In 1959, Sunbeam presented the Alpine. It was a nice-looking roadster with dependable and conventional mechanicals. It came with small 1.5 or 1.7-liter four cylinders. But the company soon realized it needed more than four cylinders to compete in the sports car market. So they called Carroll Shelby and asked him to turn the docile Alpine into a performance car. The Sunbeam management figured that since Shelby was building Cobras as Euro-American hybrids, he could do the same with the modest Alpine.
So Shelby designed the Sunbeam Tiger as a muscle car version of the Alpine. He installed a Ford 260 and later a 289 V8 engine and redesigned the suspension and steering. It was the first British roadster with the proper V8 rumble delivering an impressive performance. Back in 1964, this was one of the best power roadsters money could buy. Most of the cars went to U.S. buyers. When they ended production in 1968, Sunbeam had built around 7,000 Tigers.