When the Rootes Group decided their Sunbeam Alpine roadster was lacking performance, it was suggested they try using the Ford small block V8 in place of the inline 4 cylinder and to do so they enlisted the help of Carroll Shelby, who was stuffing small block Ford V8s into another British roadster at the time, the AC Ace. The Alpine had just enough room, with a little metal massage, to accept the 260 V8, the same engine used in the earliest Cobras. Thus was born, the Sunbeam Tiger.
It gained some fame when it was seen every week on TV in the mid 60s during the intro to the Get Smart TV series as agent Maxwell Smart screeched his Tiger to a stop in front of headquarters. It was produced from 1964 through 1967, that was when Chrysler bought out the Rootes Group and didn’t think a car using a Ford engine fit into their plans, but while it was in production, this was a sweet little car.
This particular 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mark I, is a low mileage barn find in very presentable condition. It has the original engine and transmission which, according to the seller, run and shift just fine and the car drives as it should. It also comes with both tops, the removable hardtop and the folding soft top. Considering its age, it looks quite presentable, but the simple fact it’s so original means it’s also a prime candidate for a coucours restoration if the new owner so desires.
Tigers don’t come up for sale very often and many times they’ve been restored, sometimes over restored, with mix and match parts and still command very high prices. Finding one like this in running condition and very drivable, though, with obviously appropriate patina, is an opportunity to get in right and perhaps have a show winner in the future.