The Car

HISTORICAL GLIMPSES - JUNE 2002


Cover art from one of only two, fabulous
large format STOC newsletters (circa 1995). 
The real treasure in this formidable magazine
was a small, three paragraph letter to the
editor from Australian, Bob Walton. 

If you think it's been a long time since the last addition to "Glimpses", you'd be right.  Isn't it remarkable how time plays its little game.  Thank God for an occasional intervention, or there'd be nothing to look forward to.  That aside, looking back is the purpose at hand and this particular rudeness isn't the sort of thing to be skipped over lightly, especially if you're into the true origins of the tale Tiger.  The most current clue in this whodunit emerged a number of years ago in one of STOC's (Sunbeam Tiger Owners Club) outstanding "Duncanson" newsletters - CAT Whiskers 51.  For those of you who are not familiar with Duncanson, I refer you to my exit report on Tigers United XXII

Our not so subtle and also not so widely distributed hint, took the form of a letter with an inquiry for information concerning the whereabouts of a previously owned vehicle.  Included with the post was a log book photocopy and verbiage describing various details of former ownership.  Key to the explanatory narrative was a statement that the car in question "...was, in fact, AF2 (prototype) Series III Alpine body, LHD...".  The specifics from the log book were more than a little noteworthy.  First, the "KV" registration mark comported with those of other prototype Tigers, including,  5393, 5778, 7415, 7416 and 7734.  


Unbelievable artifact from
 the land of "OZ"

 


AF1 in its fresh-from-Lister skin, doing inaugural roundy-round's at Mallory Park on 15, April, 1964. 

In case you need a nudge, 7734 KV was the marker affixed to the Le Mans development vehicle.  Assuming you've done some of the normal homework, an AF1 designation for this same machine shouldn't be totally unfamiliar terminology, nor should you be surprised to find a Series III body shell at its nucleus.  However, unlike our AF2 petitioner, the "mule" and its Lister sister's were given a new, totally unique family identity (B949) making it highly improbable we will ever know their original Series III genesis. There is however, one tiny glimmer.  B9499997 (ADU179B) retains its original body tag (SAL 027335) and that little gem might someday lead us to a proper Series III chassis number.

The next episode in this saga stems from a request posted to the "rootes1" website. Presumably, Mr. Walton was unwilling to accept the silence to his STOC plea, so out of the "clear blue",  I ended up with email and an electronic connection to the holder of a part of Tiger history that had been hidden for nearly forty years.  Once the dust had settled, Bob confirmed the existence of two photographs, one before and one after a "reshell".  Imagine my surprise when the before picture turned out to be the one in color.  Aside from a barrowed bonnet, you should have no trouble understanding the log book color notation, "Bronze".  The chassis, B9203826, is definitely a Series III moniker and the model was clearly listed as "Tiger".  Beyond that, the engine number, 1004 T15KL (identified as a 4260 cc 260) belonged to the very first family of engines to arrive in England.  Its "T15KL" cousins were scattered throughout the Jensen prototype program, one being none other than the power plant for the 1964, New York Auto Show car.  Alpine sources report this car amongst 236 assembled at the Rayton facility, during the second week of July, 1963.  One can only speculate about what it was doing until the 25th day of May, 1964 - so noted as the first date of registration for what is undoubtedly, AF2.


Tantalizing and revealing glimpse of Jensen/Rootes history shortly before a rebody to Series IV RHD specifications.

Looking far less the valiant warrior, Mr. Walton reports having sold this machine (wearing red with a white hardtop) to someone in Cape Town, South Africa - 1970 - anybody seen her?

LINKS--YOU'LL--LIKE

1996 Historical Glimpses Archive

1997 Historical Glimpses Archive

1998 Historical Glimpses Archive

1999 Historical Glimpses Archive

2000/2001/2002 Historical Glimpses Archive

Current  Historical Glimpse


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