1966 Sunbeam Tiger - $89,900
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This Sunbeam Tiger, a 1966 MK IA serial number B382002064LRXFE, is documented with a Certificate of Authenticity (number 0498) from the Sunbeam Tiger Owners Association—it is, without question, a real Tiger.

If you’re a car guy, you surely know the Sunbeam Tiger. More than just another little English sports car with a big V8 stuffed into it, it was a genuinely civilized Anglo-American hybrid that was much more user-friendly than, say, the Shelby Cobra. It’s true that Carroll Shelby had a hand in the development of the Tiger prototype, and while he hoped to be awarded the contract to build the Tiger in California, they were ultimately built in England (with Ol’ Shel receiving an undisclosed licensing fee for each one built, of course) with help from Jensen Motors and Ford’s Industrial Division. 7067 Sunbeam Tigers were built over a four-year period, 1964-67, and numerous aftermarket suppliers popped up to supply upgrades for the surprisingly civilized little cars. Most notable among those was Los Angeles Tigers, or LAT, whose catalog was full of upgrades from custom wheels to 4-barrel carburetors to upgraded gearsets. The combination of civility, performance, and the ability to custom-tailor a Tiger to a customer’s exact desires made them highly desirable, both then and now. If you haven’t driven one, then perhaps you don’t understand (yet) but there’s a great deal of truth to the quote in a 1965 issue of British magazine “Motor Sport” saying, “No combination of an American V8 and a British chassis could be happier.”

This Sunbeam Tiger, a 1966 MK IA serial number B382002064LRXFE, is documented with a Certificate of Authenticity (number 0498) from the Sunbeam Tiger Owners Association—it is, without question, a real Tiger. It features a fantastic restoration done to a very high standard, beautifully capturing everything that is so fantastic about these cars. It is a lifetime California car, sold originally by Import Auto in Long Beach, California on November 2, 1966. In 2003 it was purchased in Grass Valley, California and brought to Ohio where it was stripped to a bare shell and treated to a cost-no-object restoration. Carnival Red is the car’s original color, and when it was refinished Porsche Guards Red rendered in PPG urethane was selected as a suitable replacement. This little car just glows! Fit and finish are surely far better than new considering the virtually hand-built nature of the Tiger, and there are detailed restoration photos showing the bare metal tub being expertly refinished. Two small spots in the floor pan were invisibly patched, but the remainder of the sheetmetal on the car is original, a testament to its California heritage. All the chrome and stainless trim was restored and reinstalled and NOS lenses were sourced so the car has a crisp, highly polished look befitting its stature.

You may also notice the small Chrysler emblem on the lower right front fender—that’s correct for 1966 when Chrysler purchased the Rootes Group. There were attempts to find a suitable Chrysler powerplant to replace the Ford small block V8, but ultimately only the Ford would fit, creating the somewhat amusing situation where Chrysler was buying Ford engines for a British car.

The interior was also fully restored using correct black pebble-grain vinyl on the seats and pleated door panels, as original. New carpets are fitted and all-new weather seals were installed throughout. The lovely wood-rimmed steering wheel and burled walnut instrument panel are your first indicators that this isn’t some racer for the street, but a grand touring machine designed for speed with comfort. A full array of period Stewart-Warner gauges are fitted, including a rev counter and oil temperature gauge, as original. Toggle switches for the lights and wipers, sliders for the heat and ventilation system, and a correct glove box insert (yes, the staples are supposed to be visible) all add to the highly correct period vibe. There is no radio and after you hear it run, I doubt you’ll want one. The 4-speed shifter should feel familiar to Ford fans and the pedals are arranged in such a way that it’s easy for even tall drivers to get comfortable. The Tiger is strictly a 2-seater, but there is a neatly upholstered package shelf behind the seats and a small console between them. The neatly finished trunk is rather useful and features a full-sized spare and battery under the floor. This car also includes full weather gear including a folding convertible top and full tonneau cover.

The Ford V8 was far from a bolt-in proposition, requiring significant structural improvements and a new transmission tunnel, but one drive will convince you that it was worth it. The MK 1A cars all came with 260 cubic inch V8s and 2-barrel carburetors, but this Tiger now runs a 289 cubic inch unit and a 4-barrel carburetor setup like the LAT 1 Super Induction Kit. The engine was professionally rebuilt with an .030 overbore. The crank and rods were resized and reconditioned, and everything else is new including bearings, valvetrain, pistons, rings, gaskets, and more. It was detailed with correct Ford Blue paint and period LAT cast aluminum valve covers and a correct oval air cleaner tucked in tight by the firewall. There’s a massive aluminum radiator up front that all but eliminates the Tiger’s notorious hot-headed nature and all the wiring is brand new. It’s fed by a fresh SU fuel pump mounted on the chassis and all the lines and hoses were replaced. It starts easily with three gentle pumps on the accelerator and the bark of a V8 is a surprising sound for bystanders expecting a 4-cylinder blat. It’s a lot of fun and most folks aren’t quite sure what to make of the muscular-sounding little red sports car.

The close-ratio Ford Toploader 4-speed manual transmission shifts beautifully and remains legendary in its durability, and we suspect that the hardware is virtually indestructible in the lightweight Tiger. Out back, the original Dana 44 rear axle carries original 2.88 gears, making the Tiger a fantastic high-speed cruiser. You’ll note that the entire underbody was finished in brilliant bright red, which provides a great backdrop for the black suspension and shiny stainless steel exhaust system. Brakes and suspension are stock with rebuilt calipers, new discs, new wheel cylinders, new lines, plus fresh pads and shoes. The original master cylinder was also rebuilt and modified to eliminate the troublesome power booster (the restored booster is included with the car if you’d like to reinstall it, but I doubt you’ll even notice it’s gone). Rack-and-pinion steering was a requirement in the Tiger to allow the engine to sit low in the chassis, providing surprisingly sharp handling that feels quite modern today. Expensive Koni adjustable shocks live at all four corners, a big part of this car’s amazing ride—seriously, this sports car absorbs bumps like a Cadillac! Polished LAT wheels are a fantastic addition and have been fitted with appropriately sized 185/70/13 blackwall radials that ride and handle great.

Documentation includes original ownership paperwork, the TAC authentication documents (note that this car also carries a certification inspection sticker), restoration photos, and more.

This car is also available with some desirable extras, including an unrestored hardtop, a set of 15-inch Minilite wheels with new Bridgestone radials, and a “Book of Norman” in unmarked condition. Please call for details on any of these additional items.

It’s a mistake to think of these as discount Cobras—the Tiger is vastly more sophisticated and polished. It’s a car that you can use every day and drive cross-country without complaints, and its diminutive proportions mask a car that’s spacious for today’s drivers. Sure, the weather equipment is typical British sports car, but if you’re worried about rain when you’re driving a bright red Tiger, you’re doing it wrong. This car is an absolute joy to drive: fast, competent, and comfortable, and the ownership experience is unlike anything else. Overlooked for decades, the Tiger is finally getting the respect and admiration it deserves, and this spectacular example delivers the brilliant driving experience that you’d expect. Call today!

Vehicle: 1966 Sunbeam Tiger
Price: $89,900
Stock Number: 116044
Mileage: 3444 (since restoration)
VIN: B382002064LRXFE
Engine: 289 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 2.88
Wheelbase: 86 inches
Wheels: 13-inch LA Tiger wheels
Tires: 185/70/13 blackwall radial
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Black pebble finish vinyl
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