The Powerful 1965 Sunbeam Tiger MK-I Sports Car

The 1965 Sunbeam Tiger MK-I is a classic and it's rare. Only 7,083 were built from 1964 to 1967. The Sunbeam Tiger I came with a 260 cubic inch Ford V-8 and a four speed manual transmission. The Sunbeam Tiger produced by the Rootes Group, a UK automaker founded in 1913 by Sir William Rootes, was small and powerful and was probably one of the better sports car values during the 1960's. The 1964 Sunbeam Tiger had a base price of about $3,500.

sunbeam tiger

1965 Sunbeam Tiger MK-1

An interesting side note was that the Rootes Group also built several other automobiles including the Talbot, Hillman, Humber, and Singer.

The Carroll Shelby Touch

The case with Sunbeam was that they had a popular sports car in the Alpine which was introduced in 1959  but it wasn't a powerful sports car. The company was well aware of the work of Carroll Shelby with the small AC Cobra and the Ford V-8. Shelby's 1962 Cobra was really the inspiration for the Sunbeam Tiger which itself was essentially a powerful Sunbeam Alpine. Shelby developed a sports car in America that some at the Rootes Group wanted as well.

There were two prototypes constructed using Sunbeam Alpine shells. One was built by Carroll Shelby and the other by Ken Miles. Shelby's car, after a drive by Rootes Group executives around Los Angeles, was shipped to England.  Lord Rootes after taking a test drive himself made the almost instant decision to proceed with production which was a bit out of character for him. Shelby's prototype unlike that of Miles used a four speed manual transmission.

sunbeam tiger mk 1

Rear view of the Tiger MK-1

Carroll Shelby's hand in designing the Sunbeam Tiger is not nearly as well known as is his work with the AC Cobra and the Ford Mustang.

The biggest challenge of how to fit a large and powerful engine into a small British car body. The Sunbeam Tiger ended up being a sports car with twice the power of a Sunbeam Alpine with only about twenty-percent more weight. That's a huge distinction between the two somewhat similar yet far different Sunbeam models.

It was reported that Carroll Shelby desired to produce the U.S. version of the Tiger himself but his close ties with Ford kept all production in Britain.

The Sunbeam Tiger II

The Sunbeam Tiger II came out in 1967 and it held a larger Ford 289 cubic inch V-8 delivering 20  horsepower. The Sunbeam Tiger II also had some design changes which included unique headlight trim, an egg-crate grille, and lower body striping.

The company was having difficulty about the time that the Tiger II came out and the smaller Rootes Group was ultimately purchased by Chrysler. The Tiger II was the last Sunbeam Tiger model built since Chrysler was not going to promote an automobile with a Ford engine and the Chrysler engine was just too big for the Tiger body.

1965 Sunbeam Tiger II Specifications

As mentioned above, the Sunbeam Tiger I was produced with a 260 cubic inch Ford V-8 engine. That engine delivered 164 horsepower. The more powerful Sunbeam Tiger II which was introduced in 1967 had the Ford 289 cubic inch V-8 putting out 200 horsepower. The Tiger MK-1 was rated with a top speed of 118 MPH.

Transmissions on all Sunbeam Tiger's was a four speed manual.

Brakes were front wheel disc and rear wheel drum.

The Sunbeam Tiger MK-1 dimensions included a wheelbase of 86.0 inches, a length of 156.0 inches, a width of 60.5 inches and a height of 51.5 inches. Curb weight was about 2,565 lbs.

You may also enjoy the AutoMuseumOnline stories on the links below...

The Sporty 1959 Triumph TR3A

The 1959 MG / MGA Convertible

The Powerful 1974 MG / BGT V-8

A good book available regarding the automobiles produced by the Rootes Group is...Cars of the Rootes Group/ Hillman, Humber, Singer, Sunbeam, Sunbeam Talbot (Marques & Models) by author Graham Robson.

The Sunbeam Tiger Collector Car

sunbeam tiger carroll shelby

Another view of the 65 Sunbeam Tiger

As mentioned above, the Sunbeam Tiger, both the MK-1 and MK-2, did not have the publicity that the AC Cobra and Ford Mustang had in regards to their Carroll Shelby connection. Carroll Shelby was the master of fitting a powerful V-8 engine into a small British car body.

Because of this a case can be made that the Sunbeam Tiger might be one of the best 1960's sports car collector values.

As of this writing, asking prices for original restored Sunbeam Tigers in mint condition start in the high $20,000 range into the museum quality $70,000 plus area. High priced models should have a certificate of authenticity from the Sunbeam Tiger Owners Association. Prices vary greatly due to originality and overall condition. The later Mark II Tigers that were made near the end of production are even rarer. One restored original model was advertised for $150,000.

1965 sunbeam tiger interior photo

View of the interior and dashboard on the 65 Sunbeam Tiger

A few of the Sunbeam associations and clubs include the one mentioned above, the Sunbeam Tiger Owners Association which dates back to 1969, the California Association of Sunbeam Tiger Owners, the Pacific Tiger Club from Washington State and the Sunbeam Tiger Owners Club in the U.K. Associations and clubs such as these usually offer forums and technical tips for Tiger owners.


