Sunbeam Venezia


The Venezia was a two door coupe launched in September 1963 and powered by Rootes' 1592cc engine, developing 88bhp @ 5800rpm. . It was based on the Hillman Super Minx/Singer Vogue/Humber Sceptre floorpan, but built in Italy by Carrozeria Touring of Milan. Touring were already assembling Super Minxes and Alpines for the Italian market. They also designed the improved boot of the Series III/IV/V Alpine and the cut-off fins of the Series IV/V.

Like all Touring designs (eg. Lamborghini 350GT, Aston Martin DB4/5/6). the Venezia used Superleggera construction, meaning aluminium body panels fitted to a tubular steel frame.

145 were built, seven of which were for British consumption. Convertible and V8 versions were considered and plans were made to switch production to the Jensen factory. None of this came to fruition, unfortunately, although rumour has it that Brian Rootes had a V8 Venezia.

The Venezia was launched appropriately in St Mark's Square, Venice. The vehicle had to be transported to the square by gondola. Someone forgot to set the handbrake and the first Venezia very nearly rolled overboard!

Sadly the Venezia's life was cut short. It was expensive to build, forcing its price into Jaguar territory, where it was under-powered by comparison with its competition.

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illustration: Rootes Motors