View Full Version : Sunbeams at auction

08-11-2005, 11:38 AM
The Sunbeam Harrington LeMans that won its class at LeMans will be auctioned by Bonhams on 9/16/05. At RM's auction in Monterey on 8/19&8/20, they are auctioning a "Sunbeam Tiger Coupe"(it looks like a Harrington w/Tiger trim). I was unaware that they made such a car. If anyone has information on either of these cars, I'd appreciate hearing from you. Anyone care to speculate what these cars will bring?

08-11-2005, 12:48 PM
I found the following reference to a Harrington Tiger on the Tigers United Website TIGERS UNITED HERE (https://www.tigersunited.com/history/pioneers.asp) Seems there was at least one.

Thomas Harrington - Harrington GT Tiger
Builder of special bodied fast-back Alpines, in close association with the factory or relatives of Lord Rootes. A single Harrington Tiger coupe was reported to have been assembled. the Alpine design was introduced in June, 1961, and the company was taken over by Robins and Day (controlled by the Rootes family). A reputed "few" Sunbeam Harrington prototypes, of the same body style as the Tiger, were built. The Harrington company was taken over by the Robins and Day organization, with ownership by the Rootes family, who were also Rootes car distributors, before the first, Harrington Alpine was built. A singularly rare car, the only Harrington Tiger ever built, is presently owned by Bill Van Velkinburg.

08-22-2005, 01:02 PM
Did anyone attend the RM auction in Monterey or see a report of what the Sunbeam sold for?

08-22-2005, 06:03 PM
I attended the RM auction this past weekend. The 1965 Sunbeam Harrington Tiger GT sold for $75,000 plus commission. RM's pre-auction price estimate was $140 to $160,000 (i.e. less than half the current price of a Hemi Cuda'...try not to make sense of it all) and the reserve bid was pulled at $75,000 when the bidding stalled at that level and went no further. There were only 2 bidders - the room showed no interest in the car despite its pristine condition and undisputed pedigree, including a Pebble Beach Concours appearance. I believe that the crowd was simply more interested in the myriad of other opportunities - perhaps this was not the right auction for this RHD car? The crowd was more interested in the E-Types, big Healys and Cobras.

08-22-2005, 08:33 PM
Septet... Calgary? Very small world...

I just wish I had enough money to even go down to Monterey to attend... A little too rich for me right now.

08-22-2005, 08:33 PM
Sad. Seemed like a great car, well somebody got a deal.

08-22-2005, 11:59 PM
Sherlock in Calgary - Perhaps you will get a chance to see the Harrington Tiger Coupe at the Stanley Park International car show in September, if it is here by then. It might be parked beside Dick A.'s racing Tiger (no, he did not buy the one we are talking about here). I find it odd that a one of a kind factory works Harrington Coupe - the rarest Tiger in the world - could struggle in Monterey when across the street Russo and Steele managed to pry a $295,000 bid (then add 10% commission) for a 65 Shelby Mustang, which was a beauty but had a number of flaws. For the last 23 years the Harrington Coupe has been owned by one of the purest and most sincere enthusiasts that I have ever not met (we did not connect in Monterey). All you had to do was take a look at how he prepared his car for sale to know that he was the real deal (nice to see in an auction filled with dealers). For example - the gentleman delivered a couple of trophies (including his 1990 Pebble Beach Trophy), an awesome thick scrapbook history of the marque and this particular unique car (obviously prepared for the new owner, in order to carry on the provenance), a home made MOVIE on DVD entitled "Adventures With Harry - A Saga of a Love Affair with the Sunbeam Harrington Tiger", spare parts, handwritten instructions as to how to properly open the hatch, how to put down the sunvisors properly (they have sun in Sacramento), several signed pictures of Carroll Shelby leaning on the car - and I can go on and on -wow, what a wonderful person in general and what a wonderful person to buy this stunning car from. He has even phoned to make sure that the buyer gets ALL the spare parts and understands what they are. The car is simply the best stock Concours Tiger I have ever seen (I am a Shelby Mustang guy, so won't profess to being remotely expert on Tigers). Every buyer at Monterey had the opportunity to meet the owner and scope his and the car's impeccable credentials and even do their own sleuth work on the internet pre-auction. Yet, there wasn't much interest in this apparently immaculate car. My guess is that there was so much else of interest in the various weekend auctions that the Harrington Tiger simply got buried. The RHD configuration and estimated price range of $140 - $160,000 probably scared away most potential buyers who would have expected a "Tiger" to sell at a fraction of that price and perhaps would have thought that there was no such thing as a Harrington Tiger or a Le Mans Lister Tiger. Tigers are special cars with beauty, performance, history and relative rarity - and they have a wildly enthusiastic club following not unlike the Cobra/Shelby clubs. They are clearly a collectible car. They have to appreciate in value, and I think that value will accelerate soon, as it makes no sense for such a great sports car to underperform (on the auction block) the amazing price appreciation underway for so many other marques (its not just the American straight line muscle that is going through the roof - Monterey brought some terrific Jaguar, Astin Martin and Austin Healey prices too). Perhaps the price paid for the Harrington Tiger reflects just that - a quantum move in Tiger value - however against what do you compare this amazing Tiger's value?

08-24-2005, 08:23 PM

Are you going to Vintage on the Prairies race meet this weekend? [Race City Speedway]

It's semi-pathetic compared to the big race meets, but at least it's local... I plan to be there for most of the weekend.

And to stay semi-on-topic with this forum, there will likely be a pair of racing Sunbeam Tiger's there... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

08-25-2005, 03:49 PM
Sherlock - Will not be at the track but hope to make Stanley Park next month.

09-13-2005, 02:00 PM

Hope that canted roll bar occurred via intent rather than wheels up :-)))!

10-03-2005, 08:22 PM
BTW< the Harrington that ran at LeMans in 1961 fetched almost 100k.
Nice car with a neat history. I bet Clive Harrington is going to miss it.

I wonder who ended up with the car... and will we ever see it run in the U.S.?

Steve Silverstein
www.racingalpines.org (https://www.racingalpines.org)