Lot Number

1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk IA

Sold For $137,500

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - AMELIA ISLAND 14 MARCH 2015

Chassis No.
Engine No.
Gearbox No.
Body No.
B382002093 LRXFE
HEHE 016034
JAL 662081
  • Iconic Mark IA Tiger; recent restoration by Classic Showcase
  • Includes Rootes Archive Centre Trust Certificate
  • British sports car with American V-8 power

164 bhp, 260 cu.in. OHV Ford V-8 engine, four-speed manual transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and front disc and rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 86 in.

Sunbeam’s new Alpine, which was introduced late in 1959, put the company squarely back in the two-seater sports car segment. Its unibody design with modest, stylish tailfins made it up-to-the-minute and more modern-looking than anything from MG or Triumph. However, what it didn’t have was power.

Rootes Competition Manager Norman Garrad was aware of the Ford V-8 engines that Carroll Shelby had fitted to AC sports cars to create the Cobra. Garrad’s son Ian, Rootes’ West Coast sales manager in the U.S, approached Shelby, who oversaw the creation of a prototype for the Tiger, which took the name of a 1925 Sunbeam land speed record car. The prototype was completed in the spring of 1963, and it was powered by the 260-cubic inch version of the small block Ford, as used in Falcons and Fairlanes. Inside was a tight fit and it required a change to rack-and-pinion steering; thus it came out just 20 percent heavier than a four-cylinder Alpine, and it had twice the power. Lord Rootes gave his okay, and 3,000 engines were ordered from Ford.

Between 1964 and 1967, production of Mark I Tigers reached 6,450, with about half of them unofficially designated Mark IA, based on the Series V Alpine. A Mark II version with the 289-cubic inch Ford engine was introduced in 1967, but only 633 were built before production was halted. The Chrysler Corporation had bought the Rootes Group, which made the Ford engine verboten, although Chrysler’s smallest V-8 sadly would not fit.

This Mk IA Tiger was manufactured on May 13, 1966, and built to North American specifications. When it was complete, it was sent to Rootes Motors Overseas Ltd. in London for export. The U.S. dealer and first owner are not recorded. It was recently restored by Classic Showcase in Oceanside, California, with all systems having been gone through and a full vehicle detail having been performed both inside and out, including on the undercarriage.

During the restoration, all-new suspension components were installed, the brightwork was redone where needed, the top bows were restored for the new fitted soft-top, and the instruments were gone through. New rubber was installed, as was a new stainless steel exhaust system. The car was wet-sanded and buffed after it received new paint, resulting in a brilliant finish. New carpets were fitted, and all-new upholstered panels were installed in the trunk. The varnished wood dashboard has full instrumentation, as well as a period-correct Motorola solid state AM radio. The car is fitted with Michelin radial tires that are on steel wheels and have correct hubcaps and beauty rings.

Included with the purchase of this Sunbeam are a Tiger tool roll, an owner’s manual, and a certificate from the Rootes Archive Centre Trust. This recently restored example is fabulous to show or drive.

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