Tigers United XXII
The After-glow (Installment Eight)


While we're not sure where these filters come from, we do know that Knapek's Auto Electric can manage as many as you need. Give Dennis a call at (707) 442-8774.

Dennis Knapek behind the wheel of his '64 Tiger and a very sucessful Swap 'N Shop.

No self respecting Sunbeam owner can resist a good old "Swap 'N Shop" and no Tiger gathering worth its salt would fail to incorporate such an event. Some of the unsung heroes behind Tigers United XXII turned their talents to staging the "Knapek's Auto Electric Sunbeam Tiger Bizarre". First in line would be Mr. Dennis Knapek, himself. Dennis admits that no man is an island, so he and his mix 'n match crew of family, employees and friends spent the better part of six months cleaning up 26 West 4th Street to insure adequate elbow room for what he would call the event of a lifetime. "Every Tiger in the world right here at my shop. Who would have thought it possible." What was possible, started earlier Saturday morning than I was willing to get rolling. Some of the other unsung, collected everything that even looked like something to sell and transported it down four blocks, turn left, then look for the big sign on the right. By the time I arrived, business was more than brisk. An amazing discovery of look-a-like fuel filters were vanishing from what appeared to be an old apothecary jar as fast as the money changed hands. Two unattached LAT 70's vaporized nearly as quickly as two original air cleaner housings and, so the morning went.

Just when I was getting into it, notice came that the CHP officer (you remember, the one who was going to sign off the Le Mans coupe ticket) was waiting back at the Eureka Inn. A command performance of that nature could not be ignored, so the rest of my morning was spent incarcerated next to ADU 179B.


Just hanging out, waiting for me to return from the "Swap 'N Shop". Why not pose for a few pictures? Oh that they were all as nice as this guy.


A study of feasibility. The first outing for the Miles prototype in many years.

A quick scan of the parking lot reaffirmed a wondrous aggregation of Rootes machinery, from the first glint of the Tiger story on one end, to the last MK II on the other. The Garrad/Miles creation hadn't had an outing in fifteen years, if not longer and for most, it was a totally fresh experience.

An opportunity to see this car in its unrestored condition allowed speculation on what might have transpired during its initial construction and the sort of lifestyle experienced during its subsequent existence.


Laura Garrad holds the distinction of being the first woman to drive a "Tiger" and the Miles prototype was that car.


Side by side, the Shelby master pattern and the final example from the assembly line. History, to say the least.

The Boskoff/Remington/Shelby relic was equally riveting. As you would expect, most of the focus around these artifacts centered on the engine compartments and to be able to compare them was awesome. The other subtle and not so subtle reworkings, occupied additional inspection, with lots of back and forth shuffling, until all were contented.

Left: Pretty much the way Bill Carroll found the Shelby relic - Hipo 289, Cobra dress-up valve covers and little else.
Right: Much of what has happened to the Miles car over the last 25 years is unrecorded - untouched 260, coupled to a two-speed automatic, or something else?

Left: Dolled up for the period, Shelby's presentation hinted at the future interior accouterments that would grace the
production version of the Sunbeam Tiger.
Right: No fluff necessary. A little metal sculpting here and there, then down the road for some fun.

Each has served its historical purpose and survives today to give witness to the miraculous beginnings of the Sunbeam Tiger.

 


While few were aware of it, one other fascinating heirloom was in attendance, albeit wearing a glorious disguise. Long thought to have been a non-survivor, the third "factory" authorized prototype, dubbed "Project 870, "turns out to be living beneath the skin of the Le Mans "mule". Without going too far afield, Dick Barker's 7734KV car, ends up having lead three lives: First as a Series III Alpine, then as the transformed, "Jensen" constructed Tiger prototype and finally, converted into the development pattern for the 1964 Le Mans program. Examining the finished examples of these Williams & Pritchard creations, emphasizes just how individual, handmade sculptures can be.


Our two ex-rally specimens also show some interesting variations. Aside from being "Mediterranean Blue", where you would expect to find "Carnival Red" and the only rally car built to RHD specifications, the ex-Marcus Chambers ride sports a configuration of personal touches unlike any other "factory" machine. By way of example, the extended-range fuel tank arrangement utilizes a filler cap matching those found on the Le Mans coupes. Such fanfare could not be applied to the rally warriors that would see actual competition. FIA regulations had evolved into forbidding deviations from production silhouettes, resulting (by comparison) in some rather "Plain-Jane" looking Coventry challengers.


In contrast, there is nothing plain about the "one-off" Harrington. Mr. Van Velkinburg continues to lavish an enormous amount of care on this totally unique Tiger and his willingness to do so benefits us all. It is interesting to note that Bill elected, this time out, to leave the trailer at home and put some highway miles on DDU 550C. Hooking up with a good-old-boy from Texas (Tim Morin) had to have made the trip to and from Sacramento an outing to remember. Who wouldn't have loved the chance to spend a long weekend with the guy that just purchased 8 tons of NOS Rootes inventory?

Speaking of inventory, those that inspected Dave Dunn's remarkable low mileage museum piece couldn't help coming away with a fresh appreciation of originality. Imagine having an "as fitted" soft top and still being able to see out of the back window - simply astonishing.

Rick McLeod's MK II prototype (14-inch wheels and 4-corner disc breaks) seemed right at home sitting eye to eye with Graham Vickery's end of production, B382100633, or rubbing elbows with Bill Carroll's, Shelby prototype. Even though the big wheels and better stopping fitted to GDU 497D never made it into production, several of its parking lot companions had been owner-upgraded to include those very same improvements.