(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

A True Muscle Car / The 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk


1958 studebaker golden hawk

1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk

The 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk featured in this article was built only as a two door hard top and came with a supercharged engine.

Studebaker began their Hawk Series of automobiles in 1956 and the design represented something very different from the norm. When the Studebaker Golden Hawk first came out it was the top of the line. Models below it were the Power Hawk, Flight Hawk and Sky Hawk.

The Studebaker Muscle Car

In 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk was competing against performance cars like the Chevy Corvette and the Ford Thunderbird. Studebaker's answer was a larger more powerful automobile with the Golden Hawk. Many would say that the Golden Hawk and the Chrysler 300B helped usher in the muscle car era.

golden hawk tail fins

Classic tail fins on the 58 Golden Hawk

The 1956-58 Golden Hawks were an example of Studebaker’s innovative thinking and creative design work. The Golden Hawks from 1957 to 1958 were the best performing Hawks until the Avanti was introduced by Studebaker in 1963.

An interesting article from the July 1956 Speed Age magazine reported on a test of the Studebaker Golden Hawk against the Chrysler 300 B, Ford Thunderbird, and Chevrolet Corvette. The results of this particular test determined that the Golden Hawk could out perform the others comfortably in both Zero-60 mph acceleration and quarter mile times.One could say that this proved that the Golden Hawk was a true muscle car. I also heard it said that the Golden Hawk was the sexiest car ever made in America. You be the judge.

58 golden hawk

rear view of the 58 Golden Hawk

Designer Raymond Lowery

Raymond Lowery, one of the most influential designers of the 20th century,  designed the Studebaker Golden Hawk. In addition to automobiles, Raymond Lowery was also America's most famous industrial designer whose designs included locomotives, the iconic Coca-Cola glass bottle, the Shell Oil logo, various household appliances and the stylish Greyhound Scenic Cruiser bus. This is only a partial list...Lowery designed much more.

In designing the Studebaker Golden Hawk Lowery created a masterpiece. It's almost that the models were so streamlined that they seemed from another era.

With the 1958 models you'll see a fiberglass overlay on the hood that was needed along with a hole in the hood underneath it to clear the supercharger which was mounted at the top front of the engine.

The Golden Hawk's tail fins were larger and concave on the sides with chrome trim as an outline. They were also painted a contrasting color which added a lot of eye appeal. The 58 Golden Hawk had 14 inch  wheels instead of 15 inch which made the car ride lower. If the buyer wanted the 15 inch wheels he/she could still order them as an option.

The 1958 Recession and the End of the Golden Hawk

The year 1958 saw the country in a recession and it took it's toll on most automakers especially those on the high price end and the Golden Hawk was one of those. As a result of the recession only 878 Golden Hawk's were sold that year. Beginning in 1959 the only Studebaker Hawk model left was the Silver Hawk. In 1960 the model was simply named the Studebaker Hawk.

1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk Specifications

The 58 Studebaker Golden Hawk came with a 289 cubic inch V-8 engine with a McCulloch Supercharger that put out 275 horsepower. The car was rated for Zero to 60 in 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 125 MPH. The 1957 and 1958 Golden Hawk's did not have the heavier Packard engine as was on the 56 models. The new 289 supercharged engine weighed some 180 lbs less than the old Packard 352 and really improved the car's power to weight ratio.

The 58 Golden Hawk had a wheelbase of 120.5 inches. Curb weight came in at 3,470 lbs.

The new car price for the 1958 Golden Hawk averaged about $3,300.

You may enjoy the additional AutoMuseumOnline Studebaker articles on the links below...

The 1951 Studebaker Commander Convertible

The 1953 Studebaker Champion

The 1955 Studebaker President Speedster

Also see our article....Antique and Classic Car Vin's/Serial Numbers

studebaker golden hawk supercharger

Golden Hawk hood with the fiberglass riser to accommodate the supercharger

Studebaker Golden Hawks Make Great Collector Cars

The Studebaker Golden Hawk years represented a milestone for Studebaker. Designs changed radically as did performance. The Raymond Lowery Studios did some of their best automotive design work with the Studebaker Hawks.

The 1957-58 Golden Hawks were muscle cars in the true sense of the word and this in itself make these models popular collector cars. These automobiles outperformed the Corvette and Thunderbird in certain aspects.

With this being said, as of this writing, the Studebaker Golden Hawk is a very popular collector car with plenty of stories attached to it. Restored Golden Hawks will turn heads wherever they go.

studebaker golden hawk interior

Dashboard on the 58 Studebaker Golden Hawk

As of today, Studebaker Golden Hawk models that are for sale have a variety of asking prices and they are directly tied to degree of restoration, if any, originality, mileage, possible rust and mechanical condition in general. Restored Golden Hawk's in mint condition might be found in the $50,000 to $70,000 range.. Project cars if you can find one may be under $10,000.

The 1957 and 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawks with their supercharged engines appear to be the most in demand by collectors.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)