Following the outbreak of World War 2, the 1940 and 1941 catalogues differed little from that of 1939, except for price increases caused by materials shortages and the imposition of Purchase Tax.
– Sunbeam Cycles by John Pinkerton & Derek Roberts
AMC bought Sunbeam in 1937, and continued to manufacture Sunbeam bicycles and motorcycles until 1939. They sold the Sunbeam name to BSA in 1943, and Sunbeams were then built at BSA’s Redditch factory.
The ‘SS’ frame number prefix seen on this bicycle appears only on Sunbeams built by BSA between 1943 and 1947. Most were all-black ‘wartime finish’ bicycles, though some of the later ones, such as this, had chrome fittings. Just as AMC, after they bought Sunbeam, used up parts from previous models of Martson-made Sunbeams, BSA used up redundant AMC-Sunbeam parts, particularly during and immediately after the War when there was a shortage of parts.
The postwar Sunbeam catalogue was not issued until 1949. Only a single-sheet printed sales list was issued beforehand, on 1st January, 1947. It listed only one sports machine, the ‘LS 1 Sports with fixed and free-wheel and LS3 Sports with BSA 3-speed gear’ both with celluloid guards, caliper brakes, at £14-19-0 and £16-18-3 including Purchase Tax. No illustration is available, but the Sunbeam featured here is believed to be that model, based on the 1939 Super Club Sports but fitted with the ‘S’ imprinted chainwheel used on the 1939 Silver Sports.
Information regarding wartime civilian cycle production is extremely limited. The exact age of this machine is not known. I’ve assumed 1947, but it could be any time between 1943 and 1947. It’s a rare bike.
1947 Sunbeam LS3 Sports
BSA Three-Speed Gear
Resilion ‘A’ Cantilever Brakes
Frame No SS 73637
This rare wartime Sunbeam is in good unrestored original condition and is ready to ride.
1939 SUNBEAM CATALOGUE
1951 SUNBEAM CATALOGUE
Thanks to marque enthusiast Bob C-C for explaining some of the finer points of Sunbeam history