) where you can tap into the experiences of other owners.

Look forward to receiving your subscription request.


At 03:03 PM 3/17/2015, you wrote:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the quick reply and the introduction to Bob.

Yes, I’m 100% sure my wife is looking for more of a tribute car that looks like the one in the film instead of true factory colors.  Appreciate your insight and advice.

415 326 4760


On Mar 17, 2015, at 11:00 AM, Bill Spear <bill at wmspear.com> wrote:

I am forwarding your note to the expert on this subject, Bob Hamilton...He can give you the straight scoop on Sunbeam colors.

I think the original color in the movie was Sapphire Blue (not the lighter glacier blue or whatever they called it and what I had on my car on the site). However, the factory did not offer the combination of Fawn seats and SB, and Edith Head who did the costuming or art direction had the car reupholstered to enhance Kelly's color or costuming or both...So...if you go this route be aware you are developing a sort of tribute car rather than a strict factory restoration (The factory unfortunately did NOT have Edith as a style consultant :~)

I tried to get that color in a little Bantam I did...and I used Connolly Jaguar hide but was disappointed because out here in California especially in the sun it appears almost white. The texture and feel is great of course, but, there was no such color. It is a color which we always associate with neat old cars with great patina, but, it may just BE patina that makes it look so right. What I wanted was that wonderful color of an old baseball glove or saddle..a sort of reddish burnt siena and maybe some yellow ochre in it...but not "brown"...I had a hell of a hard time finding anything and was in a hurry, but would consider re doing it if anything show up...let me know what you find...

On Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 9:51 AM, David Allen-Hughes <3264760 at gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Bill,

Saw your post about the Sunbeam Alpine and…I’m having Joop Stolze restore one for me and we’re having a heck of a time determining what color matches the movie.  The true Sapphire Blue is darker/greyer than what it appears to be in most of the film scenes.  Any advice?

Also trying to find something to match the Fawn leather seats.  Any currently produced leather that you might recommend and coloring?  I heard Jaguar might have a close Fawn color but this is hard for me.





David Allen-Hughes


www.linkedin.com/in/ mrdavidhughes


David Allen-Hughes

www.linkedin.com/in/ mrdavidhughes

Bob Hamilton
Waverley, Nova Scotia, Canada
List Administrator - Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Owners List
E-Mail: hamilton at accesswave.ca

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