1965 Sunbeam Tiger

Works Rally Rally Car
A bold move for RM Sotheby's paid off with $228M in Monterey
Thursday, 18 August - Saturday, 20 August
Sale Price
$150,000 - $180,000
Est. Range
20 August 2022
Sold Date
Lot Number
Competition restoration
RM Sotheby's
Auction House
Chassis number B9473705LROFE. Red with white hardtop over black vinyl. 260cid Ford V-8, 4-speed, alloy wheels, Dunlop Formula-R tires, rear-mounted spare, Hella rally lights and fog lights, roll bar, Moto-Lisa leather-wrapped steering wheel, Halda rally instruments, AutoMeter tach.

Evaluation: One of seven prepped by the Rootes Competition Department. Ran the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally, driven by Andrew Cowan but damaged after hitting a road marker and somersaulted. Then sold to factory driver Ian Lewis but by the 1970s it had a 289 engine and was converted to RHD. Reportedly restored twice, including a rebody and currently in long-stored condition. Old, scratched chrome and older paint with lots of chips on the nose. Some scrapes along the bottom of the right rocker panel, and the panel fit is a bit uneven. Pitted gas cap. Clean wheels. Tidy underbody. A fun, fast historic rally car well set up and ready to enjoy.

Bottom line: Although it had some mild success in rallying and sports car racing, the Sunbeam Tiger never became the racing phenomenon the Cobra was. This one’s checkered history and static condition also don’t help matters, and neither does the fact that it was only the fifth lot of the day while the room was still filling up. Still, at barely half its low estimate and about the cost of a nice #2 condition Mk I Tiger, one can’t help but feel that this was a serious bargain. Once sorted, it will be a vintage racer with vast potential at rallies and circuits wherever the new owner wishes to take it. Even in a high-end auction jam-packed with million-dollar metal, there are deals to be had.

by Eddy Eckart
6 September 2022
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.