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Is it worth the effort?


Senior Member
My mother has a 1962 Sunbeam Alpine that has been setting for 36 years in her garage. It had been road hard and put away wet when my dad bought the car. The PO had cutup the engine compartment to put in a V8 and gave up. The original engine is in the car but the head is in the boot.

It has mustang seats in the car. It has wire wheels but they have been painted white. It also has a hardtop attached. My mother has passed away now and since the car was originally bought for my sister, I feel that it should go to her.

She would also like to put a V8 in the car and restore it. Do you guys think that it is worth the time and money?


Jclay, we're always glad to see someone rescue one of these rare and beautiful cars.

Really, your question should be of a financial nature: are you ready to pour the right amount of money into this car to restore it? That is the question. It will be extremely easy to get "over your head" financially (e.g., restoration costs exceed the car's market value) with this car.

Tiger clones do not bring significant amounts of money in today's market, and no where near the $25-35,000 that real Tigers get. The Alpine as you describe it here may require $10,000 or more to restore, and potentially much more depending on how much of the work you do yourself.

If you have the time, skills and money to do the job, definitely go for it. Tiger clones are more fun than a barrel of monkeys to drive, and always attract a crowd of onlookers.

I hope this helps, please keep us posted (with photos!). :yesnod:


Jedi Knight
Depends on the overall condition of the car and the skill level of the person doing the conversion. A V8 into an Alpine isn't as simple as just pulling the 4cyl and stuffing it in. While it will fit doing that, the weight balance is so far off it can be a dangerous car to drive. A proper conversion requires setting the engine back by building a new tunnel, which means different steering. And the original steering isn't so hot, fixing it usually means a redesigned front suspension to get the rack aligned properly with the spindles. There's also the question of the rear end. While it's perfectly adequate for the Alpine's power it isn't if you are a "spirited" driver with a V8. And the wires will have to go as well, they just don't stand up to the power.

This is the short run through, there's much more to it than this in details. And the economic answer is, if you want a Tiger, buy a Tiger as you'll save in the long run.

So depending on how the engine compartment has been cutup I'd say look into reverting to the 4 cylinder or selling whole or in parts.


Great Pumpkin
Yes, generally, I'd leave the 4 cylinder engine in place and fix the car as is.
These days Alpines are getting rare (because so many folks have cut them up to make "Algers"), so the value of a nice, 4 cylinder Alpine has gone up.


Jedi Warrior
MikeP said:
Depends on the overall condition of the car
And the economic answer is, if you want a Tiger, buy a Tiger as you'll save in the long run.

Well Mike I may have to disagree with you.A Tiger is a Tiger and yes a clone is a clone.However a well done clone usaullly outperforms a stock Tiger due to the fact most have warmed over 302s and upgraded suspensions.
When I built my Lister I was fortunate that I could do all the work.I imagine if one had to pay for everything then buying a Tiger would be th sensible way to go.The only thing I did not do was the motor and the seats or cutting windshields..Years back I sold my stock Tiger for a price my wife thought was a heck of a lot of money.The Lister cost me 10K to build.What a blast this car is.Yes you need to modify the front to accept a rack and pinion.So what.there are ways to eliminate the ackerman angles while doing it.I have built 2 front ends with aftermarket Mustang II parts.I went to just using Mustang II spindles and rack when I did the 62 from a V6 to a nice 302 ala ford racing specs.It can scare me sometimes

The question however related to restore or V8 the car and I regret that now I have gone somewhat off the subject.


Jedi Knight
The initial description just didn't sound like someone who'd tackle it all themselves. And sending it out to be done, or doing a dangerous job when you don't know what is really requied is what I was thinking. Certainly if you're mechanical it can be done inexpensively, just don't think that would be the case here.

But, if I'm wrong about that then I am.


Jedi Warrior
MikeP said:
The initial description just didn't sound like someone who'd tackle it all themselves. And sending it out to be done, or doing a dangerous job when you don't know what is really requied is what I was thinking. Certainly if you're mechanical it can be done inexpensively, just don't think that would be the case here.

