The notion of stuffing an American V-8 into a British chassis was pioneered by Carroll Shelby with the AC Ace, which begat the AC Cobra. What was good enough for AC, was good enough for Rootes Group‘s Sunbeam Alpine roadster. Thus a partnership was born between Shelby and Rootes to produce the Sunbeam Tiger, a hopped up roadster with a light chassis and big American V-8 power.
Produced from 1964-1967, the heart of the Tiger was the Ford-sourced V-8 that was fortunately only 3.5 inches longer than the Alpine’s 4-cylinder engine it replaced. It was this critical requirement that allowed Ford’s V-8 to fit into the cramped engine bay, providing the Tiger with ample power for tire-smoking burnouts and prodigious straight-line acceleration for its time.
The out-of-the-box 164 hp could easily be tuned up to 245 hp for only a modest $250, less than the cost of a night out on the town nowadays. The Tiger had favorable power-weight ratio based a total weight of 2,653 lbs. The added power necessitated upgrading the Alpine’s stock suspension and chassis in order to handle the extra oomph, but it was well worth the effort.
Although it was considered a “poor-man’s Cobra,” the Tiger was a veritable sports car in its own right and valuations on nice examples supports this, especially considering just a little over 7,000 were ever produced.
Here’s an opportunity to nab a numbers-matching, all-original Tiger, replete with certificate of authenticity for added collectibility. She is a looker and worthy of consideration if you are in the market for a high-performance roadster that not only looks great, but will continue to hold its value, if not appreciate over time. It can be yours on Craigslist for $45,000. Tiger tail, optional.
Engine: Ford 260 CID V-8 (164 hp)
Transmission: 4-speed manual
For sale: Beautiful matching numbers Sunbeam Tiger 260. This is the real deal (Tac’d) complete with Certificate of Authenticity from Sunbeam Tiger Owners Association! Very original! A matching numbers V8 Tiger is hard to come by. Accepting calls or texts only. Additional photos and video link available. Private sale.