“Alpine 260” Part 1

Franck Felicite is a new member. He is the keeper of a pretty rare Tiger, an ‘Alpine 260’. We met Franck along with several other members of the Classic Sunbeam Club of France at the Le Mans Classic. This new club has a couple of other members with these rare European Tigers.

Whilst the name ‘Alpine 260’ was the name Rootes put on the programme for the New York Auto Show in April ’64, ‘Sunbeam Tiger’ had been settled on by the time the show opened. However, local brand protection (Panhard Tigre in France & Messerschmitt Tiger in Germany ) meant the name Tiger could not be used in certain European countries. So it was decreed in conjunction with Simca of France that the Tiger should be launched on the European market as the 'Alpine 260'.

The factory chassis coding system distinguished the European export version of the Tiger by using the chassis number suffix LROFE – Export (LHD), Roadster, Standard Specification, Ford Engine. As opposed to LRXFE where the ‘X’ denotes – non standard specifications ( North America ). However some LRXFE Tigers were sold in Europe and LROFE MK1’s are also found in the USA as a result of personal imports by US citizens.
LRO ‘Alpine 260’s’ carry several distinguishing marks. The most obvious external difference is that “Alpine” replaces the usual “Tiger” script found on each wing!

Another feature is the fitting to the scuttle by Simca of a second specification plate along with the chassis number being die stamped into the rib just beneath the scuttle. This long standing European regulatory requirement was prompted by distaste of any car’s ID only being as a secure as two rivets. It is interesting to speculate what might have become of many Tigers in later years had the UK adopted this standard during the Tiger production years.

The additional specification plate carries this information:


Nom du Constructeur


Importeur Distributeur


Marque: ALPINE 260

No. Motor et Chassis: B9473593 LROFE

Poids et Charge: 1476 KGS

Franck’s Tiger is a MK1 - B9473593 LROFE. It is in excellent standard condition. Also at Le Mans was another Alpine 260 of STOC member Frank Della Zuana and a MK1A Alpine 260 belonging to Joel Lebland a local from Le Mans !
Publicity photos for the MKII European launch
By 1965 Chrysler’s growing corporate control over branding and distribution is apparent in European marketing decisions. Whilst evident that the MK1Tiger was sold in the French, German and Swiss markets exclusively as the Alpine 260, it may also have been sold as the “Alpine V8” in Germany & Austria. For the Geneva Motor Show of 1965 the second work's rally Tiger - ADU 312B - was rebadged as an Alpine 260 prior to going on the stand. In other European countries such as Sweden and oddly Monaco, LROFE cars were denoted and sold as Tigers. Also several LROFE cars were ordered from the factory by US businessmen and military personnel who were based in European countries for local delivery prior to shipment to the States. I believe Norman Miller's Tiger Registry records 7 LROFE Tigers in the U.S.A that were ordered in Europe. By early 1967 and the release of the MKII in the USA, Canada and Europe, publicity material shows that the name of the European Tiger has fully changed to “Alpine V8” . Interestingly the publicity people used by ‘Rootes Motors Overseas Ltd’ merely resorted to revamped earlier art work to promote the Alpine V8.The German brochure below shows this reuse (compare with earlier brochure above), even down to not properly adjusting the MK1 headlight bezels for MKII rings !
STOC is aware of 6 Alpine 260's in France and one in Sweden. Whilst STOC has little knowledge of MKII Alpine V8’s within the club register, it is known that a few were sold in Europe bearing the Alpine script. If any of our European readers have any info on the Alpine 260 and Alpine 289 - please contact the Editor using the STOC email address.