1966 Sunbeam Tiger.
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Every car is a work of art, and while at the West Palm Beach Barrett-Jackson auction, you certainly come across plenty of examples, but while searching out the next great car, I stumbled on to this 1966 Sunbeam Tiger. While it is not completely accurate or stock, a nice and rare little treasure.
This Tiger does have quite a few modifications, as pointed out by Mark Olson, and they include the fender flares, which can help get enough rubber unger the car to handle a more radical power plant, but really changes the look of the car. The second was the two things sticking up from the upholstery in back (which are for the 4-point roll bar that can be attached), and the third is the white shift knob, which should have been black. The hood looks like an official LAT option hood, although it could be a reproduction. But the hood pins in the front are dumb because the hood opens from the rear, and since it also has two hood pins at the back, it looks like the owner may have gotten rid of the hinges. Lastly, the wheels are definitely aftermarket.
Sunbeam Tiger. Named for the world land speed record holder of 1926, the Sunbeam Tiger was the cheapest way to have a Shelby engineered, small block Ford powered two seat British convertible in the '60s. Fortunately, this opportunity still exists today. Built by the Rootes Group, the Sunbeam Tiger was a leading sportscar value in the '60s. Just as the Cobra was born from the lesser AC Ace, so was the Tiger born from the lesser Sunbeam Alpine.
Introduced in 1959, the Sunbeam Alpine was an attractive two seat convertible, with a standard soft top, roll up windows and an optional hardtop.
Ian Garrad was Rootes West Coast Manager. Well aware of the excitement the Cobra was generating, Garrad arranged for a meeting between himself, Carroll Shelby and John Panks (Director of Rootes Group America), to see if the Alpine could be transformed along the lines of Shelby's Cobra. Shelby agreed the Sunbeam transplant would be possible, and said that the small block Ford was the engine of choice.
Shelby agreed to do the engineering for $10,000, with a potential commission per car should it reach production. Fabrication was overseen by Phil Remington of Shelby's shop. The 260 c.i. Ford small-block was dropped into place.
An agreement with Ford Motors was reached to supply 260 cu in V8 motors, with the first order for a lot of 3,000 units. Rootes then started their own development of the prototype into a certified, mass produced sports car.
The resulting Sunbeam Tiger was a huge success. Sunbeam was no longer competing with MGs and Triumphs, but rather Jaguars and Corvettes, and for a lot less money, retailing for under $3,500.00. Tigers came with a two-barrel 260 as standard equipment, but high performance options were screened by Shelby American, then offered for sale through Sunbeam dealerships just as Cobra hop-up kits were available through Ford dealers for Mustang owners.
Sunbeam built 7,085 Tigers. The first 3,763 are known as Mark I cars. The last cars are known as Mark II Tigers, which number only 536.
(text source, by Von Levandowski: Classic Tiger)
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