Restoring a Sunbeam Venezia can be a fairly straightforward operation, particularly as far as the technical aspects are concerned. Being built on a Humber Sceptre chassis / floor pan and equipped with the 1592cc engine used in many Rootes vehicles, rebuilding the engine or the drive train should be an overseeable exercise. Many parts were used throughout the Rootes vehicle range. The Rootes Manual WSM.134 is a great help in the workshop. Try your luck and find a copy on eBay.
The construction of the Venezia according to the Superleggera principle, however, may create some challenges when restoring. Rootes UK sent floor pans and engines / drive trains to the Carrozzeria Touring Nova Milanese factory, which in turn constructed a frame made of molybdenum steel tubing on top of the floor pan. This frame already had the outlines of the body shape. As a next step, the frame was covered with aluminium sheeting which was 'loosely' fixed to the frame by means of a very small number of brackets and 8mm bolts. In most places however, the aluminium skin was merely just folded around the frame/floor pan.
Whenever aluminium and steel are combined into one vehicle, there is a severe risk of one metal corroding preferentially to the other when both of them are in electrical contact and subject to an electrolyte. In an attempt to prevent rattling of the two components and to insulate the aluminium from the steel, Touring have separated the two by means of a layer of grey felt (3 to 4 mm). This felt, however, will absorb any humidity and will thus act as an electrolyte. Just driving will generate a minimal amount of electricity through friction. According to science, the aluminium will usually be 'eaten' by the steel. Many Venezia restoration projects however, show a fully intact body and a rather 'crispy' floor pan / frame.....
For those who are not too fanatic about originality, a cure to this problem is to remove the felt wherever possible, and to replace it by a suitable black filler/glue, such as Bostik Simson ISR 70-03, which is a multipurpose elastic adhesive/sealant. Make sure to retain the distance between steel and aluminium.
The sound deadening material which Touring used all-over, the white extruded polystyrene, has become brittle over the years and turns out to be unable to withstand pressure. This material can be replaced by DOW Styrofoam of the correct thickness (slide show 3190114), or, if you prefer more flexibility, by black closed-cell rubber of the correct density (slide show 3190016).
Most Venezias are suffering from deteriorated rubber seals of the door quarter lights (referred to as 'draughtless ventilators' in the Sunbeam Venezia Parts List). Lack of a suitable master in good order prohibited the re-manufacture of this seal. As an alternative, Robert Jaarsma (USA) has had the appropriate profiles reproduced and offers those at cost, inclusive of comprehensive instructions (download here).
If you are interested to acquire any of the above, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to check for availability and cost.
Some restorers may be facing trouble with the cylinder of the door lock (LH only). If yours looks like this,
you're in for a search expedition..... As you will note, the zinc alloy of the cylinder has disintegrated and the cylinder fell into pieces. The door handle itself was also used on some other Touring designed cars, such as the Maserati 3500 Coupe GT, the Maserati 4000 and on other Italian thoroughbreds like the Ferrari 250 GT and Alfa Romeo Giulietta TI Berlina 1964. So the complete door handle of those cars will fit the Venezia, but beware: the cylinders may not be interchangeable! So if you face this challenge, always go for a complete door handle (with keys.....)
An important piece of advice, not only for those who need to restore their engine, but also for those who are not sure if their engine is fitted with a suitable timing chain tensioner:
ENGINE CAUTION: NEVER USE AN ENGINE OIL SUPPLEMENT OR “HIGH MILEAGE OIL” TO TRY TO REDUCE ENGINE OIL LEAKS. THESE ADDITIVES WORK BY SWELLING THE RUBBER SEALS WHICH THIS ENGINE DOES NOT HAVE. HOWEVER, THE TIMING CHAIN TENSIONER IN THE VENEZIA ENGINE IS MADE OF RUBBER AND IT WILL SWELL AND BE DESTROYED IN THE ENGINE REQUIRING AN ENGINE TEARDOWN. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!
The use of the wrong engine oil ('modern engine oil') may result in this:
Alternatively, you may obtain a redesigned and remanufactured timing chain tensioner from Rootesparts.com, which is suitable for use with modern oils.
The steering box on some cars shows cracks which may result in leakage or worse. Replace if yours looks like this:
Those interested will find additional useful items in the spares section of this site.
Robert Jaarsma and Hans Visser will be pleased to share their knowledge with anyone planning or already working on a Sunbeam Venezia restoration.