What is it?
Polo neck on, Wayfarers adjusted, cruising down to Monaco in an old Alfa, E-Type or 911 like you’re a ’60s film star. Only you’re going much faster and have no fear of breaking down. That’s what restomods are all about.
But what if, for you, the words Monte Carlo instead bring to mind icy hairpins, bobble hats and Puffa jackets? Tolman Engineering has a solution. Part GT3 racing team, part historic motorsport parts supplier and part classic car restorer, it has combined its diverse skills to create a modernised Talbot Sunbeam Lotus.
As well as eschewing the typical restomod chicness for something far tougher-looking, this car differs from the usual recipe in one distinct way: it retains its original engine.
The 2.2-litre atmo ‘slant four’ was considered integral to the Sunbeam’s character, so Tolman commissioned the man who made the competition Talbot engines in the early ’80s, Phil Davison, to build one for this car. The 16-valver was then garnished with a dry-sump system, individual throttle bodies with two injectors for each cylinder and coil-on-plug ignition. The result is 260bhp and 230lb ft: not too shabby for an ‘old’ engine.
The rest of the car is restomod heartland. It has been made more durable with a reinforced shell and a roll cage that has FIA credentials. There are high-tech mechanicals throughout, including adjustable remote-reservoir Nitron dampers built to Tolman’s design, a GT3- spec pedal box and a pneumatically operated sequential gearbox with steering-wheel-mounted paddles.
You will have guessed that it’s not cheap: the base cost for one of Tolman’s restomods is £80,000, but then you can choose any car you like.