Last revised: 26-1-2009

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Sunbeam Tiger 1964-1967: the other predator


If there ever was a sports car that was completely overshadowed by a similar offering by another manufacturer it must have been the Sunbeam Tiger. It featured the same concept as the AC Shelby Cobra, it was conceived and developed by much the same team lead by Carroll Shelby and was powered by the same engine as the Cobra; it only appeared a few years later. Though its heritage seems identical to that of the Cobra it was by no means a copy, in fact it was quite a different car with other qualities and successfully sold to an other segment of the market than the Cobra.
In a way it's strange that the Cobra is so much more lustrous and revered than the Tiger. The Tiger was a far more successful car, more affordable, more modern, easier to drive and even a competitive contender in all sorts of races. Still it died a quiet death in the late 1960s at the hands of a corporate take-over. Since then nobody really bothered to make a Tiger kit-car or official replica, except for the occasional fake to fool the onlooker or prospective buyer, in total contrast to the fate of the Cobra which was taken out of production around the same time but lived on in numerous replicas and alike.
So why is that? What made the Tiger less famous than the Cobra or even the Shelby GT Mustangs? It's not an easy answer to give but perhaps this tour around the Sunbeam Tiger will give you some clues.

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