February 17, 2005 at 8:11 pm #56335Eric and Bonnie GibeautParticipant
I have read some of the postings by Joey on this Forum and on the Tiger List and it got me thinking about my first Tiger. I bought it in 1975 right after I got stationed near Duluth, Minnesota at a US Air Force Radar Station. I was 19 and it was my first Sunbeam. My dad had several Alpines as I was growing up but would never get a Tiger as “they cost too much to insure”. So I found an ad in the paper and for $600 that Tiger was mine! It had not run for the 4 years it sat under a tree in the owners yard so it took me awhile working in the parking lot behind our barracks to get it running. Seems like all it needed was a carb rebuild and most of the brake hydraulics. The body was starting to rust badly due to being driven in the winter road salt-more on that later. It had BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires on it and boy did they slide easily. I got pretty good at doing 4 wheel drifts with the Tiger as I drove it around some backroads near the base-and driving on snow and ice was even more exciting. Then I got transferred to South Carolina (one winter up North was enough for me) and a buddy of mine drove my Tiger to South Carolina and I followed in my XKE-it was a fun drive South. I had some memorable moments driving my first Tiger-like the brake servo letting go in a big way and white smoke pouring out the exhaust-I thought I had blown something up. And the clutch slave cylinder breaking near the line connection due to salt corrosion and having to push my Tiger back to the base which luckily was only a block away. I eventually found a rust free Alpine body shell and cut off the rocker panels and bottoms of the fenders to replace the rusty ones on my car. Then I painted it red and got it looking as good as it ran. Several months later, I decided to sell my first Tiger in order to buy my second Tiger- a white MK1A that was a Southern car it’s whole life and had no rust-and it cost me $2700. What a find! I still have that Tiger and always will……Eric
February 17, 2005 at 8:40 pm #58763
In 1971 I had just gotten out of the Army. The first thing I did was buy a ’70 Challenger SE 383 Magnum for my first wife. Thinking she shouldn’t be the only one with a toy, I decided to look for a Healey 3000. Every one I found was a rust bucket. One day, I saw a Mediteranean Blue Tiger at a used car lot. This stirred memories of an old college friend, Doug Pruitt, and the night I broke the trans in my ’64 GTO racing his Tiger.
The blue Tiger was all mine for $2,000. A few months later, I saw another Tiger on a used car lot and this one had a hardtop. A deal was struck and for $100 I had a hardtop. All of a sudden, the heater and radio worked. Unfortunately, when the first wife went in ’73, the Tiger had to go too. As a desperate man with child support in mind, I waved goodbye to it for $1,000.
Seven years later, I would pay the same $1,000 for a MKII that had center punched a light pole and had LAT 70s that had been painted with silver spray paint. But that’s another story.
February 18, 2005 at 1:07 am #58767
I bought my Tiger in 1970 for $1200.00, I was 20 at that time. I drove the car for a couple of years then completly stripped the car to bare metal and had the car repainted for a 1000.00 what a nice job. Took the Tiger out for the first time after about a year and the first night put it into a ditch, well the divorce came and me and my Tiger moved to Fl. Had the car repaired in Ft. Meyers,Fl. In about 1976 wreck the car again, put it in storage till 1980. When I moved to Orlando we took the car back down to bare metal and repainted the car. In 1990 redid the motor with a 302 and a auto trans. Did the car show thing for a while got tired of showing the car against the kit car cobra’s and one night took the car to the drag strip in Orlando and swore the car could run 12’s with ease well it went 14:30’s, so It started with if I could only get into the 13’s,then the 12’s, then 11’s then 10’s well now 15years later the car runs in the 10:30’[email protected] and has ran as fast as 9:[email protected] 135 but because of all the saftey issues when you run in the 9’s I will keep it in the 10’s but the dream was a 9 sec. pass. I now race the car at the Fun Ford events and some of the true street races,which I won the true 10 second street race at Bradenton,Fl last april. The car really surpises people to see it runs that well on the LAT-70-13 wheels and the 235-60-13 DOT Tires. The motor now is a 331ci with a 150 shot of NOS with a good c-4 trans with a 4500 stall and a Chrysler 8 3/4 rear end with a 3:55 gear it still has the orig. leaf springs and the adj.shocks I put on the car back in the 70’s. We still go to some of the Sunbeam shows and out in Albq. N.M. it took a 2nd in a big Natl. show there.
February 18, 2005 at 1:32 am #58769
Bought my first Alpine about 5 years back because my wife wanted a british car. That lasted about a week seems they smell bad the brakes are not so good and it blows your hair… it soon became my car.
