History of the 1964 ex works Sunbeam Tiger

Jeremy’s model (The AHP 294B) features the original Ford 4.2 Litre V8 engine. It made its debut at the 1964 Geneva Rally, just three months after it was registered, where ‘Tiny’ Lewis and Barry Hughes took the controls and edged the car to victory. Heralded as the most campaigned of the seven Tiger models, highlights for this particular car include being driven by Maurice Gatsonides in the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally, as well as by Peter Harper in the 1966 Monte. Other successes include a spell of endurance racing at the Zandvoort circuit, shattering Dutch National Records in three, six, 12 and 24 hour categories where it averaged a speed of 75.47mph over the course of 23 hours, despite regularly pulling into the pit lane to be topped up with water. The car so impressed Gatsonides that he christened it “Thunderbus”.

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In 1965, AHP was forced to retire from the Alpine Rally when the car caught fire. A rear brake shoe failed and the resulting debris damaged the hydraulics sending a jet of highly flammable brake fluid onto a hot brake drum with inevitable results. In the ensuing blaze, all the fire extinguishers were used up to quell the flames and the resulting damage is part of the reason why the car was returned to the Competition Department at Rootes for a full rebuild.

Despite lying unused in the 70’s & 80’s and being prepared for classic rallying in the early 1990’s, a full (FIA spec) rebuild by HardyHall Restorations was needed. AHP is now in fine fettle and still retains many period competition features including the 288 limited slip diff, the long-range saddle tank fitted in the boot, quick-rack steering, the original works hardtop badged “1966 Marathon de la Route”, period Halda rally instruments and the fly-off handbrake specially made for Peter Harper to aid his cornering technique. Indeed all the interior trim is original, including the driver’s seat which was specially tailored to suit Peter Harper’s long-shanked frame. The car has undergone restoration and Jeremy is looking forward to competing in it at the Tour Britannia Race Series this month.

 

Tiger tales 7……

These pages have been somewhat free of Tiger tales of late – mostly due to the shell being away with the painters and us leaving them to do their bit without being pestered!! However, it seems that the painting side of the job is reaching its end, aside from re-hanging the doors. This will be completed during the coming week, and the shell should be back with Hardy Hall at the end of the week to allow the reassembly process to start.

The finished shell awaiting final fitment of the doors

The finished shell awaiting final fitment of the doors

Tiger Tales 6……

Work on the Tiger’s bodyshell is progressing at quite a rapid pace now – the shell, having been tipped on its side and the underside having been blasted, has now been carefully seam sealed and following primer, several coats of black have been applied. Meanwhile, in another part of the paintshop, the detached parts – doors, bonnet, boot lid etc have been turned from bare metal to gleaming Fiat Rosso, via primer and copious amounts of rubbing down!

Whilst it seems that the car has been taken entirely back to bare metal and totally repainted, this is in fact far from the case. Whilst the exterior paint finish was none original and not the correct colour, the interior of both the passenger compartment and boot were correct and here the original paint has been retained.

In the mechanical and fittings department,  a box of items has been delivered to us here at HVC for sorting out – ie 1 Smiths heater blower, which currently has a seized motor, a double ended SU fuel pump which will be rebuilt to keep as a spare and an original Ford starter motor which will be swapped for one of our lightweight Powerlite items.

Tiger Tales 5……

Given the holiday period and spells of decidedly cold weather, there has not been a lot to report recently, however, steps have been taken in preparing the shell for paint, in that having stripped the topside, the shell has been rolled over to allow the underside to be blasted to free it of years of underseal and other sticky nastiness so that the main structure can be inspected.

Underside of the shell being blasted free from all the old paint and underseal

Underside of the shell being blasted free from all the old paint and underseal

The underside now clear of paint

The underside now clear of paint

Meanwhile, the parts of the doors that had shown up to be rather unpleasant (mostly the leading edge of the passenger door – this car is LHD don’t forget) have now been attended to with new metal being let in where necessary.

Doors have been attended to and made sound

Doors have been attended to and made sound

Door now finished and ready for paint

Door now finished and ready for paint

Tiger Tales 4……

What do you get when you cross rusty underpinnings with POR-15??

Simples – the answer is a set of very presentable pieces of metalwork with one of the most durable commercially available and DIY applicable finishes!

Underpinnings following an encounter with POR-15

Underpinnings following an encounter with POR-15

Now that the engine has gone to Knight Racing Services for American V8 guru Peter Knight to administer his magic, the shell has gone to Classic Affairs (www.classicaffairs.co.uk) for repairs where needed and painting, and the front subframe and smaller components have been treated to cleaning and a couple of coats of POR-15 from our range. See http://www.holden.co.uk/displayAgroups.asp?sg=3&pgcode=063&sgName=Maintenance&pgName=Paint+%26+Anti-Rust for the full range. Other components are being distributed to specialists for overhaul, and should be back with us after the Christmas break.

Shell stripped for repair and paint

Shell stripped for repair and paint

Shell stripped

Shell stripped

Door edge rebuilt

Door edge rebuilt

Rather unpleasant windscreeen frame

Rather unpleasant windscreeen frame

Tiger Tales 3……

Now that the Tiger has been stripped of anything remotely mechanical, it is time for distribution of these major parts to the relevant specialist for rebuild. To this end, Jeremy has loaded the heart of the beast onto the van and taken it to Knight Racing Services (www.knightracingservices.co.uk) who are going to give it a thorough rebuild.

 

Loading the engine onto the HVC van

Loading the engine onto the HVC van

Peter Knight consulting his book of words to work out what on earth has just been left in his workshop!

Peter Knight consulting his book of words to work out what on earth has just been left in his workshop!

At the same time, the shell has been given some temporary and really quite fetching colour-coded wheels to allow it to be moved out of the workshop to allow the bodywork to commence.

Shell rolls out of the workshop

Shell rolls out of the workshop

Tiger shell on its winter wheels!

Tiger shell on its winter wheels!

Tiger Tales……

November 2014

As seen in the previous installment, the Tiger has been delivered to Hardy Hall Restorations, (www.hardyhallrestorations.co.uk) so that work can commence.

So far, following thorough inspection and photography, components have been removed in readiness to take major parts such as engine, gearbox and rear axle out of the car, thus allowing a full inspection of the bodyshell and making any work needed on these parts significantly easier!

Issues have been identified already, in that airflow to the radiator is appalling, there is no means for hot air to escape the cramped engine bay, plumbing of the oil cooler system is best described as ‘restrictive to oil flow’ and the wiring needs tidying up.

As can be seen from the selection of images below, the major mechanical lumps have now been removed from the shell (engine and gearbox are ‘dropped’ out of the bottom whilst the shell is lifted), the front sub-frame removed in one piece, complete with its wheels and the rear leaf springs unbolted and the axle rolled clear complete.