Posted on: February 21, 2015

by David Lawler

Oh, yes…what could be more relaxing than curling up with a good book, and what kind of book could be better than a Sunbeam book? Here is a review of the more popular reference standards.
These books have become reference standards because of the volumes of in forma­tion researched and documented by the authors. Information provided should be used as a reference, not as fact unless specifically certified by the by author. Remember, mere mention of details by the author does not make it fact. These books, when in print, are available from one of the marques spares vendors.

The Making of a Sports Car by Mike Taylor
In this book, Mike Taylor tells the full Tiger story-the prototypes, the complex development programme, the full production history and the car’s competition career in Europe and the United States. Produced between June 1964 and July 1967, the Tiger was aimed primarily at the American high performance sports car market, where success was still largely determined by the maxim “win on Sunday, sell on Monday.” But, despite high quality engineering by Rootes. who did the development, and by Jensen at West Bromwich, who did the testing and put the car into production, the Tiger always seemed to be beset by unfavorable circumstances. It was launched very much in the wake of Carroll Shelby’s AC Cobra … a car that posed formidable opposition. And its production coincided with a rapid deterioration in Rootes’ financial position, which ultimately resulted in the takeover by the Chrysler Corp. in 1967. As Mike Taylor shows, it was this rather than any shortcomings in performance that was responsible for the Tiger’s early demise. Mike Taylor has combined a wealth of technical detail, drawing on many of the original Experimental Road Test Reports. with a comprehensive yet often humorous narrative, The result is a very readable Tiger tale.

Although primarily written for the Tiger enthusiast. Tiger, Making Of A Sports Car’ has information relevant to Alpines too; a somewhat expanded second edition was released in 1991.

The Classic Sunbeam by Chris McGovern
This is the first book to give the full story behind the Sunbeam Alpine, one of the most successful British sports cars of the 1960s. It is also an excellent documentation of ROOTES years leading up to production of the Tiger. It was ahead of its rivals in both design and standard of manufacture, the Alpine was the brainchild of designer Kenneth Howe and the Rootes Group management. Chris McGovern has produced the first book to give a complete account of the Alpine, from its initial design to the end of production in 1968. He describes the early prototypes, the marque’s development from Series I to V, the various “hybrid” models and the competition history-both road and track. This book is considered one of the best references for Alpine and Tiger heritage.