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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sunbeam Tiger Turns 50

1967 Sunbeam Tiger
Photo by Kate Tompkins
 Saw a reference in a recent issue of Sports Car Digest (a great read if you like vintage racing) that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Sunbeam Tiger. How could I not write up the car that’s probably responsible for my love of red convertibles? Blame that on Get Smart, which I used to watch as a kid. I loved Max and his cool car. I’ve kept my eyes open for a red one ever since, so I was quite excited to come across one at a local show for British cars a couple of summers back.

1967 Sunbeam Tiger
Photo by Kate Tompkins
The Tiger was built by British company the Rootes Group from 1964 to 1967, and only 7,083 were built, so it’s a bit of a rarity, especially in England (the majority went to the US). Most of those are Series I, with only 633 Series IIs produced. The Tiger’s basically a souped-up version of the Sunbeam Alpine, with a Ford V8 stuffed under the hood. Carroll Shelby had a hand in its design, which probably accounts for the fact that, according to Wikipedia, “for two years it was the American Hot Rod Association's national record holder over a quarter-mile drag strip.”

1967 Sunbeam Tiger
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Unfortunately for the Tiger, Chrysler bought the Rootes Group. Seems the Ford engine was the only one that could be squeezed into the space available, and Chrysler dropped the car from its line-up. Pity.


1967 Sunbeam Tiger
Photo by Kate Tompkins

[SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunbeam_Tiger]

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