What do you do if your strapped for mega bucks but want a vintage Cobra Roadster? You can pull a Bonnie and Clyde and rob the local bank..or you can look across the Big Pond to Merry Ole England.
Back in 1963 Rootes Group of America sales manager Ian Garrad wanted to change the image of the Sunbeam Alpine from a grand tourer to a true road burning sports car.
With only a $10,000 budget he contacted future legend Carroll Shelby to build a V8 powered Alpine. With aid of Shelby employees Richard Hovis and George Boskoff the team stuffed a 260 Ford V8 with a two speed auto trans into the Alpine.
The result was good enough that the pre-production mule was sent to England for evaluation. Being built for a mere $600.00. Wanting to be sure the Ford V8 would work a series 2 Alpine was handed over to talented racer and fabricator Ken Miles for final evaluation. That prototype would be kept by the Rootes Group for many years till it was sold to a private buyer
After final testing production was handed off to Jensen. Compared to other British cars of the era the Sunbeam Tiger was a quality built vehicle. That was the good news and the bad news. Jensen was a stickler for details but could only produce 7085 cars in the Tigers short production run.
The other problem was when Chrysler purchased the Rootes Group in 1967 the did not want a Ford engine in the car. The Chrysler V8 had a rear mounted distributor and require extensive mods to make fit. Dubbed to costly Chrysler dropped the Tiger in late 1967.
Driving A Sunbeam Tiger is a very Cobra like thrill. Sports car handling with a rumbling Ford V8 under the hood. Many owners upgraded to the 289 V8 making the light weight Tiger a Corvette killer. The only downside was the Tiger still used the Alpines small drum brakes. Finding a Sunbeam Tiger is easy. Finding one that is not rusted out or that has been poorly hot rodded is much tougher.
Our feature 1966 Sunbeam Tiger has the upgraded 289 V8, Wilwood disc brakes, electronic ignition, larger Griffin radiator, correct headers, dual Monza exhaust plus other proper upgrades. It has an older restoration from a rust free west coast car.
Only recently collectors have figured out these are amazing cars. Prices have not yet hit “Cobra-Land” but are on the rise. If you are looking for blistering performance for about the price of a new Hybrid you can't go wrong with a Sunbeam Tiger. WHAT'S IT WORTH??