Cars: Sunbeam-Talbot 3 Litre

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Launched at the 1937 Olympia Motor Show, and equipped with the famous Rootes Blue Riband 6 cylinder side-valve 3181cc engine. This engine was derived from the 1931 Hillman Wizard 2110cc & 2810cc engines which was enlarged 3 litres and fitted with an aluminium cylinder head. The 3-Litre was equipped with the latest Rootes ‘Evenkeel’ independent front suspension and a four speed synchromesh gearbox. In 1939, the chassis was improved with the addition of cruciform bracing, the brakes were now hydraulic and the compression ratio was increased to 6.5:1. The 3-Litre was available as a Saloon, Sports Saloon, Drophead Coupe, Tourer, and from 1939, a Touring Saloon, Limousine and Phaeton were added (no Phaetons were built). Production ceased in November 1939 with a total 1266 cars being produced.   

Body Type

Saloon, Sports Saloon, Tourer, D.H. Foursome Coupe, Touring Saloon, Limousine & Phaeton


Six cylinder monobloc, side-by-side valves, detachable polished aluminium cylinder head. Engine flexibly mounted at three points in frame. Four-bearing counterbalanced crankshaft, full pressure lubrication, steel backed main and connecting rod bearings, special low-expansion aluminium alloy pistons. Down-draught carburettor with automatic choke, silencer, and air cleaner. Coil ignition with automatic advance and retard. Cooling by radiator, water pump and fan with thermostat control. Bore and stroke: 75 × 120 mm (2.95 in × 4.72 in). Cubic capacity: 3181 c.c. R.A.C Rating: 20.9 h.p.

Annual tax in Great Britain: £15 15s.


Single dry plate operated by flexible control.


Silent four-speed, synchromesh on 3rd and 4th gears, operated by sturdy, centrally situated gear lever insulated against noise.

Gear Ratios

Top: 4.30 to 1. Third: 6.30 to 1. Second: 10.62 to 1. First and Reverse 15.90 to 1.

Front Suspension

Independent of wishbone and transverse spring pattern. Fitted with leather gaiters.

Rear Suspension

Long semi-elliptic springs fitted with leather gaiters and silentbloc bushes.

Stock Absorbers

Double-action hydraulic, with adjustable ride control.

Stabiliser Bumpers

The front bumper incorporates a stabiliser, while rear quarter bumpers are fitted to all models.


Worm and nut design, self-centering and light in operation. Steering column adjustable for length,

Rear Axle

Semi floating, with spiral bevel drive in weldless one-piece steel casing.


Steel wheels with special discs. Dunlop tyres, 16ʺ × 6.25ʺ.


Lockheed hydraulic brakes are fitted. They are powerful, light in operation, act equally on all four wheels, and can be quickly adjusted.

Petrol Tank

Fifteen gallons (59.1 litres) capacity at rear of chassis. Mechanical fuel pump with gauge on the instrument panel.

Electrical Equipment

Battery is 12 volt, 66 Amp. hour capacity. Dynamo is Ventilated with constant voltage maintaining battery at highest pitch of efficiency. Ampere meter fitted on instrument panel. Lighting equipment consists of two headlamps, with dipping device and separate fuses, two side and twin rear lamps, stop light, reversing light, and auxiliary driving light. The instrument panel lighting is controlled by a rheostat. Control for driving lamps is situated on the instrument panel, but in addition, headlamps can be fully controlled from the steering wheel.


By open propeller shaft, with special needle bearing universal joints.

Instrument Panel

Combined 5ʺ speedometer complete with trip and clock, a 5ʺ instrument combining oil-pressure gauge, ammeter, petrol gauge and water temperature indicator. Instruments are marked in English and metric figures.

Chassis Dimensions
Wheelbase…   …   …   …9ft. 10 in.
Track, Front…   …   …   …4 ft. 7½ in.
Track, Rear…   …   …   …4ft 8 in.
Ground Clearance…   …   …   …8 in.
Turning Circle…   …   …   …41 ft.
Colour Schemes
Saloon, Sports Saloon and D.H. Foursome Coupe

Gun with Grey leather upholstery*
Ruby with Maroon leather upholstery*
Carborundum Blue with Blue leather upholstery*
Copper Bronze with Brown leather upholstery*
Black with Brown leather upholstery

*Jewelessence finish

Sports Tourer

Gun with Grey leather upholstery*
Copper Bronze with Brown leather upholstery*
Red with Red leather upholstery
Green with Green leather upholstery
Black with Brown leather upholstery

*Jewelessence finish