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Grrrrrr! Mostly Original Sunbeam Tiger


It’s rare to find a survivor Sunbeam Tiger; so many have been modified both nicely and not-so-nicely if you want an original one they are hard to find. But that’s what we have here! Located in Arlington, Texas after beginning in North Carolina, this nice and straight Tiger can be yours if you are the winning bidder in this eBay auction. The reserve hasn’t been met yet, but there’s a buy it now figure of $55,000 if you don’t want to take any chances!


Despite the hardtop you see here, this is yet another potential cure for my convertiblitis, although at that pricing it’s out of my reach. The Sunbeam appears both straight and solid, and as the ad says, with “little rust if any.” There are a few minor blemishes in the paint, which the ad leads one to believe is original (more about that later). No wonder a lot of Tigers end up without their original wheels; that 260 cubic inch Ford V8 is passing a lot of torque through those skinny 13″ tires! And I can’t believe both the hubcaps and beauty rings are all intact!


Here it is with the top down. I had a hard time believing that this is the original paint considering the reflection in this picture, and I’ve decided it isn’t after looking at some over spray on the wiring harness inside the trunk. Nevertheless, it sure is pretty!


The original interior isn’t perfect, but is certainly presentable and I hope will be left intact. I suppose it’s possible to have a good upholstery person try to repair the split seams.


The dash finish is cracked and peeling, but again, presentable in an original-ish car. It certainly could be refinished rather than replaced, though. And I’ve hardly ever seen Tigers in person with the original steering wheel in place!


This is the original 260 V8 attached to the original four speed transmission in the original shell with uncut wheel wells. No wonder this one isn’t inexpensive. If you want a Tiger, would you go with this stock one, or one that has been modified for greater performance?



  1. Pfk1106

    Stock, its only original once. Right 99?

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  2. Howard A Member

    The Tiger was one of those cars that when you were a kid, you’d say,”when I grow, I’m gonna get me a Tiger, a XKE and a Corvette”. I have a hard time believing this car has an actual 39K miles. The dash and engine are just too rough. Obviously, not 139, but worn pedals, cracked flaking dash, non-original spare, I think it was an older restoration. I had heard, they weren’t the best cars either. Hot, front heavy, hard to control, any more power, I feel, would be a waste. Does anybody know what that unit is behind the dynamo? Whatever it is looks disconnected, and has a shielded tube going to the carb. Cool cars, but not 50g’s (or more) cool.

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    • Moxman

      The unit behind the generator (dynamo) appears to be the power brake booster. It appears as though the vacuum supply to the intake manifold has been capped off. Most likely the result of a failed diaphragm in the booster. You can also see a steel line at the back of the firewall, that appears to be coming from the master brake cylinder. Remote brake boosters were common on older cars.

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  3. joe

    I bought a white convertible ’65 off a New Orleans used car lot around 1968 for about $1,300, They also had a baby blue one with a wavy (bondo) side for $1,500 but I couldn’t afford that one. Black interior and black top. Dead stock, but I added some Konis. They transformed the ride & handling. I drove it about 2 yrs. and it was just a rip. Easy to get it sideways out of slower corners and very predictable handling. About the only problem I had with it was – unknown to me, lube running out of the rack & pinion. One day when I turned right, the tires only went so far to the right and no further, and I felt a “clicking”. Some teeth in either the rack or the pinion were so dry that they had worn down. I had no money so just drove it like that because when it got to the point of clicking, I knew I couldn’t turn right any further. :-) I had to adopt road racer “lines”, going into right turns – if no one was oncoming in the left lane. On those 90 degree right turns, I would sometimes have to back up once to make the turn. A repair shop eventually shimmed it to where the teeth would mesh ok. Didn’t keep me from driving it up around 120+ on highways — especially coming back home from band one-nighters to the Miss. gulf coast area from up-country at 2 AM. Back then, you would be alone on those roads and could set up some quite high averages. Just me and the little Ford V8 singing it’s song. VERY few cops out in the country back then. Ahhhhh…..very fond memories. It was a sauna inside it in the summer, and I’ve seen water inside it, near to the top of the door sills in a heavy rain. Top leaked like a sieve. Finally sold it to “Duck” Waddle – an SCCA racer, for $1,175. I sure would like to find him. Have heard he was an SCCA tech. guy but he may be gone by now. My Triumph TR8 is less than half the car that Tiger was for sheer street jollies. I’d love to have another one, and not really for the value of it now. Just the big grins………

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    • Racer417

      Last I knew, Duck was still around. He may be a member of SCCA Chicago or Milwaukee region.

