Given that the products have the same name, one might be inclined to think that since International Harvester and Crosley made both automobiles and kitchen appliances, that the Sunbeam Tiger was a cousin to the Mixmaster mixer or was possibly offered with an optional automatic toaster.
As delightful as the image of a center console armrest with built in waffle iron might be, and trust me it sounds as absolutely delightful as a manifold-mounted maple syrup warmer, this never happened because Sunbeam appliances bear no relationship to the Sunbeam automobile. I know, it was a devastating realization to me too.
Here’s how my slightly warped sense of reality pictured it: it’s a lovely 78 degree spring day, and I’m motoring my mid-1960’s Sunbeam Tiger down country lanes freshly budding with new growth. The Ford V-8 is rumbling it’s baritone soto voce while your maple syrup and butter warmers under the hood heat your condiments to perfection, and wafts the sweet maple-buttery goodness toward the passenger compartment. Such is the benefit of the front-engine automobile.
Meanwhile between driver and passenger, the waffle iron powered by an ingenious exhaust gas heat exchange mechanism not only serves up a light and crispy waffle in about 4 minutes (depending on what gear you are driving in and average RPM’s) but also as the precursor for the modern-day center console. I mean, where did you think that came from anyway?
In a simpler time when there was no cell phones and life took on a much more leisurely pace, one could mix up some waffle batter in your drive shaft driven Mixmaster, simply wait for the syrup and butter to melt (you’ll know when it’s ready by the aroma), pour the batter into your armrest, and in no time flat you were ready to eat.
Because the cadence of life wasn’t the hectic noise-filled 24/7 melange of cable news and soccer mommery that characterizes our daily routine now, one could just pull over to the side of the road, spread the picnic blanket, pop the hood to access your liquid gold, and pour just a little too much butter and far too much syrup on your freshly made waffle. Cleanup was a snap in those days, which is to say, one could just leave all the trash where it lay and leave. Not everything was perfect, but you take the good with the bad.
Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if I was the writer of history, and not just of an auto blog? Perhaps not, but breakfast would surely be much better for many and far more leisurely and interesting.
But after breakfast in your Sunbeam Tiger, life can be a whole lot less leisurely and a whole lot more, uh…hustle-y. Because it is a sports car after all, that means there’s some getting up and going happening.
Like the AC Cobra, the Sunbeam Tiger was an amalgamation of a small British sports car plus a Ford V8 engine shoehorned into it by none other than Caroll Shelby. Of course the larger of engines was able to be stuffed into the Cobra in the form of the 427 cu inch syrup warmer. Clearly buttering up the engine compartment was necessary to get that massive V8 into that little car. I will spare your delicate sensibilities by curtailing the “Last Tango In Paris” commentary.
Ahem. Okay slightly awkward moment there.
Where was I? Well whatever. The Sunbeam shockingly wasn’t manufactured by a company named Sunbeam at all. It was actually brought to market by the Rootes Group (a British car manufacturer going back to the 1920’s) that was acquired by Chrysler at about the time that the last of the Tigers were rolling off the assembly line and pouncing into the world.
Another interesting factoid about this little ray of light was that for two years it was the American Hot Rod Association’s record holder for the quarter mile. Which is saying something, although by today’s standards the 0-60 times are what one might call “chill”. But then again that’s what you get for a car with a butter and syrup warmer in the engine compartment, a waffle iron for a center console, and a Mixmaster running off the drive shaft.
It didn’t have those things, we call that “artistic license” in the writing-stuff world.
Coming back into the less cuckoo world of reality (but you can be the judge), this Sunbeam Tiger has been modified with a 347 cu in stroker engine with aluminum heads. Seller states that it is built to 375 HP specs and is a reliable vehicle. This chipper Brit has a Doug Nash 5-speed and a 9 inch Lincoln rear with rear disc brakes.
Keep in mind that the original car of this vintage came with a 260 cubic inch engine which put out 164 HP. This pushed the 2,600-pounder from 0-60 in about 8.6 seconds. Like those triathletes who start training late in life, I would suspect this little Tiger has a bit more pep in it’s step than it had when it was a young pup. This, given that the HP has more than doubled and who knows what the torque situation is. Do your own research on that one.
The car has only been driven 400 miles since completion of the rebuild which is kinda nice. As an added bonus, it’s a California car and thus has had no rust, has been refinished with Axalta Chroma base and clearcoat, and has what appears to be a very nicely done interior. Asking price for this baby is an even $60K.
Contact the seller of this Sunbeam Tiger (sans waffle iron, mixer, and condiment warmers) HERE on craigslist. And pssst, don’t mention the appliances…