February 18, 2005 at 2:08 am #58771
I knew I was going to buy the car before I looked at it. It was the second Sunbeam I ever saw in person, the first one knowing what model it was.
It was last April, my buddy/mentor Rich had been over that morning in his MGB and my Dad mentioned his old friend we go on fishing trips with has this old Sunbeam Tiger in his garage he’s had since 1970 waitin for someone to restore it. Little did he know how much I wanted a 4banger powered European sports car! He didn’t think twice after mentioning the car but I spent the next week thinking about it and reading online. I was dissapointed I read it had a V8 cause I wanted to try the 4 cylinder thing (I drive a modified turbocharged 5 cyl Volvo) but then my Dad told me it was an Alpine. OK it was settled, I found the owner’s number and called him about it before I even told my Dad how much I wanted the car. I set up a day for me to go look a the car and arranged to buy it. Hadn’t been driven since 1980 and garage kept since ~1970 when he bought the car and it has 20-30k miles (I don’t remember how much). I am just about done with the motor (2 twin choke dellortos, custom header, aluminum flat tops, shaved vizard head w/ porting, manley valves, kb cam, etc) , tires (sticky yokos) and wheels (9 pound panasports) and suspension (series III springs, spax shocks, delrin bushings) and brakes(ventilated rotors, semimetallic pads) are already back on the car. I hope to have it near driving in 3 weeks
February 18, 2005 at 2:05 pm #58780
well i guess i should put my 2 cents in, since my name was mentioned.
I got my first Tiger not to long ago. I got it for Xmas. I was sooo happy. It all started when i was getting older, i started to realize what the car could do and how rare it is. So i kept asking my dad how we were going to fix it. My dad cant do it, because he has ruematoid arthritis in his joints. So he said that he was going to send it to my uncle jim in Minnitonka. He is rich, so he was going to pay to get it fixed. As time went by we never sent it to Jim. So i didnt like to see the car sit there and sometimes get hit by my g-mas door. I then said that i was going to fix the car myself and i wanted it for xmas.
I started working on the car a little after xmas. First i took out the gas tanks, as i knew that they were dirty or full of varnish. After i took them out, i got some pea gravel and 2 gallons of hot water, and then shook the living —- out of them for about 15 min a tank. After that they were clean as new. My dad said the fuel pump was bad, so i changed that. And in doing that i broke the gas line from the tank to pump. So i had to change that. I blew out the other gas lines with the air comp. I replaced the rubber line that connects the 2 front lines and the fuel filter
After the fuel system was clean, i moved to the engine. First i put a rebuild kit on the carb. That was pretty easy. 😆 So next i knew that the liquids were bad. So i went to drain the radiator, but the drain plug came right off. I had to remove the hood to get the radiator out. I removed the radiator, over flow tank, and all the hoses. Replaced all the hoses as they were dry rotted. Then i i got the radiator fixed, powerflushed, and then painted.
Then i took out the spark plugs, and put a good dose of liquid wrench down the holes. Then reinstalled good plugs. Then i changed the oil and filter.
Then i was ready to start her up. It started and then we had a sticky lifter, but that went away after a few minutes and was running real good.
So now im working on the Clutch and Brakes. I just got the clutch done last night, all i need to do is bleed the system. Next i am going to tackle the clutch.
And for those of you that dont know how old i am, im 14 and live in Omaha, NE
Thats my story of how i got my first tiger. If you want any pictures, then email me : [email protected]
February 18, 2005 at 7:54 pm #58783Robert and Mariet JaarsmaParticipant
Several years I commuted to Mass for the week. I had a room in Exeter and read their weekly newspaper. One day an Alpine was offered in the classifieds. (1988) It ran, but had no brakes and needed TLC. I decide to look some more. We went on vacation and sure enough the ad reappeared a few weeks later. I bought that Alpine, had it towed and fixed to pass inspection, then drove it home. After ~fifty miles on I93 it quit., but a passerby stopped, he knew Alpines and helped me out. Rain started, the gas gauge went quickly down, wipers slowed down, ….battery empty. I hitchhiked home to later pick up the car. I completely restored it and now lives in northern NH.
The p.o. had told me to join TEAE, which I did. I went to a meet, and saw my first Tiger. (I grew up in Holland where Tigers were never seen). TEAE member Steve Towle told me about a abandoned Tiger nearby. It had lost the interest of its owner. Was pushed every winter further down the driveway and was never even covered. With the Alpine restoration experience I tackled the Tiger (1991) and still have it. In fact the previous owner saw it last fall and promised me an old movie he had of him drag racing it in the late sixties.
A few more Alpines were mixed in this, too long a story for now. The Sunbeam Venezia is now keeping me busy in my retirement.
