1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mark 1
Black with Black Interior
Carroll Shelby is credited with some of the most important sports cars ever built. Yet the AC Cobra was not the only British donor car to be powered by a performance V8 engine. The Sunbeam Tiger provided enthusiasts a superb chassis (modified by legendary Ken Miles), a performance 260 Ford V8 engine, and contemporary styling afforded by the Sunbeam Alpine. The first Tiger was constructed by Shelby, but later refined for production albeit in England, resulting in just over 7000 examples being constructed between 1964 and 1967. The Tiger was not only a refined and cleverly manufactured sports car, it proved to be highly capable in racing trim including three Tigers constructed for Le Mans, an endless series of successful Rally cars, and competitive privateer race cars both in the US and UK.
This particular car is a nicely prepared example boasting only three owners, two of which previously owned the car and returned again. The original owner, John Bartok purchased the car in late 1964, believing it to have been the first Tiger sold in Northern California. Bartok owned the car until 1972 then sold it to Richard Trevethick. Having owned the car for only three years, Trevethick sold it in 1975 to the current owner who kept it until 1992, only to sell it back to Trevethick once again. Trevethick removed the 260 engine and installed a 289 engine in 1995. In 2005, the current owner repurchased the car from Trevethick and has maintained and enjoyed it since. In 1980, the car received a bare metal respray in black with an updated black interior, including black leather seats. At this time, the car was disassembled and the data plates removed and stored. Attempting to get the car smogged and registered, a new body number was assigned (JAL550041) in absence of the original body plates. Subsequently the plates were located and installed, but the registration paperwork still contains this other number.
This car has been certified by the Sunbeam Tiger Owners association.
Certificate #0483 issued August 3,2002
Serial no. B9470052LRXEFE
Body number, JAL550041
Original color 53,(Blue) now Black
Current Motor 1027 E7KL
Original black California License KXK065
The current mileage shown today is 14,690, which is known not to be correct as the speedometer was rebuilt along with other gauges during the restoration process in 1980.
Documents show the mileage of 6632 in Feb 1992 and 8454 in March 1996, accounting for only 6,000 miles accumulated over the past 20 years.
In 1995 the original engine was removed and a comprehensively rebuilt 289 engine was installed. Records for the rebuild reveal it was thoughtfully prepared with correct performance components and proper reverence to originality, with a nod to performance. Currently the engine features an Edelbrock aluminum manifold, newer 4 barrel carburetor, Shelby valve covers, headers, Ultradyne hydraulic cam, and a Mallory distributor. The engine compartment is clean and tidy with some modern upgrades contributing to the reliability and general improved use of the car. At about the same time the engine was rebuilt, the transmission was also removed and rebuilt, along with a new clutch and other mechanical components. The car features a heavy-duty radiator and a nicely remade exhaust system, which puts out a great sound. In 2016, after the car had been in storage for some time, all wheel cylinders and calipers were inspected and rebuilt as needed, the master cylinder was replaced, brake booster disassembled, inspected, and some lines replaced. The carburetor was cleaned and rebuilt and the fuel system flushed.
The car currently appears as a fine driver quality vehicle, showing good quality paint with deep luster and good gloss throughout. The surface and bodywork were nicely done and exhibit good panel fit with good coverage and detailing on the inner surfaces, and underside panels. There are a few minor road chips and scuffs from use, a crack in the paint near the right side of the grille opening, and some light scratches on the exterior, but the cars overall cosmetic impression is quite nice, featuring good glass, good windshield, nice tail lights, and straight body trim. The car sits nicely on modern wheels and tires, which appear to fill the wheel wells properly. The chrome is very good overall having been replated and still showing nice luster. The badges, trim and Sunbeam lettering are nicely applied. The optional hardtop included with the car fits properly and has very good glass, tidy headliner, and properly fitting trim.
The interior is a combination of very nice features including a handsome wood rimmed steering wheel, excellent dashboard and clean, clear instrumentation, all having been restored in 1980 and remaining quite good today. The leather seats are nicely presented, though showing patina, and the drivers side stitching is beginning to give way in one upper corner, though still entirely serviceable. The convertible soft top will need new rubber seals and new headliner., The trunk is correct in appearance with newer carpeting and vinyl side panels. The underside of the car is quite good overall exhibiting no evidence of structural damage and good finish, attributed largely to the dry California climate this car has known since new.
The car starts easily and delivers a throaty sound one might expect a performance V8 of this type to offer. Solid and capable, power comes on with nice even delivery as one moves through the gears. The brakes are typical of this period, with good even tracking even on harder stops. Overall performance is brisk indeed with a great deal of excitement in every corner, delightful throttle response, and of course the legacy of Carroll Shelby in each exciting launch to freeway speeds. The car comes with the Tiger Certificate, owners manual, shop manual, receipts for the engine and transmission rebuild, numerous Tiger bulletins, and some spare parts including a set of original wheel covers (but not the original wheels).
Similar in spirit to a Cobra, but considerably more affordable, this Tiger offers great performance and history in a handsome package both for driving enjoyment and to upgrade as you wish. The Tiger continues to grow in popularity, as reflected in their performance legacy, provenance, and outstanding value.
Please note this car is titled to the body number.