Wilfred Potter's Ford 302 V8 Powered Sunbeam Tiger

Wilfred Potter's Ford 302 V8 Powered 1966 Sunbeam Tiger

as published in British V8 Newsletter, Volume XV Issue 1, April 2007

Owner: Wilfred Potter
Model: Sunbeam Tiger
Engine: 1995 Ford 302 V8
Reconstruction performed by: Owner

I purchased the car in baskets in 1974. I moved it around for 26 years before I started the renovation. A friend, Ken, built a rotisserie for the car. I completely scraped the undercoated body by hand. Because I had several Tigers over the years, I wanted to make it easier to change the transmission. (I already planned a 5-speed for the car.) I removed the x-member frame with a cutoff wheel, and then replaced it with 2x6 square tubing tied to 2x3 side braces. A bolt-in transmission mount tied the frame back together.

The leaf springs were pitched and replaced with coilovers using the stock shock frame mounts. A narrowed Ford 8.8 Traction-Lok rear was installed, secured by tubular lower control arms to the front spring mount location. Ken made a torque arm that I ran from the rear end to the transmission mount. With the control arms, this tied the rear suspension together. The rear axle ratio @ present is 3.27:1, but initially it was 3:08:1 which I liked better. The lower ratio combined with 16" (26" tall) 215/50 tires is too low for good cruising. The trade-off is acceleration. When I had the 8.8 narrowed, I had big Ford ends installed and I bought an 11" disc kit for it.

At the front, I cut out the stock, inward curving frame rails and welded-in straight 2x4 tubing, which widened the engine compartment 4 inches. The inner fender panels and braces were cut out and replaced with 16 ga steel sheetmetal after new motor mounts were made and the upper Mustang II hats installed. Ken made a Mustang II crossmember for the Tiger's narrow track width, and narrowed the Mustang II rack & pinion to fit. Tubular A-arm, 2" dropped spindles & Alden coilovers completed the front. An aluminum radiator enclosed in 1x1 frame hoop welded to the front sheet metal and frame tied the front together. A 16" electric fan cools the 1995 Ford 302 w/5-speed. An "iditit" steering column, Wilwood triple pedals w/dual master cylinders & hydraulic clutch are the controls. A Wilwood pull type clutch slave cylinder allowed the use of the late model bellhousing and fork.

The Ford 302 engine was bored 0.030" over, balanced, and reassembled with "Twisted Wedge" aluminum heads, an F-303 cam, a 625 cfm Road Demon carburetor, a dual-plane intake manifold, and an MSD ignition (limited @ 6 thousand rpm). It produces approximately 350 horses.

For the exhaust, with the widened engine compartment I could fit blockhugger headers and 2" stainless side pipes/mufflers. After one year of driving I had the whole system ceramic coated.

The front valance is from a Ford Aspire. I cut it in two, glued flat plastic to the top, and bolted it to the car.

The completed car weighs just over two thousand pounds. That weight was achieved by removing quite a lot of steel. (Some of it was replaced with aluminum.) It's a blast to drive!

Sunbeam Tiger rotisserie restoration

rebuilding a Sunbeam Tiger frame

frame extension for the front suspension

Mustang 2 front suspension on Sunbeam Tiger

3-link rear suspension

pinion angle control brace

narrowed Ford 8.8 axle

coil-over shock absorber

three link rear suspension

Ford Aspire front air dam / valance

Sunbeam Tiger dashboard

white Rootes Group Sunbeam Tiger

at left is Wilfred's 54 Talbot Alpine V8 project

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