The Book

Published in 1993, this book represents the most recent major work on the Sunbeam Tiger. A full 371 pages and 265 photos were used to build ten, meaty chapters covering little known Tiger fact and lore. "Volume I" also contained the first ever publishing of "The International Registry Of Sunbeam Tigers". The one-time printing of 1,000 copies sold briskly from its introduction and is now out of print. Should you stumble on a copy and are interested in having a complete library of Tiger literature, better snap it up. A brief chapter by chapter synopsis follows:

While some insist that the book is, "strangely titled", I assert - "it's what's inside that counts". In truth, it could just as easily have been called "The Book By George". Once past the introduction, you are led through the incredible story of dedication on the part of Mr. George Fallehy. But for this man's singular effort to collect data on surviving Sunbeam Tigers, much of what is now known about the marque might have been lost to history. For my part, if I hadn't met him, there would be no book and obviously, no "Chapter One".

The second collection of pages focuses on the importance of "the old numbers game", strange abnormalities in body configuration and any number of additional points of interest. The hidden meaning of JAL tags (the Rootes body number) and ID suffixes (identification of various vehicle specifications) occupies much of the significant banter, with an occasional excursion into the world of vinyl versus wooden dashboards, the changeover from short to long shifters, subtle revisions in outside badging and rumors of sledge hammering transmission tunnels. All of this serves to prepare the reader for the insight found in chapters to come.

"Roots and Branches"
Evolution, whether natural, or mechanical, has been argued since the beginning of time. The version according to Norman is not without detractors, but evidence cited in "Roots and Branches" makes for some very interesting reading. The main Tiger exhibits consist of reverse engineering several untouched specimens to end up with a set of "must have been" processes that are hard to dispute -even on a good day.

"Pumping Iron"
By the time you've finished with the kids stuff, appreciation for the basics should have a fresh appeal. Castigating all but a few "make it betters", accounts of having followed nearly every "bigger is better" scheme in existence, help to validate a call for leaving things pretty much the way they were. If nothing else, you will be obliged to think through the decision to modify what is already one of the nicest open roadsters ever produced. More and more, current owners are beginning to embrace the sage advice found between pages 25 and 31.

"Wooden Nickels"
No story of a collectable would be complete without addressing the reality of dubious pedigree. From an inherently fragile identification system, to questionable actions undertaken due to hostile environmental conditions, "Chapter Five" calls a spade a spade. Even with the printing of the "Registry", constant vigil is the only protection against duplicity. If left to do so, a few bad apples might just spoil the lot.

"Liar's Dice"
Tall tales, rumor and fading memories combine to create all sorts of amazing misinformation. "Liar's Dice" takes a humorous look at some of these silly antics, but also supplies serious facts to help clear muddied waters. As a part of that venture, the true nature of the Tiger's original 260 power plant is fully examined, along with a number of less harmful parables. One constant urban legend concerning "factory" installed 289's in a few of the final '66 cars, just won't go away. Yarns like these seem to have a life of their own, regardless of efforts to put them to rest.

"African Violets"
Imagine finding evidence that suggests the existence of a group of vehicles that no one knew anything about. How about the odds of successfully obtaining thirty-year old data from a government halfway around the world? Then consider the good fortune of contacting someone who was directly involved with the production of these cars. I'd say you'd have a pretty interesting story. In fact, it is a fascinating account that details the rarest Tigers of all. From the secretes of the Rootes CKD operation to insights from the National Motor Assemblies Works Manager, "African Violets" paints a picture never before seen.

"Stock Options
"What's stock and what's not". Next time you get into one of those long winded discussions about the way your car should be equipped, check out the pages of "Chapter Eight". Not only will you find the most complete (including pictures) listing of LAT options ever assembled, but there is also a similar section dealing with many of the original dealer options. Throughout this chapter, sidebar notes trace companion stories, providing important background information for many of the major extras.

"Rocky Mountain High"
The first "Sunbeams International" turned out to be the chance of a lifetime, but not for reasons you might suspect. As the story unravels, readers are exposed to the evolution of Harrington bodied Alpines, the one-and-only Harrington Tiger and its pretenders, plus a glimpse at the mysteries surrounding three very special Le Mans coupes. A trip from California, to Colorado, and back served to motivate the authoring of this book and for that reason alone, it was a "Rocky Mountain High".

"Here Comes the Judge
While not a complete "end-all" check list, this chapter is destined to become a default reference for serious enthusiasts. Besides getting down to the true color of things, "Here Comes the Judge" furnishes photo examples and comparisons of many subtle model variations. If you need to know the difference between '65 and '66 window crank handles, early and late grill bullets, or the layout of the MK II engine bay, you'll love these pages. Now for the first time, Tiger owners have an encyclopedia of brass tacks.

"Sign In Please"
After a brief introduction, Tiger owners are presented, via the pages of "The International Registry Of Sunbeam Tigers", a complete listing of every chassis number known to have been produced. The "registry" represents a marriage of owner data collected over the last twenty years and "factory" records, rediscovered in 1991. Combined, this resource is the only such inventory in the world. For entries that have been reported to the "registry", a complete accounting of both proprietor and Jensen details are displayed. Information covering vehicles that have not been claimed as survivors, remains withheld. If you, or someone you know owns a Sunbeam Tiger, why not make sure it is listed? To date, out of 7,085 cars produced, a mere 3,000 have made it into the archive. There are of course, many more out there, so tell your friends.

Rootes One Home