1966 Sunbeam Tiger Puzzle

'66 Sunbeam

How are you puzzle assembling skills? Well, if you are good at putting pieces back together again, you might enjoy this Sunbeam puzzle. The pieces of what once was a Tiger, plus an Alpine roller, are currently sitting in Bellingham, Massachusetts and are listed here on eBay with zero bids at the time of writing.

'66 Sunbeam remains

The story goes something like this: a 1966 Sunbeam Tiger was crashed, burned and what was left was saved. Today, all the bits and pieces are scorched and rusty. The seller claims they have the Tiger’s tags and can get a title for it, but it will cost the buyer. The good news is that the Tiger engine does turn over, but everything else is in very rough shape.

'66 Sunbeam engine

The Tiger engine did not have a VIN, but as per the seller, it is a date code correct 260. It looks like it will need just about everything to make it a working engine again.

'66 Sunbeam int.

Now we get to the interesting and questionable part of the story. The seller found a 1967 Sunbeam Alpine that is said to be rust free. The hood and trunk lid are missing. The front fender also has been damaged, but overall this is a solid roller. They don’t come right out and say it, but we all know what they were planning on doing. With both the VIN plate and the JAL tag, it wouldn’t be too difficult to turn this Alpine into a “Tiger”.

'66 Sunbeam rear right

The seller does have the remains of the body of the ’66 Tiger, so you might be able to actually puzzle it back together into a car again. Let’s be honest though, it would be much cheaper and easier to use this Alpine body as a donor. Originally this project was going to be done by the seller who owns a restoration shop, but now a new building was purchased so some cash needs to be “freed up”.  A phone number is provided so you may ask any questions that you may have concerning these Sunbeams. So how do you feel about the idea of turning this Alpine into a Tiger? We are fine with building clones, but turning a base model into a high dollar performance model definitely presents some ethical dilemmas. What do you think?

Motor-on,
Robert

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Comments

  1. Rodney

    That would be fool’s errand. A fake Tiger will never be worth the money and effort it took build and it would likely not be welcomed at a gathering of Tiger owners.

  2. hhaleblian

    If it’s an ethical dilemma than it’s just plain unethical and we all know that. Doesn’t mean one won’t or can’t do it as long as it’s presented as such.

  3. Mark E

    This would be a good question to put to someone who buys the firewall and VIN tag of a rare muscle car…

  4. RayT Member

    It has been a long time since I paid close attention to Tigers, but as I remember it, anyone who tried to transform a standard 4-cylinder Alpine into a Tiger would find the factory conversion was far more complex than lobbing the 260 at the engine bay….

    You could build a replica of one of the original prototypes (as originally cobbled together by the late Ken Miles). But that one exhibited some pretty awful handling characteristics.

    Ethically and realistically, that poor charred Tiger is history. The Alpine could be made into…an Alpine.

  5. Donnie

    not this again

  6. 71 MKIV

    I’m with Ray. The Tiger isn’t just an Alpine with 4 extra cylinders. Heavier sheet metal in the structure as well as other specialty bits.

    The poor tiger is toast, the Alpine, a worthy little car in its own right, could be a nice driver.

    71 MIKIV

  7. Grid Michal Member

    My brother did an awesome job turning an Alpine into a Tiger back in the 70s. The modified 302/351 engine had ungodly power, the suspension was modified to glue itself to the twistiest roads. The headers dumped into straight 3″ pipes (just clearing the ground under the trailing door edge) requiring ear plugs. It was a driver, and a fun driver. There was never any question of it being a citizen, more an illegal alien.. After that we built (for me) a 302 Totota Hilux. Almost at the same time our wives and kids decided we were juvenile delinquents, and we have since opted for cars with seats easier on our butts, and transmissions easier on our replaced knees.

  8. Sukey

    I have a camaro ss/rs cowl for sale …………

  9. z1rider

    I believe I would rather swap a v-8 into an MGB than tackle this.

  10. gunningbar

    I like the idea of restoring the Alpine.

  11. Dolphin Member

    Right, a Tiger isn’t just an Alpine with a Ford V8. There are all kinds of small differences from the factory that aren’t obvious, but that a Tiger expert can tell in seconds.

    And in many jurisdictions it’s illegal to switch tags between cars, so anyone who buys a car with a switched tag can probably get the deal reversed either by going to court or threatening to go to court.

    There is a book, I think the title is The Book of Norman (no kidding!) that has a registry of all the Tigers and their serial numbers. I think that registry is out of date now but I’m sure Tiger clubs could tell you whether the Tiger you are considering is real, or fake, or a duplicate, or burned to the ground 20 years ago.

    This is a deal and a seller I would have nothing to do with.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Re: “want to free up some cash” ….
      Theoretical Translation: I need some money, and figure that I can tempt some unethical dude into giving me some by putting a project Alpine and the sparse remains of a supposed Tiger out as a package deal. I can then wash my hands of the whole thing and keep my tidy reputation.

      Looking at the leftovers of what was once a car (I guess it was), the burn happened decades ago, and the metal bits spent the interim out in the elements. Swiss cheese has more substance! The tinworm has been busy. Very.

      • Dave 57210

        I just sort of assume that ANY “rare’ car like a Tiger has been messed with. If it has the “correct Tiger tags and VIN numbers”, I always assume they have been switched and a title “created” to match. Whenever a car is presented as being authentic, I automatically disbelieve the seller. The point is that I really do not care – if I want a car that looks like an Alpine and goes like a Cobra – who cares what the paperwork says? It’s the CAR I want to drive, not the papers! Is this a car I want to drive? If so, I’ll buy it! If the price is too high, then I’ll not get this one, but will just stuff a small V8 into whichever body comes my way first.

      • Alan (Michigan)

        Well Dave,

        I understand the “car that looks like an Alpine and goes like a Cobra” part for sure. The point, which has been made by many above, is that there are significant differences between an Alpine With a Tiger Tag, and a Tiger With a Tiger Tag. One of the biggest, and it makes sense, is the market value of the car.

        As long as the finished project is never represented as anything other than the AWaTT, I have no problem with such swap whatsoever. No, I won’t type the other acronym. :-D

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