February 18, 2005 at 10:49 pm #58785
I bought my first and only Tiger 39 years ago and I still have it. I paid $3200 for it which was the dealer (at least that’s what he told me) cost at the time. List price was something like $3400+. I wasn’t really into it being a special vehicle at the time and I treated it like a normal car. I drove in snow, rain, you name it. As I got married and had children, there were times that I thought that I might need to get rid of it, but I simply couldn’t part with it. I drove it to work everyday for about 25 years and was rear- ended 3 times before retiring it to being my play thing. I have had many wonderful experiences in this machine. I drove it at least 7 or 8 times from St. Louis to Colorado on ski trips with one of those trunk mounted ski racks that ruins your paint. I like to tell the story about how it started right up at 24 below at Arapahoe Basin. Then there was the one ski trip back the year they opened I-70 that we drove across the whole state of Kansas at 100+mph. Whoee, what fun.
Believe me it was in pretty rough shape when the restoration started, but at least it was my rough! For those that wonder: yes, Tigers had problems when they were new. I flew from St. Louis to Ft. Worth (the port of entry) to pick mine up and save the transportation charges. I only made it about 100 mi. before the first problem showed up: the generator had come loose and was no longer ginning. The dash varnish cracked up in the first year and the paint chalked within a couple years. Brake rubber always managed to pick the winter time to start leaking. However, I will never regret having been an owner of a Sunbeam Tiger and it will be with me for a lot longer, God willing.
February 19, 2005 at 3:27 am #58787
I bought my Tiger in 1977. The March 1977 issue of Motor Trend had just come out with the article featuring a Tiger. I owned a big block 1970 Corvette at the time that was a big piece of crap. I had heard of Tigers before and had thought they would be neat with the V8 in a little convertible. About two weeks later I noticed one for sale in the local newspaper. After contacted the owner and taking a test drive, I wanted it bad. He wanted $1600 for it and confessed someone had offered his $1200. So, of course, I offered him $1300. He wouldn’t except my offer on the spot, but wanted to let the newspaper ad run it’s course. I had four sleepless nights waiting for the ad to finish it’s run. Finally, I received a call from him telling me it was mine if I still wanted it. It’s amazing how much rust an eleven year old car can have, all the usual Tiger rust, X-member, rocker panels and trunk floor. It run well, but of course overheated. I live thirty miles from Williamsburg VA. so, I headed out to United I, but had to turn around because it overheated. The rest is history.
February 20, 2005 at 6:34 pm #58790
Our first sunbeam is because of my wife.I wanted her to learn to drive my big 56 Mercury 4 door hardtop that I loved so much.She said it was just too big.That same week a girl came home to visit her mother who lived a few house away and she was driving a brand new 62 Alpine.My wife said get me one and I’ll learn to drive.3 months later we had a 59 and she had her drivers license.As they say the rest is history.We had as many as 7 sunbeams but now are down to theLister clone.The faithful 62 V6 Alpine which is now becomung a V8 Alpine.I let the 66 Tiger go last year as it was sitting and wanted someone to love it.It took 5 minutes to sell it and it went to a good owner.Best thing about the fact my wife is responsible is when order parts etc.,she sometimes asks how much and I smile and reply you really don’t want to know.
I do tell her though and I never never remind her I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t her fault.
She is the main reason I sign it is sunny
8) 8) Oh it is sunny again
February 23, 2005 at 11:59 pm #58816
In 1965, I was working for a tv station in San Francisco, doing the morning news. We had a Rambler station wagon (great for hauling kids and cases of wine from Sonoma, $1.25 a gallon) and I needed a car to go to work. It being California, I wanted a sports car.
I looked at a Mercedes 300SL (for $3000!) but took it to a mechanic who discovered that the wheel base on one side was shorter than the other side — in other words, the space frame had been deformed by a collision, equalling $$$$.
So I went to a used car dealer in San Rafael where we lived and there was a green Sunbeam for sale. I drove it for a couple of miles and I was enthralled. I came back from the test drive and the salesman (???) was telling my wife: “He can get into a lot of trouble with that car.” I talked the price down from $3600 to $3000 and bought it.
Never regretted it. The Rambler failed soon after and we only had the Tiger when we moved to Washington, looking for a place to rent. We would spill out of the car, two little kids on the back shelf, my wife holding our infant on her lap, and me driving. We looked like one of those circus acts. But it took me to work for 25 years and it is now in Denver taking my son, occasionally, to work.
