This is an original Ford V8 from a Sunbeam Tiger, it’s mated to a 4-speed transmission, it has a Hurst shifter fitted, and it comes on a trolley to make moving around nice and easy.

The Sunbeam Tiger was a high performance version of the Sunbeam Alpine, a small British roadster that was a period competitor for cars like the MGB and the Triumph TR4.

Performance was markedly increased by having a Ford V8 installed in place of the original inline-four. This conversion was done by Carroll Shelby in California, using priciples he’d already mastered on his Shelby Cobra – another small British roadster that he’s shoehorned an American V8 into.

Sunbeam Tiger Cutaway Illustration

Image DescriptionThis cutaway illustration of the Sunbeam Tiger shows how much engine needed to be installed into the relatively small engine bay of the Alpine.

Once Shelby had worked out how to get the V8 into the Alpine, which was a major feat given the small engine bay, the production of the cars was given to Jensen Motors in England with Carroll Shelby receiving a commission from each car that was built.

Rather than just a straight engine swap a series of suspension modifications were made to ensure the car would cope with having its power doubled. The heavier engine required stiffer springs up front and a Panhard rod was added in the rear to help ensure good axle location.

The Sunbeam Tiger was built over two primary versions, the Mark I and the Mark II. The Mark I was built from 1964 to 1967 with 6,450 made in total. These cars received the Ford 260 cubic inch V8 producing 164 bhp at 4,400 rpm. They could do the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 8.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 120 mph (193 km/h).

Carroll Shelby Sunbeam Tiger Ad

Image DescriptionCarroll Shelby developed the Tiger in California but was disappointed when Sunbeam (owned by Rootes Group) opted to have Jensen build them in England rather than give him the production contract. He was instead paid a commission for each one sold.

The later Mark II cars received the 289 cubic inch V8, the same engine used in the Ford Mustang, the Ford Fairlane, and most of the the pre-427 versions of the Shelby Cobra.

It produced 195 bhp at 4,400 rpm giving the car a quicker 7.5 second 0 – 60 mph time and a slightly higher top speed of 122 mph (196 km/h).

The engine and transmission you see here is due to roll across the auction block with RM Sotheby’s in late September and it’s being offered with no reserve. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.

Sunbeam Tiger Car Ad Sunbeam Tiger V8 Engine 2 Sunbeam Tiger V8 Engine 1 Sunbeam Tiger V8 Engine 3

Images courtesy of RM Sothebys

Published by Ben Branch -