Sunbeam Tiger MK I 'Body No 1' Roadster @ Worldwide Auctioneers , video

Sunbeam Tiger MK I 'Body No 1' Roadster @ Worldwide Auctioneers , video

The Scottsdale Auction | January 26

Body #0001, first production model built, 0001JAL and ROTA No: 1 - | Key No: ST837 FS884
Certificate of Authenticity from Sunbeam Tiger Owners Association and Coventry Transport Museum
Recipient of a comprehensive four-year restoration
Featured on The Book of Norman back cover, in Mustangs & Fords, Tiger Tracks, and Dennis Collins' Coffee Walk


Swinging Sixties British styling and Carroll Shelby-designed American power combined to produce the Sunbeam Tiger, which immediately dazzled prospective buyers on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, the Sunbeam Tiger MK I is a rare example of the Shelby legacy that is as unique and eye-catching on the pavement as it is an enticing joy to drive. This 1964 example is not just a survivor of the rare British sports car, it is body number one, and serial number 47, which easily steals the Holy Grail slot for Coffee Walk producer, Dennis Collins' perpetually impressive lineup.

England's Rootes Group excelled in the styling department with its alluring Sunbeam Alpine, featured in Hitchcock's Mediterranean-kissed "To Catch a Thief" with Grace Kelly behind the wheel, but the boutique firm lagged behind the formidable British competition when it came to performance. They initially looked to Ferrari to equip their sports car with a viable powertrain, but the deal never quite came to fruition. Following the smashing success of AC's matchup with Carroll Shelby's Cobra, the founder's son, Brian Rootes, looked across the Atlantic for an envelope-pushing powerhouse. 

An agreement was struck for Shelby to equip the Sunbeam with a modified 260-cubic-inch Ford V-8 for $10,000 in eight weeks. Brian's father, Lord Rootes, had serious misgivings when he heard his son had secured Shelby to build the prototype, but that hesitancy quickly gave way to elation upon driving the car for the first time. He immediately ordered Shelby to produce 3,000, the largest order of Ford engines produced outside a government contract. 

The agreement reached would have the order ready for the New York Auto Show of 1964 in just eight months. Shelby received a percentage of each car built in exchange for delivering the V-8s mated to four-speed transmissions for the Oxfordshire pressed-steel bodies that would be finished by Jensen. The former Alpine became the Tiger and would also boast modifications including modern rack-and-pinion steering, an electric fuel pump, and dual exhaust as well as a new wooden dash and steering wheel. The body had a Tiger script on the front fenders with V-8 emblazoned below, the front end sported a sleek grille opening with a horizontal bar and the Sunbeam emblem was perched in the center.

Body #1, this 1964 Sunbeam Tiger was the first body pressed by the Jensen factory as its 0001JAL number and ROTA (Rootes Order Tiger Assembly) number 1 will attest. However, it was completed in batch on June 27, 1964, as they waited for transmissions. This Tiger was delivered to Danyluk Motors in Glendale, California where it was sold to its first owner, Martin Prager. ROTA number 1 was then sold to Kenneth H. Miller of North Hollywood, California in 1966. Brett Simpson of Washington purchased the car in 1995 and conducted a comprehensive, well-documented restoration that would conclude in 1999. The car not only carries the all-important 2018 Certificate of Authenticity from the Sunbeam Tiger Owners Association, but it also has a COA from the Coventry Transport Museum as well. 

This inaugural car graces the back cover of The Book of Norman, the definitive text of the Sunbeam Tiger, and is featured in Mustangs and Fords magazine, Tiger Tracks, and an episode of Dennis Collins' YouTube Channel, Coffee Walk. It is accompanied by a treasure trove of original documentation including the owner's service book, owner's handbook, inspection slips, service records, restoration history and ownership papers that chronicle the journey of its life through three owners.

When the fourth owner, Dennis Collins, purchased the car on an episode of Coffee Walk, Body #1 had been driven a total of 10 miles since its restoration. The car was featured in The LeMay - America's Car Museum and had appeared at the Pacific Northwest Concours d' Elegance. This first Sunbeam Tiger body boasts its original engine, heads, and chassis. Although it is fitted with a LAT-option intake and carburetor, the originals accompany the sale. Finished in correct PPG Moonstone with scarlet and black-piped interior, fitted by a Tiger upholstery expert Martha Christiansen, the lithe British body and well-appointed cabin are as swoon-worthy as the day it was new. Not only the very first British body pressed, but a special chapter in the Shelby canon, this car is the ultimate beginning to the speedy Sunbeam Tiger and represents an opportunity to secure a truly important and best in class automobile.

 

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