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    • Racer417

      Maybe a VSCDA instructor out of Hutchinson KS.

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    • Bud

      Ran into Duck and his wife at the last SCCA runoffs at Road America he was an instructor at Road America for years and I think he’s still doing it—Great people

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  4. Dolphin Member

    I also think it has been refreshed, with some paintwork likely. Another claim of a barn find that doesn’t add value. I wonder how long and how many times it’s been for sale before now.

    The title that’s shown in the Ebay listing just calls it a “Rootes roadster”, which isn’t much help. Better to show the VIN plate, and then show that that VIN is listed in the big Tiger book. Then show all the little differences that make a Tiger a Tiger and not an Alpine, or else travel to look it over and check those things out.

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  5. Slim Chance

    Handling is less than stellar. It kind of stinks, actually.

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  6. Dave Wright

    I worked on a 289 Tiger in the old days I was racing the iMSA sports car circuit. Handeling was interesting, you could change from under steer to over steer by a liberal application of power. It took nerve but worked well. Working on it was another thing, to tune it up, you would put it on the hoist, take the front tires off and loosen the rear engine mount. A couple of plugs came out under the fender wells, some came out from the top, you had to lift the rear of the engine to get to some more…….crazy stuff but it eas a gas to drive.

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  7. stillrunners

    yes yes….started buying stock one’s in hope of finding or being able to buy a rusty or wrecked Tiger I could afford….guess I just waited to late….still can’t afford one…

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  8. Spridget

    Beware- here’s the story of the same car the last time it surfaced. Read the comments:


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  9. Dolphin Member

    I knew it looked familiar! Owned by Tom Cotter for a decade, and he says the seller’s story isn’t true. Featured here on BF over 2 years ago.

    Sold at a major auction. Now being flipped. Something maybe about the VIN plate lost. Don’t trust this seller.

    I’ll bet everyone active in the Tiger clubs know this car and won’t touch it.

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  10. Alan Brase

    Tuneup? I worked at a shop when I was 16. They fixed all manner of imports, the good mechanic got the Jags and a Maserati, I got the VW mufflers, Saab new engines
    (that’s a hoot of a job). They told me to put new plugs in a Tiger. WT**? How ya supposed to get to them? I think the rear 2 come out the footwells?
    BTW American cars of the 50’s had in-line brake boosters, too. Bendix Treadlevac, I think. Just spliced into the line after the master cylinder, with a vacuum source, bingo, power brakes. Cadillacs used them. Repairs can be found for them.
    These cars created a funny situation for Chrysler, the parent company. It put Chrysler in the position of having to warranty a Ford engine!
    $55K? oh hell no. I’d buy a rusty Porsche first.

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  11. tiger1966

    Nah, you don’t have to lift the engine or go through the wheel well to change the spark plugs. All but one are reachable from up top. The right rear plug is reached through a factory access hole in the firewall. What you do need is a 3/8-drive spark plug wrench with a flex head and a curved handle. Champion made one (Plugmaster II, findable used) that works perfectly. Not a big deal with the right wrench. Compared to modern FWD cars, the Tiger is not impossibly tight in the engine bay, though some jobs (clutch replacement) are generally ‘engine out.’

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    • Alan Brase

      By the factory firewall hole, you mean into the passenger compartment, by the passenger’s knees, right? That’s what I remembered. I think the good mechanic finished the job. A little foggy here, it was 50 years ago this summer.
      Oh yeah, Champion wrench, I have one and other brand, same shape. Pretty basic tool for plug changers.

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  12. tiger1966

    Yes, inside the passenger compartment on the driver’s side, actually. You remove a rubber plug and the spark plug is right there. I’ve owned one of these for 39 years.

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