The Sunbeam Tiger is a high-performance V8 version of the British Rootes Group’s Sunbeam Alpine roadster, designed in part by American car designer and racing driver Carroll Shelby and produced from 1964 until 1967. Shelby had carried out a similar V8 conversion on the AC Cobra, and hoped to be offered the contract to produce the Tiger at his facility in America. Rootes decided instead to contract the assembly work to Jensen at West Bromwich in England, and pay Shelby a royalty on every car produced.
Two major versions of the Tiger were built: the Mark I (1964–67) was fitted with the 260 cu in (4.3 L) Ford V8; the Mark II, of which only 633 were built in the final year of Tiger production, was fitted with the larger Ford 289 cu in (4.7 L) engine. Two prototype and extensively modified versions of the Mark I competed in the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans, but neither completed the race. Rootes also entered the Tiger in European rallies with some success, and for two years it was the American Hot Rod Association’s national record holder over a quarter-mile drag strip.
Production ended in 1967 soon after the Rootes Group was taken over by Chrysler, which did not have a suitable engine to replace the Ford V8. Owing to the ease and affordability of modifying the Tiger, there are few surviving cars in standard form.
Steel bonnet w/Le Mans style cooling ducts, HiPo 289 V8, Edelbrock carb, 4 speed Top loader box, Stainless steel exhaust system, Tubular manifolds, Aluminium radiator, Additional electric fan, Gas shocks, Uprated springs, Minilite wheels, Mohair tonneau cover, Walnut dash, Moto Lita wheel, 12v socket under armrest.
This stunning Sunbeam Tiger is in beautiful condition benefiting from a full restoration to its original colour in 2000. The glossy paintwork has settled beautifully over the last few years since it was taken back to bare metal, etch primed and repainted in its original colour; photographs of which are provided in the history file. The quality of the works is first rate and the paint is free from any imperfections with excellent panel gaps. The attention to detail is exceptional with the added bonus of a rare steel Le Mans vented bonnet.
When the car was reassembled any trim part or rubber seal were replaced to give it that factory fresh look. The bright work is in fantastic condition around the bumpers and front screen whilst the chromed areas such as the door handles, filler cap and ‘Tiger’ swage line show very well with excellent fit and finish.
The interior has a wonderful period feel and the original body hugging sports seats remain in remarkable condition. The impeccable walnut dash sets off the sparkling chrome dials and switches perfectly, while the driving position feels absolutely right with a period correct Moto Lita connecting the contact patch. The carpets have all been replaced with rubber mats offering further protection and the boot area is very clean housing the spare wheel and tool kit.
A welcome upgrade features a triple sat nav/phone charger socket discretely installed into the arm rest centre console.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Firing this Tiger up is a real treat for the ears for any petrol head, the V8 sounds awesome with an American muscle car throb. This car has received the popular upgrade from the 260cu V8 to the 289cu V8 Ford unit with a recent Edelbrock carb. The engine is in fine fettle with an excellent record of service and maintenance work and also benefits from a few period upgrades including an LSD and a stainless steel exhaust system.
The clutch, ring gear and thrust bearings were all changed a few hundred miles ago; significant peace of mind as a clutch change requires removal of the engine. A new fuel pump has also been fitted and relocated to the boot.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The car comes with a period set of immaculate 14″ Minilite alloys that are all shod in a recent set of Bridgestone tyres.
Suspension and braking systems have been carefully matched to ensure the V8 is harnessed effectively. The result is a classic that drives, stops and handles like it did when new.
This 1965 MK1 was originally sold to a Mr Fry of Westerham and the car remained in his ownership until 1984. A concise summary of ownership change features in the history file – a welcome addition to the story behind this beautifully kept example. A huge ring binder reads in chronological order with tax discs from the 70′s, tracking of previous ownership back to the 80′s and almost every service receipt from the 90′s to the present day.
The car has received some most desirable and OE sympathetic upgrades that pitch close to an Ultimate MK2 specification. Having covered just over 10k miles since restoration in 2000 the car is of an exceptional quality and ready to enjoy and admire for many years to come.
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