The Car


One of the more interesting, recent runarounds targeted a "Registry" entry that had been an inactive part of my record for nearly ten years. It was, however, a definite player during Fallehy days and the sordid details launched some rather absorbing sleuthing. The story began in much the way many a Tiger yarn has started of late. One morning's email contained a request for information about a car that was for sale up in Ontario. In somewhat broken English, a very French Canadian, Benoit Martel, wanted to know if I knew anything about MK II B382100258 LRXFE, bearing JAL number 700534? Well, for sure I could confirm (almost without checking) that those two elements didn't belong together. While the chassis number was one that had not previously been reported as a survivor, the car associated with the JAL (B382100628 LRXFE) was a different story. That entry was dated 7/91, and simply read, "stolen, no previous date." Actually, the "no previous date" verbiage works out to a bit of a personal code used by me to classify undated records from George's input, sometime prior to my full database stewardship.

An almost vulgar remnant of what should be a revered relic. This unassuming leftover turns out to be the very last Tiger body ever built.

Still possessing most of the proper engine compartment items, but no original valve cover markers.

With questions as large as these, rock turning begins immediately. Benoit was issued the ever-popular request for confirmation of drive-train numbers. And, instead of the often encountered, deafening silence, a surprisingly brief intermission terminated with a gearbox number and the first bit of clarification evidence in hand. The HEH CF container (yes, that's correct for a MK II, not HEH B as you might have read elsewhere) turned out to be the unit assigned originally to the MK II associated with the body number - B382100628. Interesting, but were we looking at B382100258 LRXFE with the body tag and transmission from B382100628, or some other combination? Then the back axle information was added to the mix. It too was in harmony with the six-hundred, twenty-eighth MK II listing, teasing me to accept that the culprit was possibly a transplanted chassis tag. The reasons for such maneuvering are myriad and probably not overly important to this story, save noting the neutering of two, rare IIs. In spite of the hype - "Gone In 60 Seconds", Sunbeam Tigers are well wide of any hot sheet these days and in truth, have been for many years.

All initial fact gathering was handled as a long-distance operation, serving doubly to elevate the curiosity of the seller and deepen the mystery of true identity. The pictures in this chronicle are a result of an in-person visit by our erstwhile buyer and pretty much put an end to the idea of owning such a sad sack. As digging continued, the sleuthing moved on to lock-barrel numbers and finally a smattering of traceable ownership history. With the key information joining the evidence stack on the side of B382100628, it was at last apparent that the chassis plate had been the wandering ID component. Once it was understood we were dealing with the last MK II body produced by "Pressed Steel", discussions moved toward the viability of resurrecting dignity to this hapless heirloom.

A huge expensive project that won't be undertaken soon, if ever.

Just as involved as the rest of the remains. It's not as if you can't make usable repairs to this sort of decay, but at what cost?

While the current owner (operator of a small body shop) felt he had repaired worse, the work required would only make sense if the proper identity could be reestablished. Now, if it were anyplace other than Canada, I would say, "absolutely no way". But, as it turns out, the only officially approved instance of restoring ID to a mislabeled Tiger I'm aware of, just happens to have taken place north of the border. Whether efforts will go forward to add legs to this rarity, is yet to be seen. What is certain is the scope of any such enterprise.



1996 Historical Glimpses Archive

1997 Historical Glimpses Archive

1998 Historical Glimpses Archive

1999 Historical Glimpses Archive

2000/2001/2002 Historical Glimpses Archive

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