Sunbeam Tiger - the unknown Shelby Car
This page will feature my newest car. A quick background on what a Sunbeam Tiger is and how it came into being. The following is information I copied from the Tigers United webpage (www.tigersunited.com).
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.
Which Tiger to buy? The first 3,763 are known as Mark I cars, and had VIN numbers starting with B947XXXX. Mark I's feature 260 V8 engines, Ford top loader transmissions, round corners on the doors, hood and trunk, metal convertible top covers and lead filled body seams. Prices currently run in the neighborhood of $10,000.00 to $30,000.00, depending on options and condition. The 2,706 Mark IA cars had 260's also, and VIN numbers starting with B382XXXXXX. They came with square cornered doors, soft vinyl convertible top boots, fresh air ventilation and unfilled body seams. They cost around $5,000.00 more than a comparable Mark I. The last cars are known as Mark II Tigers, which number only 536 of the total 7,085 Tigers built. Their VIN numbers start with B382100XXX. Mark II cars came stock with 289 c.i. V8s, all the revisions of the Mark IAs, plus a new eggcrate grill. The chrome side trim and Tiger emblem were removed, replaced by stainless steel fenderwell molding. Mark II Tigers cost another $5,000.00 beyond Mark IA prices, but may go for even more, as they were the most refined, featured the 289, and were built in the smallest numbers. Mark IA cars are seen as the favorite of many because of greater availability, and more refinement over the first series. Mark I cars were the most affordable, and the most available. Many people prefer the look of the hard metal convertible top cover and the appearance of the leaded body seams. These prices are expected to rise, considering how collectible Tigers are becoming in the marketplace.
When purchasing a Tiger, watch out for conversions. The vast number of cheap, available Alpines in the '70s caused dishonest people to convert Alpines into Tigers. These fakes are sometimes easy to spot, sometimes not. There now exists The International Registry of Sunbeam Tigers," originally founded by George Fallehy, and now operated by Norm Miller. This registry includes information on each Tiger by VIN #, and current ownership status (if available). The Sunbeam Tiger Owners Association (STOA) is now inspecting Tigers through their Tiger Authentication Committee (TAC). This process involves carefully examining the body shell for tell-tale Tiger only assembly techniques. Once a car is verified as a Tiger, a non-removable permanent registration sticker is affixed to the car's body shell in an unobtrusive spot.
Big update coming. Some more current pictures -