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Ready To Enjoy! 1966 Sunbeam Alpine Series V

What do you do when you want a Shelby Cobra but can’t afford one? You buy a Sunbeam Tiger! But what do you do when you want a Tiger and can’t afford it? You buy the car it was based on, the Alpine. Unfortunately, it seems everyone has had that idea already and most of the good Alpines have already been snatched up and made into Tiger replicas. It’s actually a real shame, as the Alpine is a great sports car. Thankfully, the example seen here has managed to avoid the all-to-common V8 swap and still retains its original 4-cylinder. Even the $15,000 asking price doesn’t seem too bad considering it’s said to run great and looks to be in good shape. If you are interested in making it yours, you can find it here on craigslist in Payson, Utah. Our thanks to T.J. for this tip!

While the Tiger is based on the Alpine, a lot of things had to be changed to make a V8 work in this chassis. Carroll Shelby was actually involved in the job of fitting the Ford 260 and later the 289 into the Sunbeam. It wasn’t as simple of a job as just dropping a V8 under the hood and many of the required parts were one-off pieces. So, while you could drop a V8 into this car, it still wouldn’t be a Tiger, which is actually a good thing in my book! The Alpine was designed initially to use a 1.5 liter, but by the time this Series V was built, the engine had been enlarged to 1.7 liters and was generating about 100 horsepower. The smaller engine was not only lighter than the V8 in the Tiger but also didn’t struggle with overheating issues. Setup correctly, the Alpine can be a very fun car to drive and saw a fair amount of success as a race car.

The seller of this one claims that it’s highly original, but I have very strong doubts about that. For one, the paint doesn’t look correct, especially in the engine bay. There are also the metal hose covers in the engine bay that need to go, but that’s a minor modification. The exterior looks to be in solid shape and I’m guessing the car was repainted not that long ago. It looks like it shines nicely though, so I would just clean up any overspray and leave the rest as is. Thankfully, the interior looks to be in good shape and quite original. The carpet is the only area I see that needs attention, but it looks usable as is.

The Alpine is a great car that’s long been overlooked, that was unless you were looking for one to build a Tiger tribute. If you are just looking for a fun-to-drive British sports car that you can take on long-distance trips, the Alpine really is a wonderful option. With the additional horsepower of the 1.7 liter these later cars are especially good touring machines, as they can cruise comfortably at highway speeds, offer ample legroom, and are fairly fuel-efficient (at least compared to a Tiger). So, if you’ve been hunting for an Alpine that hasn’t already been turned into a Tiger, this one might just be worth a closer inspection!

Comments

  1. Doug Edwards

    Why does everybody screw the door panels on when you can buy the clips. It looks cheap as hell. Chrome hoses also Not a bad looking car but the stuff to fix it is all available. A good deal for someone

    Like 7
  2. Bob C.

    Maxwell Smart’s car was actually an Alpine with Tiger badges, because there was no way they could fit the “secret agent gadgets” under the hood with a v8.

    Like 8
    • B cowley

      I don’t think so. One episode I remember Maxwell doing donuts on dry pavement.

  3. Todd J. Member

    25 points for the “Get Smart” reference!

    Like 8
  4. Slomoogee

    Nice car, I owned a series | with the large fins long ago in my misguided youth. They are not the canyon carvers the other popular British cars of the era when stock. They were meant for the roads less traveled such as state and county roads. As a plus to older gents with a more mature figure and life style which I regrettably have subscribed to, they are roomy in the cockpit and offer a good bit of space in the boot. I like it.

    Like 7
  5. frank j opalka

    watch out for rear axle steer

  6. Ron Jordan

    The most reliable of the British sports cars of the time. I had a 65 and drove it across country from San Francisco to Atlanta, Dec. of 67, and back 3 months later.

    Like 1

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