1965 Sunbeam Tiger
As seen on Season Two of FantomWorks
In 1964, while I was still a college student, I bought a 1962 Sunbeam Alpine. I had been working summer jobs for several years that brought me regularly to the Customs Warehouse in Miami where I saw the Sunbeam Alpines that had been imported into the U.S. I fell in love with the sleek lines of the Alpine and the sophisticated…at least for that time…interior of the Alpine. I immediately set out to own one as soon as I could.
I had the Alpine for about three years when the Tiger was first marketed in the U.S. I wanted one so bad, but there was no way that I could afford a new car….so it went on my wish list for nearly 50 years when the lines crossed and I found one at a car museum in St. Louis that I could afford.
I immediately had all of the suspension rebuilt including new Koni shocks. A year or so later I had a 302c.i. crate motor installed to replace the original and a T-5 Borg Warner transmission installed replacing the original 4 speed. The new engine and transmission makes the car imminently more drivable on the highway. The last project was replacing the non period dash and gauges with a new burled walnut dash with Smiths gauges.
When I saw FantomWorks on the Velocity Channel and realized that they were located near me I called and asked if they would take on the project. I drove it up and back on a nice weather day back in January and had Dan do an assessment. He gave me a tour and showed me the wood shop and their capability. In addition we determined that it would make sense to also take the seats and carpet up and install heat and sound installation under the carpet. I just drove the Tiger from my home in Corolla down to Hatteras in 90 degree temps with the top down and was very comfortable….the heat shielding has made a huge difference in the comfort in the cockpit. FantomWorks is an amazing assemblage of craftsmen headed up by a likable type A perfectionist in Dan Short….They rock!!
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Carroll Shelby. Winning driver of Le Mans, builder of Cobras, team leader of World Championship winning Shelby American. The legacy left by the wonder-crew at Shelby American is nothing short of miraculous.
Unfortunately, to obtain a true piece of this Shelby magic doesn’t come cheaply. Cobras are all priced beyond the affordability of most aficionados, and GT 350 and GT 500 Mustang prices are the equivalent or beyond, of most yearly salaries. Don’t despair, because Carroll has another goodie, made in the ’60s, of British birth with a blue oval V8 which is still affordable, and an absolute blast to drive.
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. Alpines were equipped with 1494cc four cylinder engines, 4 speed trannys with optional electric overdrive, disc/drum brakes and recirculating ball steering. Though perceived as a comfortable road car, with good brakes and adequate acceleration, Alpines were also raced with great success.
Read more about Tigers at: http://www.tigersunited.com/history/tdev4.asp