1965 Sunbeam Tiger

Highlights

  • Purchased originally by husband and wife, sequential chassis 5 and 6.
  • The first of the two, 0005 was sold by C&C earlier this year
  • This car, 0006 is now UK registered and ready to be sold
  • Genuine Tiger with Ford Windsor V8 power - uprated to 302ci
  • Imported from a dry climate - very solid and original throughout
  • Last owned by the chairman of the Sunbeam Tiger Africa Register (STAR)
  • Has been serviced and checked over prior to sale

The Appeal

In many ways, the Sunbeam Tiger has a lot in common with the AC Cobra, not least the fact that it’s a dainty British sports car that has a beefy Ford V8 hiding under the hood. 

But the commonality is no coincidence, as the man behind the original Cobra, Carroll Shelby, was behind them both. 

The Sunbeam Tiger came about from a homologation requirement to allow Rootes Group to compete in V8 GT racing, using the striking Raymond Loewy-influenced finned body of the Sunbeam Alpine as a base. Indeed, the Tiger looked little different to the four-cylinder Alpine with which it shared its undeniably pretty bodywork, especially if you kept it on skinny tyres and factory wheel trims. 

Each Tiger was hand-built, made for Sunbeam by Jensen Motors, so each was unique. This one has spent its entire life in the care of two South African enthusiasts, where the dry climate has done wonders to preserve its steel body. 

It was one of two cars purchased by a well-known sports car enthusiast in Gauteng Province, who had one for himself and another for his wife. Amazingly, he was able to purchase two cars with sequential chassis numbers, 0005 and 0006, with this one being the latter, and has since been owned by the chairman of the Sunbeam Tiger Africa Register (STAR) for 42 years. 

Now repatriated to the UK, this lovely and unspoilt example of Britain's Cobra, is road registered and ready to be enjoyed.

The History and Paperwork

  • MOT, tax and ULEZ exempt
  • UK V5 Historic vehicle Registration document
  • Copy of previous South African RC1 registration document
  • Bought new in 1965 by an enthusiast as one of two Tigers, one for him and another for his wife
  • 6th of 73 cars exported to South Africa
  • Last owned by the chairman of the Sunbeam Tiger Africa Register (STAR)
  • History file presented in A4 lever arch file including old literature, workshop manual, concours entry forms and club paperwork
  • Recently serviced and prepared for sale at a cost of over £1,650

The Condition

  • Still finished as per the original brilliant white
  • Desirable Factory hardtop included
  • Very solid and original throughout
  • Full-width wheel trims
  • Some small marks to chrome trim but in generally good overall condition
  • Very solid underneath thanks to coming from a dry climate
  • Black leather seats
  • Original wood-rimmed steering wheel
  • New carpets and black over mats
  • Wood-trimmed dash with a numbery of spidery cracks to the veneer

With its delicate full-width wheel trims and skinny tyres, along with its chrome headlamp surrounds and subtle chrome side trims, the Sunbeam looks little different to a four-cylinder Alpine – the only hints that its something a bit beefier being “Powered by Ford 260” badges and twin stainless tailpipes. Yet this one is even beefier than that as you’ll see below…
 
Overall, the body is in lovely order – it’s smart and neatly presented and in very good overall condition, with no visible evidence of corrosion and good panel fit. It has been repainted to a high standard but is otherwise original in every respect and appears to be great underneath.
 
Inside, it has optional leather trim in generally good order, but the passenger seat looks like it may need some adjustment. Furthermore underneath the practical hard-top sits a soft-top on it's frame that can be pulled out an raised if required. The material cover however looks like it will require replacement. 

The carpets have been renewed and the cockpit area with it's dials and gauges look as they should, but the future owner may choose to refurbish the dash which exhibits a fair few cracks to the veneer.

The Mechanics

  • 4.9-litre Ford 302 V8 – upgraded from original 260
  • Starts and runs as it should
  • Four-speed manual transmission
  • Sounds fantastic
  • Impressive oil pressure

Beneath the delicate exterior beats the heart of a lion – or maybe a Cobra…

As you can see from the video included in the gallery, the uprated 302 engine sounds brilliant. The engine runs sweetly, holding an even idle and displaying good oil pressure. It shifts smoothly through all the gears and handles well with no unusual noises from the running gear. The brakes take a bit of getting used to – there’s no servo – but they stop the car evenly and it performs beautifully.
This sale is subject to the Car & Classic Terms and Conditions. By bidding and/or making an offer, you also agree to the following: 
The seller is registered as a private seller which means consumer rights stemming from EU consumer protection law do not come into effect. However, you are still covered by Car & Classic’s own Terms and Conditions.. 
We request that a non-refundable fee  be paid if you are the lucky winning bidder at auction or if your offer is accepted Please refer to our helpful FAQs and T&Cs for specific rates. 
This vehicle is “Sold As Seen”, on an “As Is Where Is’ basis and without warranty. Photos and descriptions are solely for guidance purposes and it's customary to carry out a full inspection of the vehicle prior to purchase for your own peace of mind. 
✓ VAT is included in the buyer's deposit. VAT may or may not be included in the final bid or offer price, as specified in the listing. 
We want a smooth transaction just as much as you do and as such we run all UK-registered cars and motorbikes for sale on Car & Classic through an online HPI check to verify that they show no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and have no finance owing, allowing you to bid with confidence. 
✓ We also check whether vehicles are recorded as being written off as part of an insurance total loss claim at the time an advert is placed on Car & Classic and we helpfully provide write-off category labels (Cat C/D/S/N) for your assistance. However, the presence or absence of a label does not guarantee the vehicle’s status and it is always worthwhile carrying out your own  full vehicle history check before making an offer on a vehicle. 
✓ Buyers are responsible for vehicle collection 
or delivery. Importing vehicles may result in additional customs duties and import taxes so it’s worth checking beforehand.. If requested, we may refer you to a third-party shipping company who can help. For more details and to speak to the team, email [email protected] 

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Auction Details
  • Year 1965
  • Make Sunbeam
  • Model Tiger
  • Colour White
  • Mileage 65,185 Miles
  • Engine size 4900
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Richmond
  • County London
  • Country United Kingdom
  • Auction ends
Bidding history
3 Bids
  • roy-mur•••• £16,000 11/07/24
  • allanro•••• £15,250 11/07/24
  • warren.•••• £15,000 11/07/24

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Gallery