If you’re familiar with the 60s TV show Get Smart, then you probably know that one of the cars Max drove in the show was a Sunbeam Tiger.

In the pilot episode Max can be seen getting out of a Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California, like the one in Ferris Bueller’s Day Out.

But when the series went into production the Ferrari was replaced by a red 1965 V8-powered Sunbeam Tiger.

Of the five cars in total that Max drove the Sunbeam is probably the best known.

sunbeam - get smart sitcom 1 - Time to daydream about Max’s Sunbeam
Barbara Feldon and Don Adams in Get Smart.

Described as a poor man’s Cobra, the Tiger was the cheapest way to get into a Shelby-engineered, small block, Ford-powered, two-seat British convertible in the 60s.

The Tiger could do the dash from 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds and had a top speed of 190km/h – not as fast as the brutal Cobra but still pretty good.

If you like the idea of driving a Sunbeam Tiger, you’ll get the opportunity to buy one next month at Shannons Sydney winter auction. And not just any Tiger, but one described as the best example in Australia.

The bad news is that it’s going to cost you, with the convertible expected to sell in the $100,000 to $120,000 range — maybe more.

It’s rated by the Sunbeam Owner’s Club of NSW as the ‘very best in Australia’.

Restored from bare metal in 2006, the Tiger is fitted with an extensively upgraded 347-cid Ford V8 stroker motor and four-speed manual gearbox.

Most Tigers were left-hand drive cars made for the US market but Charlie’s is an original right-hand drive car, fastidiously restored to concours standard and a multiple champion at National Sunbeam Rallies in Australia.

Given Charlie’s hot-rodding background and passion for Ford V8s it’s not surprising he was drawn to the Tiger, purchasing this example back in 2006.

sunbeam - sunbeam tiger 3 480x360 - Time to daydream about Max’s Sunbeam
Max’s car was an Alpine dressed up to look like a Tiger.

Already a known car listed in both the UK Tiger Registry (STOC) and International Tiger Registry, the car had previously been rebuilt with an upgraded 302-cid Windsor V8 for classic rallying.

A true labour of love, Charlie spent the next eight years restoring the Tiger from the ground up, having it repainted in the original Cardinal Red (paint code 39), retrimming the interior, adding new centre console, new carpets, trim, upholstery and dash timber.

Mechanically the car has been built to a very high standard, the fully balanced V8 has been stroked to 347-cid and runs alloy heads, Roller Rockers and a Roller cam, an Edelbrock RPM intake manifold and reconditioned Holley four-barrel carburettor.

The fully detailed engine bay features an upgraded alloy radiator, high-flow alloy water pump, an alternator in place of the original generator and MSD electronic ignition, along with an alloy sump.

Both the gearbox and diff have been rebuilt, while other notable features include 15-inch Minilite-style wheels, upgraded and recently refurbished brakes, driving and fog lights, wind deflector and Blaupunkt sound system.

The Tiger won every National Sunbeam Rally it entered in Australia, most recently taking out “Champion Tiger” and “Best Presented Sunbeam” at the 2018 National Rally in Stanthorpe and was always the headline car at the club’s displays at the All British Day at The Kings School, North Parramatta and the Shannons Sydney Classic.

Arguably Charlie’s proudest achievement with his beloved Tiger was travelling to the UK for the 50th Anniversary Celebrations in 2014 with his sister Barbara, scoring third place in the “Personalised Class” of the Concours d’Elegance and voted “Most Desirable Tiger” overall, an amazing achievement given the quality of Tigers present from around the world including the US, UK and Europe.

A fantastic car with nothing to spend and currently registered in NSW until March 2020, Shannons are privileged to offer Charlie Seaberg’s Tiger, with a hardtop, fitted car cover and some receipts included in the sale.

CHECKOUT: Max looked ‘smart’ in his convertible

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.