Sunbeam Alpine V6 Restomod: The Cooling System and Engine Bay

The Sunbeam had now returned to my house after leaving the body shop and exhaust shop. This only left the fuel system, cooling system, clutch, brakes, dash, driveshaft, interior, and windows. You know, the simple stuff. We decided to focus on the cooling system and engine compartment. We started on the thermostat housing which is attached to the water pump. There is a modification that is needed on the water inlet of the thermostat housing. The original Mustang II inlet faces downward. It is a common modification to angle the inlet and relocate the heater outlet on the side of the part. We bought the part and sent it to a forum member and had it modified. The part came back perfect and was installed on the water pump. We installed an 80 °C thermostat as recommended by a friend. Luckily Autozone still carries the parts for the coolant hose and nipples which travel from the water pump to the intake manifold/engine.  

Pcture of the modified water pump inlet
Completed water inlet/thermostat/coolant lines to the intake manifold

The 2.6L Ford V6 which originally came with the car purchased in January 2014, had a few gems to offer up. We scavenged the block-off cover for the fuel pump and the water outlet. The water outlet was the best find because this part was practically impossible to find online. The available versions online had multiple block off holes and aren’t aesthetically pleasing. The block-off plate was cleaned up and installed. The water outlet was sandblasted and was treated with high temp paint.

Fuel pump blockoff borrowed from the 2.6L V6
Intake water outlet taken from the 2.6L V6

Next up was the all of the coolant lines. The Sunbeam Alpine has a heater halve that attaches to the engine bay brace. The hoses from the heater core to the heater valve are readily available, but there is no known hose that goes from the heater valve to the thermostat housing. I spent some time online to make a mockup and ended up with what is shown below. The only problem was the hose ended up being 3 pieces. Although not ideal, it was a good start. 

Stock heater core to heater valve hose
Mockup of the valve to thermostat hose

We ended up going with the original Ford alternator which was installed with the Mustang II. The output was 95 amps and was more than enough to power the car. We wanted to go with such a large alternator because we were considering doing an electric fuel injection (EFI) which requires a lot of juice to run. The conversion kit brackets for the alternator went on seamlessly and are well made.

The next item to sort out was the brake and clutch reservoirs. The original clutch reservoir is still in fabrication and was purchased through Sunbeam Specialties. Sunbeam Specialties is a wonderful shop that has supplied most of the original parts for this project thus far. The brake master cylinder was not as easy. We wanted a dual master cylinder that would work in the confined space of the engine bay. After a ton of false starts, inventory shortages, and endless research, we settled on a brake master cylinder from a late 70’s Dodge Colt. It had dual brake lines and a 13/16″ bore and fit like a glove in the engine bay and was still in production. I did have to purchase separate reservoirs from Tilton. Overall it was a hard find but determination and persistence got it sorted. 

Conversion kit mounting brackets for alternator
New clutch master cylinder
New Dodge Colt branke master cylinder

In order to finish up the front of the engine, the radiator, fan and belts needed to be sorted. We decided to use the original radiator. However, we had the radiator re-cored with an aluminum 3 core unit. We had the radiator outlet at the bottom match up to the same angle and the water inlet at the thermostat housing.  The fan was up next. Forum members advised we use a modified Volvo 240 fan. A forum member sells an adapter plate that allows the use of the Volvo fan. The fan does require some trimming of the blades but went in relatively smoothly. We had the fan pully powder coated and measured for a fan belt. The whole assembly went together well and almost looked stock.

Volvo 240 fan with adapter plate
Installed Radiator with fan and belts

This part of the project took a good deal of time. Tons of research and patience led us to this point. Everything was starting to become custom. The good news with all these small projects, is that the path is well-traveled, and resources are available but finding those resources does take some effort. Next up, the interior and fuel delivery. Motor on.