by Joe Mazzei originally published as The Technical Tiger in the April 1977 RootesReview
Of the many phone calls and letters that I answer each month, at least three out of ten are from erstwhile Ian Garrads, Carrol Shelbys and Bill Carrols. The big question generally goes like this “I have a 196__ Alpine, Series __ and have or can get a 289 / 302 engine and transmission, 3 speed / 4 speed / automatic. I would like / appreciate / be grateful / etc. for any information / help on how to install / convert / Tigerize my car”.
This conversion is NOT impossible; It is just highly impractical and time consuming. The easiest way to the job done is to use an automatic trans, C-4 or C-6. (Yes friends there is a C-6 for the small block). Now let’s list the special parts that are needed:
1 Tiger rear end & springs,
1 front K frame and rack and pinion,
1 Tiger steering column and jointed shaft,
1 set pitman arms, and
1 set Tiger front springs.
Note – a steering stop should be added to the lower A frame or arm.
In brief – the entire front cross member and steering set up is required. The fire wall and transmission tunnel will have to be altered to provide the proper clearance for the engine and transmission. A drive shaft will have to be made up. Frame mounts and a transmission mount will have to be fabricated and a higher capacity radiator must be used. Beyond this short list of basics there are a great many details that must be accommodated such as fender braces (inner), relocation of brake servo, throttle linkage, generator or alternator fitment & wiring, speedometer cable to speedometer and many more.
If you are not yet convinced allow if you will this recommendation. Find a junk Tiger that (A) is all there and (B) that has not been hit and damaged at the cross member (front) and start swapping parts. This is not a job for the inexperienced or those without a shop or garage in which to work.
Another way is to take that Tiger with a shot body and cut it off and put your Alpine body panels on it. As I said not impossible, just generally impractical. If need be, call me for more information.