The Car


Above: Strange, but apparently true - a "factory" photo showing what could
be one of the "AF" cars equipped with wire wheels.

Recent findings appear to validate the existence of a vehicle matching the one pictured in this, seldom seen, Rootes photograph. For those with access to Richard Langworth's book, "Tiger, Alpine, Rapier", you can find this image printed on page 122. It was used by the author to emphasize the similarity between the Tiger and Alpine. To my knowledge it has never been published since and to be honest, until I received the letter that prompts visiting this subject, I was convinced the photo was nothing more than a mocked-up Tiger styling exercise, based on a Series IV Alpine. Now however, it looks as though the picture is for real, meaning one of the "pilot production" cars (Alpine Fords) was indeed configured to accept the Alpine spoked wire wheels.
Imagine buying a second Tiger as a "knock about", so as not to abuse the really nice example in the garage, only to find out you are in possession of an unknown, "factory" development car. The vehicle in question is B9470010 and belongs to Englishman Graham Vickery, who also happens to own the last MK II produced. Now he can boast having one of the first Tigers built, plus the only one ever with "factory" wires. Some guys have all the luck! The body used for this creation (SAL 375115) was a Series IV Alpine GT. That makes it a sister to B9470007 (SAL 375117), which has been, until now, the only Alpine GT connected to the "AF" program.

Above: More members of the "HOOD".
During the 1964 Le Mans test weekend (above left), Rootes attempted to identify hood scoop/vent performance via a specially constructed bonnet. Three sliding sections allowed variable breathing configurations above each exhaust manifold and on top of the dual 4bbl Carters. The end results fell far short of expectations, opening the door to continued experimentation throughout the "Group's" competition program.
Stateside, the Shelby effort (above right) adopted an impressive extractor approach. According to first-hand reports however, looks had little impact on function. Lew Spencer said that the Tiger was the only race car he ever drove, where all of the needles were pegged by the end of the first lap.
Always willing to tackle a sticky problem, Doane Spencer, settled on a simple, but elegant solution(lower left). Borrowing heavily from Carroll Shelby's Cobra project, resulted in an unobtrusive cool air inlet directed to the top of the carburetor. The addition of two hot air, exit slots, exhausting engine heat to the low pressure area in front of the windshield, finished off what would go on to be homologated as LAT 25.
The final "hoodwinking" (lower right) evolved as a complete glassfiber replacement for the production unit. The initial plastic item had no provision for the normal latch, but was pinned to keep things closed. Contemporary copies of the LAT 79 hood have integrated mounting fixtures to accommodate a normal closure mechanism, much to the delight of those who appreciate the unmolested approach.


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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