Sunbeam Tiger Stories

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Submitted by MICHAEL SNAY (12/19/04):
"I was being measured, fitted and shoe horned into a future Tiger long before I knew it. In 63 the Stinking Chevys were hammering the Fords at Lions International Race Track in Santa Maria. I backed the minority few in the bleachers for Ford. Dad was running a big block Merc Marauder and doing well against the sleds. Then it happened. The crowd favorite 63 fuel injected split window black Corvette was pitted against a woman driving an new 260 AC Cobra?? The announcer made a bigger deal than normal because a girl of all things was driving the funny little Cobra. Ford powered no less?? I mean how embarrassing, another Ford to go down to the P&H Dynomotive 63 split window black Corvette. And to heap insult a woman would drive the Ford.

Off the line the little Cobra sounded bad and had a slight edge. Then the lady missed a shift with second gear and ahead shot the Vette. I took a deep breath and got ready for another Ford trouncing. But when she found the gear and ran the undefeated black Chevy down the crown was stunned and silent. I turned around and yelled, "Ford rules".  That nearly started a fight with arch rival Chevy fans in the bleachers.

Pop's Merc and that Cobra had unknowingly set the stage for the Tiger and it came on a sunny day. We had the 170 c.i. Falcon wagon working hard at 72 mph. High school friend Darrel loved Fords like me and his Falcon was his poor boy college ride. We just went under the overpass at Buellton, CA heading north when Darrel said, "Holy @#*!+*#@*", the first time I ever heard my friend cuss. His eyes were open so wide on the rear view-mirror that any wider, his eyeballs would have fallen out of his head. The hair went up on the back of my neck, I snapped around expecting to see the (pigs) period correct language for Hwy Patrol. Instead I saw something new coming like a missile and pulling up its front end when shifting. It went by us in the fast lane at what seemed a blur, twice our speed. We struggled back and forth in excitement trying to identify this compact nasty roar with amazing speed that had entered from the on ramp and over taken us with insane ferocity. Darrel decided it must be the car he had heard and read about. The "V-8 Sunbeam Tiger".

Thoughts of the Merc and Cobra could be held back no more, and a lightning bolt-like bolt feeling burned itself into my very being. A Tiger would be mine someday. I promised myself that day to own this electrifying car. Years later always in enjoyment and sometimes in stealth-like driving, I keep an eye out for that P&H Dynomotive black Corvette. I haven't found the Vette yet. No matter, I found my dream. Thanks!"

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