Conceived by Ian Garrad, U.S. West Coast manager for Britain's Rootes Motors, Inc., the Sunbeam Tiger grabbed a small but significant share of the growing market for fast American V8-powered British sports cars during the 1960s. Dropping a powerful V8 engine into a small European sports car was no small task, but as Sidney Allard and Carroll Shelby had already proven, the concept was viable and represented the quickest path to race-winning performance. Rightly, Garrad believed Rootes' handsome Sunbeam Alpine was a strong candidate for conversion to V8 power as a sales booster, especially considering it had already won the Index of Thermal Efficiency at the 24-Hours of Le Mans in 1961, plus it enjoyed success in American SCCA road racing.

Once Garrad obtained approval from Lord Rootes' son Brian, a Ford 260ci V8-powered prototype was quickly built by engineer/racer Ken Miles, who joined Shelby American soon thereafter. Shelby also built a V8 Alpine conversion, with the car tested by Garrad and then shipped to England for evaluation in the summer of 1963. Company management, including Lord Rootes, enthusiastically approved the project (codenamed 'Thunderbolt') and selected Jensen to build it in West Bromwich, U.K. First available for U.S. sale in 1964, the new car was appropriately named 'Tiger' in honor of Rootes' own 1925/26 V12 Land Speed Record car. The next year, the Tiger was made available for U.K. home market sales in right-hand drive form. A strong performer, the Tiger nearly won the SCCA B/Production National Championship in 1966 and it was a fierce drag racer, taking the 1965 AHRA National Championship in its class. Only some 7,000 Tigers were built through 1968 along two distinct series, the Mk I with an estimated 6,500 units (Mk I and Mk IA) produced, and the updated, 289ci-powered Mk II numbering an estimated 532 or so examples. Only Chrysler's 1967 takeover of Rootes Group forced the demise of the attractive and potent Ford V8-powered sports car.

Having been first seen by the second owner in 2015 and purchased by him from the first owner's estate, this spectacularly original, two-owner 1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk II is offered with just 44k miles, which is believed to be original. A San Francisco Bay-area car from new, this California “Black Plate” Tiger Mk II was sold new at San Jose British Motors on San Carlos Street and driven quite sparingly until the mid-1970s, when it was placed into long term storage until 2015. Annual registrations were updated until the mid-1980s, with stickers carefully removed by the second owner and kept with the vehicle's documents on file, revealing the original '67-'68 tags. A thrilling find as quite likely one of the highest-quality original Tigers remaining in existence, it has been mechanically recommissioned after acquisition with the expert advice of a preeminent member of the Sunbeam Tiger Owners' Association (STOA), with all work carefully documented. Among the work performed, the fuel tanks and fuel lines, brake lines, and cooling system were thoroughly flushed and cleaned out, and all hoses and belts replaced.

The Tiger's svelte exterior appears to retain all original paint, including the hand painted headlamp rings. In addition to the original Lucas headlamps, most of the car's other light bulbs also appear original. Chrome brightwork looks original, as are the rare original windshield wiper blades, original black painted auxiliary hardtop, and mostly original weather stripping. Fabulous earmarks of originality include the imprints left by the spare keys on the cowl under the JAL body tag, placed there by factory workers in preparation for the Tiger's shipment and delivery when new.

The interior compartment is consistent with the rest of the Tiger, appearing unmodified and very well-preserved, including the seat covers, seat belts, faded but lightly worn carpets, dash, and shifter boot. Weather gear includes the original convertible top, tonneau cover, and black hardtop retaining the original headliner.

The Tiger is powered by its matching numbers original 289ci Ford V8 engine and features all correct parts and components, including an original air cleaner and element, washer bottle, Mk II-specific oil cooler, remote oil filter mount, and oil cooler filter hoses. The alternator and wiring harness are also original to the car. The entire driveline is original, as well, from the matching numbers 4-speed transmission, to the clutch, clutch hydraulic reservoir, driveshaft, and differential. The brakes are rebuilt, including stainless caliper pistons and the brake reservoir is original. The suspension is original to the Tiger, including the steering rack, tie rods, ball joints, and A-arm pivots. Numerous desirable period 'LAT' (Los Angeles Tiger) upgrades include the wheels, traction bars, 4-barrel intake manifold and carburetor, larger aluminum radiator and cooling fan.

Consistent with the rest of the Tiger, the trunk compartment is properly equipped and presented. In addition to the original fiberboard panel tire and battery cover, the trunk contains the factory roadside jack and lug wrench, the original spare wheel/tire secured by replacement retaining belts (the originals accompany the sale), original battery retaining hardware and tray, and a complete toolkit residing inside the original vinyl pouch. Spare parts and components included with the sale of this Tiger include the mint original steering wheel, 2-barrel carburetor, 2-barrel intake manifold with original date tag, original hoses, rebuilt original brake booster, and original owner's manual, along with many miscellaneous items.

To consider this beautifully preserved, maintained, and presented 44k-mile 1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk II a “survivor” is a definite understatement. Impeccably unmodified, it stands as a benchmark example of originality that is sure to electrify marque enthusiasts everywhere. As offered, it should provide a unique opportunity to take a virtual trip back in time to experience the magic that was the San Francisco Bay Area's burgeoning sports car scene of the late 1960s. $195,000

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Exterior Color

Carnival Red

Ineterior Color


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