But, if I'm wrong about that then I am.

On this I agree as there is so much involved to do a V8 conversion.This why I said if you are paying to have it done a real Tiger is the better way to go.
One must have some experience to be sure.Some of my ideas for what I have done may start out one way but then it may have been changed as I wasn't happy with the first version.The idea is the same but the finished product will be much better than the first version.
I say this as doing a V8 conversion is not a bolt in type of an engine swap


Jedi Trainee
You asked whether or not it was worth it to make an Alger. As an owner of a completed version of what you've described, I have a unique perspective.

First, let's address value when it's time to sell. It is virtually impossible to complete this process and resell the finishd product for a profit. Even assuming that your sister has all the mechanical and engineering ability to do all the work herself (or has somemone willing and able to donate these services), the money put into it will almost certainly exceed the sale price. Of course if she has unlimited resources and/or wants to keep it forever, this isn't as much of a concern.

Second, we need to know what her intentions are with the vehicle. If she wants a car that she can take to shows, parades, cruise nights, and the occassional pleasure drive, it would do well. If she thinks that she wants it to be a daily driver, or if she's just going to shut it in the garage, it would not be worth it.

Third, we need to know her patience level. A good rule of thumb is to figure out how much you think the project will cost and take, then double the cost figure and triple the time. Also, understand that, while we love our suppliers, the list of parts that are no longer available grows every year. Because the Alpine and Tiger originally sold in relatively small volumes, there are relatively few of us that are seeking to buy parts, compared with Camero or Mustang owners, so there is a correspondingly smaller parts availability.

I'm not trying to discourage your sister from taking on this project. I'll cheer every step of the way if she decides to pursue it. The reality is that for every completed project, there's another project that was abandoned part-way through.

I understand having a sentimental attachment to a vehicle becuase of a family connection. Just make sure that she has the time, money, and patience to commit to the project before undertaking it. If you would like to talk to my builder, I'd be happy to give you his number. Just email me at pmenhusen at stateexchange dot net. I also have a list of all the companies and individuals that supplied parts, which I would be happy to share.

Also, make sure that the title can be transfered into your sister's name. Don't spend a dime on the project until you're sure you can get clear title.

Best wishes


Senior Member
Hi, Guys,

I have finally gotten all the junk off the car, enough for me to get a good look at what is going on.

First, it is a rust free car.
Second, the head is on the engine, but the carbs are just sitting on the intake, not bolted.
Third, a section over the radiator cover between the hinges has been badly cut away.
Forth, the bonnet and the boot lid will have to have body work, but the rest of the panels are straight.
Fifth, it will need a whole new interior.

Now, that being said, IF it were my car, which it is not, I would restore it and I have no qualms in my ability to do so. https://web.me.com/jclaythompson/Site/Welcome.html This is my sister's car. She seems to be attached to this car that has never run. (Hum?)

Anyway, I gave all the paper work I had to my sister before she flew back to California. Patience? Not a drop! She has absolutely none! I will get all of my mother's junk from around the car and air up the tires. After that, it is her car and her project. I will wash my hands and feet of it. If the probate closes and it is still in the garage, then it will become mine.

Right now, I am tied up trying to start my mother's 1975 Cadillac Sedan De Ville that has not been started since 1992.


Darth Vader
Country flag
My condolences on your mom dying, mine died recently as well. Good luck with it all. --elrey


Jedi Warrior
Well I think a V8 conversion is worth it.

While leaving a car show with my 62 today I mamanged to give a little more pedal than usual.I was pulling my Sunbeam trailer and still had tire squeal

Our condolences about loosing parents.We have been through that and worse.
Children are not supposed to die before parents



Senior Member
Well, my sister bought one that already is made. We will put the hardtop on the new car. I am not sure what she will do with the other car. I would like to see it put back to original, but that is just me.
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