West Coast Classics are proud to present an exceptionally rare barn-fresh (garage really!) unrestored find of a 1965 Rootes Sunbeam Tiger Mark I Convertible with the 260/164HP V8 engine and a car which we subsequently mechanically restored to daily driving condition and repainted in an original 'Tiger' factory striking 'Midnight Blue' color with a reupholstered Tan interior and it's original and rare factory hard top!
The car was recently certified by the 'Sunbeam Tiger Owners Association' with a 'Certificate of Authenticity' # 1279. This certifies that as well as falling into the correct B9470001-B9473762 chassis numbers for the original Mark I Tigers built between June 1964- August 1965; the car has furthermore met all the requisite standards and criteria necessary for validation of being an original 'Sunbeam Tiger' manufactured by the 'Rootes Group Ltd' and 'Jensen Motors Ltd'. This validation process includes, but is not limited to, a thorough visual examination of the specific elements, features and methodology used by the manufacturer to create the 'Tiger' including the fact that the ID tags are fixed with the original rivets.
This is one of the original and very early (# 668) Mark I Tigers built in the very first six months of production between June - November 1964 (built 9/23/64) with the remaining Mark I's built between January - August 1965 and 1 of only 3,762 of these first generation models built and an original Left Hand Drive export version.
The car was recently repainted in an original date correct factory 'Midnight Blue' color from it's original 'Forest Green' factory color. We have had the car recently mechanically restored with work not limited to but including the following:
Rebuilt Clutch Master Cylinder New Clutch Master Cylinder New Brake Master Cylinder Bypass Brake Booster System (Faulty Booster) New Rear Wheel Cylinders New Rear Brake Shoes New Semi-Metallic Front Pads
New Spark Plugs New Spark Plug Wires New Air Filter New Remote Oil Filter Gaskets New Water Pump New Edelbrock carburetor Clean Points Radiator Cleaned & Repaired Remote Coolant Tank cleaned & repaired Replacement Throttle Linkage New Fuel Filter & rubber fuel lines Rebuilt Starter New Collector Gaskets
New KYB Gas Shock Absorbers New Panhard Rod Bushes Wheel Bearings cleaned & repacked
Organize Stray Wiring Repair Wiring Harness damage Rewire Electric Fan to eliminate Repair Dash Panel Light
Replace all coolant hoses Repair and paint fan shroud New fan Belt
Install Interior Panels Obtain Spare Wheel & Tire Install Trunk Curtain Repair Battery Hold Down & added tray Install Jack Hold Down Brackets
This is a rare mostly all original and stock example of one of the original intriguing Anglo-American hybrids! The brainchild of 'Rootes Group's' West Coast sales manager Ian Garrad who asked Carroll Shelby to again drop a small block V8 Ford engine into a suitably modified British roadster; this time one of the 'Rootes Group's' own modified 'Sunbeam Alpine' roadsters. Ian Garrad, impatient to establish whether the conversion was feasible, commissioned racing driver and fabricator Ken Miles to build another prototype as quickly as he could. Miles was provided with a budget of $800, a Series II Alpine, a Ford V8 engine and a 2-speed automatic transmission, and in about a week he had a running V8 conversion, thus proving the concept.
All 'Rootes' products had to be approved by Lord 'Willy' Rootes, who was reportedly not happy when he learned of the work that had gone into the Tiger project without his knowledge. He agreed to have the Shelby prototype shipped from America in July 1963 for him and his team to assess. He insisted on driving the car himself, and was so impressed that shortly after returning from his test drive he contacted Henry Ford II directly to negotiate a deal for the supply of Ford V8 engines. 'Rootes' placed an initial order for 3000, the number of Tigers it expected to sell in the first year and the largest single order Ford had ever received for its engines from an automobile manufacturer to date. The result had been electrifying enough to have convinced even Lord 'Willy' Rootes himself that it should go into production with the Ford powerplant even though Rootes had already sold a large stake in his company to one of Ford's closest rivals, Chrysler. Meanwhile Shelby had hoped to be given the contract to produce the Tiger in America, but Rootes was uneasy about the closeness of his relationship with Ford, so it was decided to build the car in England. The Rootes factory at Ryton did not have the capacity to build the Tiger, so the company contracted the job to Jensen in West Bromwich. Any disappointment Shelby may have felt was tempered by an offer from Rootes to pay him an undisclosed royalty on every Tiger built.
The 'Tiger' as it was named received great press but they were never built in large enough numbers or for long enough to really make a mark probably due to their high cost at the time, not much less than a Corvette, and more likely because it wasn't obviously any different from it's 4 cylinder sibling and which was further exasperated by poor promotions and consequently poor sales and interest. Nevertheless, in subsequent years, the word began to spread from the actual owner's of these cars that the 'Tiger' was indeed a "wolf in sheep's clothing" and interest in these sadly no longer produced cars continued to build over the years.
The car remained mostly the same throughout it's short production, the Series I models had the lightweight 260 4.2L V8 Ford powerplant as had the later 'IA' generation as they are referred to by enthusiasts and the later Series II cars were upgraded to the 289 4.7L V8 small block. All versions were terrific performers and became widely respected in sports car circles. The original 260 V8 engine was infamously fitted extremely snugly into the engine bay of the beefed up Alpine's chassis and suspension, which boasted a very strong chassis featuring an X brace design welded to the body and carrying wishbone suspension at the front and a live rear axle on leaf springs, and the most notable change was a switch to rack and pinion steering and with no room left in the engine bay the battery was relocated and mounted in the trunk. After Chrysler eventually acquired the entire Roots Group in 1967, the conflict of interest in continuing to use their nearest competitor, Ford's, powerplant in one of their cars proved impossible to continue and without a substitute engine for the car, their own 273 small block V8 was too large to fit in the car, convinced Chrysler to order that production of the Tiger was to end when the Rootes' stock of Ford V8 engines was exhausted; Jensen assembled the last Tiger on 27 June 1967, making the 'Tiger' an almost instant collectible. Often dubbed "the poor mans Cobra", this moniker no longer bears much insult considering their respective values today, when owning a 'Tiger' can resemble the Cobra experience in just a fraction of the cost!
We recently purchased the car in mostly all original stock condition from the long time California owner's home garage in non-running condition and after obtaining the 'Certificate of Authenticity' from the 'Sunbeam Tiger's Owners Association' we commissioned a repaint in the striking date and factory correct 'Midnight Blue' color, due to the original paint's age and diminished quality, and also restored the interior with new carpets and upholstery and then after the car had been sitting for some years we completed any required mechanical work to ensure turn key ready driving for it's new owner. The car drives absolutely beautifully and all the floor boards and trunk area are completely original, solid and rust free. Please note that the car does not sport it's original soft top but it does have it's original hard top.
This is a rare opportunity to own a very rare (1 of only 3,762 original Mark I's built) and internationally desirable 1965 legendary Sunbeam Tiger Mark I with very few finer unmolested and unrestored examples available anywhere else and a great addition for any American or indeed British classic sports car collector or enthusiast to add to their collection or obviously any 'Tiger' enthusiast!