1967 Sunbeam Tiger 2017-06-08T10:28:38+00:00

Project Description

OVERVIEW

Admittedly, the original Shelby Cobra is one hell of a car. Packing a powerful V8 engine in a light nimble classic it’s something every auto enthusiast would love to drive, but with prices eclipsing $1,000,000 your odds are slim to none. You can, however “get smart” and spend some quality time in the “other” Cobra. You see the folks at the Rootes Group, famous for creating cars you’ve never heard of like the Hillman Imp, were inspired when they Shelby Cobra hit the market. So much, in fact, that they shoehorned Ford’s venerable small block V8 into their Alpine model, spawning the Sunbeam Tiger.

If you think you’ve never seen a Sunbeam Tiger, you’re probably wrong. It was the go to vehicle for Maxwell Smart in Get Smart and a character in at least one James Bond film.   There’s a reason why these guys, or at least the scriptwriters, had the Tiger in mind. It is charismatic, robust and simply a joy to drive.   It has the power to get you out of almost any situation in timeless open-air style — and of course it’s British.

Even by modern standards, the Sunbeam Tiger holds up as a reasonably fast sports car. The small V8 loves to rev and provides plenty of torque, propelling the car from 0-60 in about 8 seconds. This isn’t blazing fast by modern standards, but the level of driver engagement makes it seem much quicker. All told, the driving experience is rewarding to say the least. The 4-speed manual transmission takes firm, deliberate shifts. The clutch pedal gives your left leg quite the workout as does the unassisted steering and brakes. This isn’t a car you want to be stuck in traffic in. Instead, the Tiger begs you to aim it down the twistiest road you can find and stomp on the go pedal.

The thin gauge wood-rimmed wheel is quintessentially British, and large enough to make low-speed maneuvers with the manual steering rack somewhat bearable. As the speeds increase, the wheel comes alive in your hands and despite some slack in the suspension, the small amount of body roll just serves to better explain the weight transfer going on underneath you. The harder you press the Tiger, the more natural it feels.

It’s a sensation you won’t soon forget. The wind in your hair, the small V8’s engine note blaring out of the exhaust pipes behind you. It’s a car that loves to be thrown around a little bit but must be treated with respect. The Tiger is a playful cat but one that will bite you if you don’t respect it. If you want to take your special someone out for a weekend trip, there’s even plenty of room for luggage in both the trunk as the shelf behind the seats.

OVERVIEW

Admittedly, the original Shelby Cobra is one hell of a car. Packing a powerful V8 engine in a light nimble classic it’s something every auto enthusiast would love to drive, but with prices eclipsing $1,000,000 your odds are slim to none. You can, however “get smart” and spend some quality time in the “other” Cobra. You see the folks at the Rootes Group, famous for creating cars you’ve never heard of like the Hillman Imp, were inspired when they Shelby Cobra hit the market. So much, in fact, that they shoehorned Ford’s venerable small block V8 into their Alpine model, spawning the Sunbeam Tiger.

If you think you’ve never seen a Sunbeam Tiger, you’re probably wrong. It was the go to vehicle for Maxwell Smart in Get Smart and a character in at least one James Bond film.   There’s a reason why these guys, or at least the scriptwriters, had the Tiger in mind. It is charismatic, robust and simply a joy to drive.   It has the power to get you out of almost any situation in timeless open-air style — and of course it’s British.

Even by modern standards, the Sunbeam Tiger holds up as a reasonably fast sports car. The small V8 loves to rev and provides plenty of torque, propelling the car from 0-60 in about 8 seconds. This isn’t blazing fast by modern standards, but the level of driver engagement makes it seem much quicker. All told, the driving experience is rewarding to say the least. The 4-speed manual transmission takes firm, deliberate shifts. The clutch pedal gives your left leg quite the workout as does the unassisted steering and brakes. This isn’t a car you want to be stuck in traffic in. Instead, the Tiger begs you to aim it down the twistiest road you can find and stomp on the go pedal.

The thin gauge wood-rimmed wheel is quintessentially British, and large enough to make low-speed maneuvers with the manual steering rack somewhat bearable. As the speeds increase, the wheel comes alive in your hands and despite some slack in the suspension, the small amount of body roll just serves to better explain the weight transfer going on underneath you. The harder you press the Tiger, the more natural it feels.

It’s a sensation you won’t soon forget. The wind in your hair, the small V8’s engine note blaring out of the exhaust pipes behind you. It’s a car that loves to be thrown around a little bit but must be treated with respect. The Tiger is a playful cat but one that will bite you if you don’t respect it. If you want to take your special someone out for a weekend trip, there’s even plenty of room for luggage in both the trunk as the shelf behind the seats.

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THIS VEHICLE IS

MEMBER EXCLUSIVE

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A LOOK IN THE REAR VIEW

The Sunbeam Tiger is often considered, the “other Cobra.” Following the success of the Shelby Cobra the Rootes Group became dead set on shoehorning a small-block Ford V8 into their Sunbeam Alpine. Much like the Cobra, Sunbeam enlisted the help of Carroll Shelby to build the Tiger. Unlike the Cobra, the Sunbeam used a relatively low output 260 cubic inch Ford small block V8 set within a chassis built for 90 horsepower at best. However, weighing in at just 2,653 pounds the Tiger offered a healthy power to weight ratio and the perfect platform to spin the tires, if that’s your thing.

Between 1964 and 1967 7,028 Sunbeam Tigers were built and were priced from $3,499 in America. The car got some free notoriety in the 1965 American spy spoof series, Get Smart, as Maxwell Smart’s go to ride. While the Tiger eventually saw it’s demise, it lives on today as one of the quintessential small car, big engine combinations in automotive history. It was and still is a hoot to drive.

A LOOK IN THE REAR VIEW

The Sunbeam Tiger is often considered, the “other Cobra.” Following the success of the Shelby Cobra the Rootes Group became dead set on shoehorning a small-block Ford V8 into their Sunbeam Alpine. Much like the Cobra, Sunbeam enlisted the help of Carroll Shelby to build the Tiger. Unlike the Cobra, the Sunbeam used a relatively low output 260 cubic inch Ford small block V8 set within a chassis built for 90 horsepower at best. However, weighing in at just 2,653 pounds the Tiger offered a healthy power to weight ratio and the perfect platform to spin the tires, if that’s your thing.

Between 1964 and 1967 7,028 Sunbeam Tigers were built and were priced from $3,499 in America. The car got some free notoriety in the 1965 American spy spoof series, Get Smart, as Maxwell Smart’s go to ride. While the Tiger eventually saw it’s demise, it lives on today as one of the quintessential small car, big engine combinations in automotive history. It was and still is a hoot to drive.

WORD ON THE STREET

“Perhaps it’s partly due to Carroll Shelby’s death, but these cars are also incredibly useable, stylish and powerful. It also doesn’t hurt the equation that only about 3,000 to 3,300 of the Anglo-British machines are likely to still exist.”

Unknown, Petrolicious

“Once introduced, the Sunbeam Tiger quickly acquired a reputation as a baby Cobra on the street. It also had a reputation as a baby Cobra on the road-racing track, although not entirely in a good way. (You can ask pro racer John Morton about the Tiger and its Miata-size wheelbase, as he now competes in vintage racing with the very same “white car” that he helped build as a young mechanic’s helper at Shelby American in 1963.)”

Michael Jordan, Automobile Magazine

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