March 22, 2005 at 4:38 pm #58932
On October 14,1960 I took delivery of a New Series I Moonstone Alpine[B 9009894].I was stationed at Fort Dix New Jersey and had a 1960 Ford convertible on order,then a 1961 but Ford kept on shipping the wrong color,transmission etc. etc.I was driving a 1949 Dodge Wayfarer that I had bought for $75 dollars,put in a $5 junkyard starter and I had no Image.What New Jersey lovely woud be seen in such a run down vehicle?hence the Ford order.One day I drove past a Buick dealer just outside the base and saw/heard of for the first time a Sunbeam Alpine.I said yes and canceled the Ford order,sold the Dodge for $80…the only car I broke even on.With the top up my first sargeant said it looked like a pregnant roller skate.He had a 1959 Lincoln Continental a car rivaling the Titanic in size.The Alpine was a blast to drive.It was THE MAN’S Sports Car Girls Will Love to Drive[an actual advertising slogan]…so I.was in like Flynn.I’ve had 6 people in the car …3 guys,3 girls…alcohol being a masterful lubricant…but who sat on the shifter?I kept it through law school and in 1964 upon graduation drove it from NYC to Seattle down the coast to San Fran and back east.The convertible top had long since been destroyed but with an Army poncho and 60 mph I could avoid some of the rain but the bears in Yosemite scared the hell out of me.I traded it in 1965…the wire wheels were shot,first gear was gone and it wouldn’t start after I rolled into the Manhattan East 44th dealership.TheBRG Series 5 [B39500719] w/o wire wheels, I might add, is still with me going strong…but I now wish I still had the Series 1 to keep it company. frank mooney
July 13, 2005 at 6:52 pm #59480
I was introduced to this world in 1966 so I can not tell stories of my showroom new Sunbeam, but I new a guy…One of my dads very best friends purchased a 1966 Mk1A tiger, red of course, new from the dealer that year. As a kid I remember visiting them (they had kids about the same age as me and my sisters), not to mention the friendship between dad and the Tiger owner since they were kids. Well as time went by I saw the car ocasionally when dad and his buddy would get together and I always thought it was some sort of super exotic car because I NEVER saw another car like it, let alone one with a V8 in it. Life went on and I grew up, or at least grew older. I joined the Navy and played Submariner for five years. While on the Sub I read many articles and magazines and this is when I actually learned what the car was. When I got out of the Navy I started to work on my dads friend in an effort to purchase his Tiger. Here and there I would ask about the Tiger and I never received a hard “NO” as well as never receiveing a yes either, it was always some sort of “maybe”…so I kept working on him. 13 years later we were talking about the Tiger and he finally said that he would not sell the car. He said, “I’ve had it so long that it is like a part of the family now” A couple weeks later a Tiger became available in my local area. So I called my dads friend and we went to go look at it…and I have owned it for almost two years now. It is a MK1A Tiger that needs attention and refurbishing and it has also been modified from original with a HI-PO 289, Mini-Lite 15″ wheels, and a roll bar, otherwise it is factory equipped and looks 39 years old. I have collected quite an array of parts for the work that is needed and someday this Tiger may actually be very nice…but I really like the car just the same. This one will continue to get modified to suit my current wants (a mechanically hot rodded, but mostly stock appearing Tiger) with cosmetic mods that were available when the car was new, like my Moto-Lita steering wheel. I still bug the guy about his Tiger and hope that he will sell it to me some day. If I do get my hands on this particular Tiger I will refurbish it back to stock, as delivered, condition. With the exception of a 4bbl intake, aftermarket mags, and some rally timing equipment it is still in stock original condition…heck, the hard top has NEVER even been on the car since new and it is quite presentable 39 years later.
July 18, 2005 at 3:06 am #59498
I got my first Sunbeam in 1984. The car (67 Alpine) was originally purchased by my sister but found it difficult to drive. My father then ended up with the car and let it sit for about 4 years undisturbed in his garage. I then asked my dad if I could buy it from him if he would help me get it running. Amazingly, we got it running within an hour after some fresh gas. I drove it for about two years then ran out of money to fix it (college). My dad ended up with it again and it sat for about another 6 years until sold. I was sad to see it go but it needed too much work for my budget and wasn’t in the best of shape even when my sister had it. I did what I could afford to keep it going.
Fast forward to present, I purchased another 67 Alpine with the mission of restoring it since I couldn’t do so many years ago. Since I sold the Alpine back to my dad, I’ve had a British Car bug ever since. I’ve restored many cars over the years and now feel that I have the experience to tackle the Alpine right. The car I purchased was advertised as needing “TLC” – It’s amazing how liberal some people are with that term! Anyway, it’s now running well and I’m having the chrome redone and plan to tackle the paint within a month. There is very little rust on the car (amazing in itself) and the major stuff has now been taken care of. I guess this is my way of making up for the one I couldn’t afford to fix in my younger years.
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