The Car


Above: Testing in England just before the practice weekend at Le Mans, April 18th, 1964.

It is a little known fact that the Le Mans development car (B9499999) shares the distinction of being referenced to as "project 870".  That Rootes designation comes from "Experimental Department" reports and is thought to have been assigned to the only "Jensen" produced prototype Tiger - a Series III Alpine configured to Tiger specifications.  But, recently discovered documents detailing various wind tunnel testing of the Le Mans "mule", clearly refer to 7734 KV as "project 870".   It is also interesting to note that even though it once appeared all three of the Lister coupes were assembled using Series III's, it is now established only the "practice" car employed a 1963 underpinning.  It's sister machines were built-up on a pair of very early 1964 Series IV platforms.  Further, it seems likely, the vehicle that served as the test-bed for Le Mans race preparation was also the very first "factory" prototype.

Speaking of Distinctions, how about piloting the template for all production Tigers (the Shelby prototype) and being able to claim its ownership. Bill Carroll used the discovery of the this "factory commissioned" re-worked Series II as the basis for his book "Tiger An Exceptional Motorcar". Little has changed since Lord Rootes occupied the seat that Mr. Carroll enjoys in this photo. If we could swap the drivers, it would be easy to imagine the oft-recalled, handbrake on, hundred mile an hour first test drive in England. Both of the cars displayed on this page attended Tigers United XXII in 1997.

Above: An outing in Southern California for a feature article
in the December, 1990 issue of "Motor Trend".


1996 Historical Glimpses Archive

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1998 Historical Glimpses Archive

1999 Historical Glimpses Archive

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