Lunch time offered a lazy brake in front of the third Duncanson presentation, which was to focus on some amazing, archival revelations. Image after image challenged the current thinking on several interesting subjects. Promotional photos with Rosemary Smith and Peter Procter frolicking on an upside down Tiger chassis had everyone scratching the old cranium. The "project 870" exposé, mentioned earlier, was supported with a cadre of very enlightening evidence. The contents of two Experimental Department memorandums served to bend Tiger history in a brand new direction. For those of us buried in the meaning of countless numbers, why not stir things up a bit by displaying the suggestion that at least one Tiger carrying "factory" ID was used in the crash testing program. Needless to say, for many of us the session ended way too soon. In fact several of the hard-core enthusiasts stayed behind, going over the pictures again and again.


Team Bennett and Shaw ready for the first half of TU XXII's rally. In the background, Peter Thomson hopes for a ride.

The 4:00 PM rally start time closed in on the Annex staging area, as did an anxious group of drivers and navigators. An instructional gathering crowded the breezeway between the hospitality room and the economy sleeping quarters. Before long, competitors were queuing up to receive their rally packets and the signal to embark. As the last pairings headed toward the Stage 1 check points, a group of us non-players set off to intercept the front runners at the midway dinner stop. The official results of this year's "round the flagpole" are listed below.

Name

Rally Total Score

Rally Stage 1 Score

Rally Stage 2 Score

 

Name

Rally Total Score

Rally Stage 1 Score

Rally Stage 2 Score

Gary Winblad 1550 650 900   Jack Bash 1215 300 915
Larry Allbritton 1550 650 900   Ruth Bash 1215 300 915
Brad Barker 1498 550 948   Dave Dunn 1117 300 817
Peggy Barker 1498 550 948   Anita Dunn 1117 300 817
Kevin Meek 1494 600 894   Corey Leong 1107 300 807
Marla Meek 1494 600 894   Darrick Leong 1107 300 807
Tom Ballou 1441 650 791   Eric Eastick 1090 450 640
Trish Ballou 1441 650 791   Joan Eastick 1090 450 640
Rick Mueller 1422 500 922   Steven Alcala 1036 250 786
Bonnie Mueller 1422 500 922   Dan Westland 1036 250 786
Dominic Spinetta 1410 450 960   Colin Hook 1029 100 929
Lannie Huton 1393 450 943   Ann Hook 1029 100 929
Gary Haslip 1392 450 942   Jodie Pahmeier 1016 300 716
Eric Haslip 1392 450 942   Devon Brown 1016 300 716
Mary McDaniel 1360 450 910   Stan Clark 950 0 950
Tom McDaniel 1360 450 910   Jacquie Henri 950 0 950
Laura Ettinger 1357 450 907   Chris Williams 883 500 383
Chris Richards 1357 450 907   Jeremy Williams 883 500 383
Steven Sage 1356 400 956   Bob Palmer 857 0 857
Jane Sage 1356 400 956   Brock Tella 852 250 602
Tom Hall 1352 450 902   Brenda Matthews 852 250 602
Bette Hall 1352 450 902   Larry Atkisson 825 0 825
Ed Foster 1344 550 794   Linda Atkisson 825 0 825
Karen Foster 1344 550 794   David McDermott 764 400 364
Dan Walters 1340 450 890   Paul Dierschow 764 400 364
Peter Thompson 1340 450 890   Bob Noack 700 700 0
Phil Cohen 1337 450 887   Jan Harde 513 0 513
Sue Cohen 1337 450 887   Jeff Cushing 513 0 513
Cullen Bennett 1304 450 854   Bill Gobner 350 350 0
Bobbi Shaw 1304 450 854   Paul Nanzig 250 250 0
Brian Faerge 1263 400 863   Bill Jackson 0 0 0
McDonald Peter 1263 400 863   Sheryl Jackson 0 0 0


The Samoa Cookhouse then - 1905 and now - 1997. It's hard to imagine the number of meals that have been served inside this establishment.

You couldn't have found a better place to recharge the spirit than the Samoa Cookhouse. When we arrived, much of the seating had already been filled with Tigers United contestants. This logging camp mess hall pays no attention to private groupings, you just join in with whomever, until the long picnic style tables have no more room. Even with our group, there was still space to accommodate what appeared to be a constant flow of hungry humans. As we sat down, large bowls of homemade soup began circulating, followed by equally large bowls of fresh garden salad and baskets of sourdough bread. Pushing away the meal starters to make way for entrées, should have come sooner in my case, but as always, I found hidden, or maybe not, containment for a bit of each, smoked ham, baked chicken, and grilled fish. Fresh hot vegetables and steamy red potatoes completed the adornments, keeping everyone busy with the joys of good food and good friends. Just when it looked like we might escape with our lives, out came the pièce de résistance. If you don't care for deserts, then ignore that homemade apple, or peach pie and for sure the people who asked for a scoop of vanilla a-la-mode were surprised to hear that ice cream was not on the menu. To be honest, no one could claim lack of nourishment as a reason for flubbing Stage 2. We did have one fellow who fell asleep, but the goodhearted let him rerun the section early the next morning. As the combatants returned to the hotels, more gremlins had managed to latch onto the group from the high Sierras. Paul Nanzig, in a borrowed ride, encounter a Humblodt County pebble on a perfect trajectory to cause debilitating radiator damage. Caught in the same pebble down pour, another of our group suffered insult having to limp home well short of a triumphant finish. Through the magic of, "here take the radiator out of my car", and a little judicious solder, both cars were healed enough to remain in limited action for the rest of the event. Limited action did not preclude partaking of the STOA supplied keg, or the wee hours yarn spinning that would lead to a full Sunday of "show 'n shine", awards banquet and memorabilia auction

1997 After-glow Series

Installment One

Installment Two

Installment Three

Installment Four

Installment Five

Installment Six

Installment Seven

Installment Nine


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