The Car


Above: A diverse collection, but all are members of the same fraternity. What would you say connects this bunch of machinery?

By way of answer, each and every one of these vehicles began life as an Alpine.  Those pictured in color represent just a handful of the "conversions" that have peppered the world of Tigering in the last few years.  Several of them have changed hands, or been on the auction block recently.  To those that think building such deceptions can't possibly be profitable, I can only say that if they weren't, their creators would soon stop.  The black and white exhibits are, of course, "factory" produced forerunners to the final production version, known as "Alpine Fords".
At the upper left I've pictured what is thought to be AF 5 during testing in Morocco.  If you like puzzles, inspect my source for this photo (page 71 of Mike Taylor's book) and note the lack of any visible ID elements on the exposed 5393KV engine cowl.  Moving to the right we have what is now thought to have actually started out as AF 8.  That would be the car Rootes shipped to New York for the 1964 Motor Show to debut their new Sunbeam Tiger.  Unfortunately, regardless of outward appearances, little of the original car survives.  Continuing to the right, you will recognize another of the "KV" registered cars.  Reported (possibly in error) as AF 3, 5778 is typical of the Jensen effort to Tigerize the "pilot production" group of Alpines.  5778KV was one of the most photographed of the AF cars, having its picture captured for a full range of publicity.  Whether high-speed testing at MIRA, or serving to introduce the new 1964 Sunbeam Tiger to the press, this Alpine in Tiger dress made the rounds.
A carriage return leads to the slightly famous "Art" car.  Now safely in enlightened ownership, it is not likely to see again, the whirlwind swapping of titles that was so much a part of its checkered past.  In the center of the montage I've displayed another of the "factory" cars that is one of 3, "two hundred series" AF machines known to have been labeled with an AF chassis identifier.  202 is one of the two Rootes experiments with automatics and this one (powered by a 5-bolt 289) spent much of its time transporting Geoffrey Rootes anyplace he wanted to go.  Next we have an example of what is becoming a common sight at many an auction.  Cars much like this one are often offered only through the auction circuit as a means of avoiding the normal enthusiasts scrutiny until it's too late.
Our final row of candidates begins with a "look-a-like" Harrington something.  There are those that insisted this copycat had a genuine Tiger underneath its numerous modifications but, in spite of the repartee, it remains little more than alluring pyrite.  To its right, 7734KV sits just off the Le Mans circuit during testing, while the Rootes mechanics exchange hoods.  This is the only known picture of the interior of what is purported to be AF 1.  The final example of "mix-n-match" fooled the better part of an entire clubs membership for nearly three years.  Pictured here without the LAT 70's that may have help convince some of its pedigree, this "pup" still brings many an admiring glance.  It has now changed hands two times in less than five years.  Fingers are crossed that no one will ever purchase this car again trusting the script mounted to the front fenders.


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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