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AJ's Car of thee Day '66 Sunbeam Tiger
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Car: Sunbeam Tiger Mark I

Year: 1966

What makes it special: The Sunbeam Tiger was the high-performance V8 version of the British Rootes Group's Sunbeam Alpine roadster, designed in part by car designer and racing driver Carroll Shelby and produced from 1964 until 1967. Shelby had carried out a similar V8 conversion on the AC Cobra, and hoped to be offered the contract to produce the Tiger at his facility in America. Rootes decided instead to contract the assembly work to Jensen at West Bromwich in England, and pay Shelby a royalty on every car produced.

What made it famous: Two major versions of the Tiger were built: the Mark I from 1964–67 was fitted with the 260 cu in Ford V8; the Mark II, of which only 633 were built in the final year of Tiger production, was fitted with the larger Ford 289 cu in engine. Two prototype and extensively modified versions of the Mark I competed in the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans, but neither completed the race. Rootes also entered the Tiger in European rallies with some success. Production ended in 1967 soon after the Rootes Group was taken over by Chrysler, which did not have a suitable engine to replace the Ford V8.

Why I would want one: This is one of the wildest sports cars ever built, second only to the Shelby Cobra.

Fun fact: For two years it was the American Hot Rod Association's national record holder over a quarter-mile drag strip.

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