The Rootes Group created the Sunbeam Tiger in 1964 in order to market a more powerful sports car. It shared many of it's components with the Sunbeam Alpine, which Rootes had produced since 1959. Accordingly, the two cars have somewhat more than a superficial resemblance.
As early as the mid-seventies, STOA began to see "conversion" cars: Alpines that had been converted using Tiger components. In the late 80's, when the value of all collector cars was on the rise, it became possible to profitably create these conversions for sale as a "Tiger" to an unsuspecting buyer. STOA believes (as do many other marque clubs) that there is a difference between conversion cars and the authentic item as produced on the factory assembly line.
Due to requests from prospective buyers, STOA decided to formalize it's assistance as a club service. TAC (Tiger Authentication Committee) was created to certify Tigers deemed authentic by STOA's standards. As an aid to prospective buyers, a database of "TAC'ed" Tigers would be maintained so that an actual re-inspection would not be necessary to determine a car's authentic status.
The most critical fact discovered during TAC's technical research is that the frequent assumption that Tigers were created at the Jensen factory by converting Alpines is false. Careful side-by-side inspection of many Tigers and Alpines has revealed evidence of manufacturing techniques unique to the Tiger unibody. Along with the factory records, this confirms our belief that Tiger unibodies were always Tigers from the very beginning of the manufacturing process at British Pressed Steel.
History and Growth of TAC:
* TAC was started in the early nineties with 3 Northern California inspectors and now has inspectors on both coasts.
* Tigers were initially TAC'ed at local STOA events.
* The program expanded as Tigers were TAC'ed at many of the large interclub events (Tigers United, TE/AE, SUNI, Sunbeams Northwest).
* Special TAC events have also been held outside of STOA's local geographic area.
* As the majority of the local operable Tigers were TAC'ed, TAC on wheels was formed to provide authentication services at the homes of interested owners. This allowed certification of those Tigers "in the process of restoration" or otherwise undriveable. Interested parties may schedule an appointment by contacting the TAC chairman.
* To further our goal of being able to provide TAC services throughout the U.S., we have certified inspectors in the Pacific Tiger Club which can now TAC cars within their local area. We also have several inspectors on the East Coast who can TAC cars with the aid of an STOA Senior Inspector.
TAC inspects for:
* Authenticity: a Tiger unibody as produced on the Jensen assembly line.
TAC does not inspect for:
* Originality: a complete Tiger identical to the car as originally produced by Rootes.
* Correct ID elements (VIN, JAL, etc.)
In other words: fender flares, hood scoops, highly modified engines, custom interiors, etc. do not have any bearing on the TAC procedure. Many highly modified Tigers have been awarded TAC certificates.
Many Tigers have also been repaired using surplus Alpine body parts (such as fenders, front and/or rear clips, floor panels etc.) or by using replacement body parts made by specialty manufacturers. None of these repairs need have any bearing on authenticity as long as the original body shell is maintained.