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Join the Club: Sunbeam Tiger Club

by Richard Dredge
8 August 2022 3 min read
Join the Club: Sunbeam Tiger Club
Photos: Sunbeam Tiger Club

Proving that understated ‘Q’ cars are nothing new, the V8-powered Sunbeam Tiger was launched way back in 1964, looking little different from the four-cylinder Alpine that sired it. Packing a Ford V8 punch it was a very different animal however, which is why several UK police forces ordered them for their motorway fleet. Over the next three years just over 7000 Tigers would be made, largely for the North American market. Rootes was compelled to end the Tiger’s short life in 1967 because of upcoming Federal safety and pollution laws, and when Chrysler took over the Rootes empire in January 1967 it didn’t want to be making a car with a rival’s engine.

Less than a decade after Tiger production ended, the Sunbeam Tiger Owners’ Club was established in 1975, to cater for all Tiger enthusiasts, whether or not they were an owner. Club secretary Andrew Yates tells Hagerty: “The Club exists to give owners as much assistance as it can, to help them maintain their Tigers and encourage restoration and preservation of the marque. Technical advice and assistance with obtaining cars and spares is provided, and we do all we can to promote the enjoyment and survival of these remarkable cars. But we also cater for the enthusiast and the budding future owner; everyone is welcome.”

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Events and motor sport

Sunbeam Tiger racing

The Sunbeam Tiger Club’s flagship event is its annual national rally, where as much as a quarter of the club’s membership turns out, which is impressive given that 5-10 per cent is often considered a result by other owners’ groups. The club also puts on – and takes part in – a raft of other events around the UK. Andrew Yates adds: “We run local monthly social meets and include club tours in the UK and Europe.

“The Club is active across all fields of motor sport. The Tiger has proven to be a very competitive circuit racer as well as being ideal for classic rallying. Many members compete in top-level British and international events. Our competition section, Team Tiger, is very active and in 2007 and 2009 Team Tiger won the Individual and Team crowns of the Aston Martin Owners’ Club Intermarque Championship. There is strong interest in supporting ex-works Competition Department cars in prestigious events such as the Goodwood Revival, the Le Mans Classic and the Spa Six Hours. The Tiger also competes in all of the top historic rally events such as the Tour to Monte Carlo, HERO events and the Monte Carlo Historic.”

Key initiatives

Sunbeam Tiger Club

It’s reckoned that about 600 Tigers survive in the UK, which is an impressively high rate. The Sunbeam Tiger Club has 350 members in the UK as well as internationally, and it works closely with other international Tiger and Sunbeam clubs, exchanging data, newsletters, comparing national registers of cars, pursuing authenticity claims and so forth. The Club is also a supporter of the Rootes Archive Centre Trust which is based in Banbury, Oxfordshire, and this allows it to keep in close contact with all of the other Rootes car clubs.

A register of Tigers was first published by the club in 1989, and the latest 40-page A4 booklet issued in 2020 is the most comprehensive and authoritative compendium of Tigers in the UK. It lists information about the entire production run of home-market Tigers, every known Tiger within the club’s membership (UK and international) and also every Tiger known to be in the UK. So if you’re trying to piece together the history of your Tiger, this is a great resource.

Other benefits

Sunbeam Tiger Club

The Sunbeam Tiger Club produces an award-winning quarterly magazine, in an unusual A4 landscape format. Called Cat’s Whiskers, the publication is professionally produced and as you’d expect it keeps members informed of what’s going on within the club, but it also contains lots of retrospectives and pieces of historical interest, so it’s more of a cross between a club magazine and a mainstream publication.

There’s a raft of other useful resources on the club website, including a classified section full of cars and parts for sale, and a forum, plus there’s a growing following on Facebook.

Need to know: Sunbeam Tiger Club

Founded: 1975
Current membership: 350
Membership fees: £36pa (UK), £41pa (overseas)
Regional groups: Yes
Publications: Cat’s Whiskers
Club website: sunbeamtiger.co.uk
Facebook: Sunbeam Tiger UK

Read more

The Sunbeam Tiger is NOT the poor man’s Cobra | Buyer’s Guide
Sunbeam Tiger 50th Anniversary
Join the Club: Mercedes-Benz Club

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