Bruce H 1964 Sunbeam Tiger Mk I 2dr Convertible

Bug Pie.

My first car was a used 1965 Sunbeam Tiger which I purchased, after years of saving, just after high school graduation. Thru high school a friend had a Sunbeam Alpine which we worked on quite often in his parent's garage. I thought nothing of it at the time but in retrospect I can imagine the patience - tempered disgust running thru his mom and dad as we took up their parking space and trashed the interior with oil, brake fluid, 90 weight lube, parts, paint, bolts, screws, tools (not ours, of course), and all the items piled high when two 17 year olds learn how to work on a car.

The Alpine was taken on drives, at varying speeds, some of which may have accidentally been below the speed limit. We'd practice 4 wheel drifts and even had a favorite hilltop where we would "get air", see how far we could fly. But, that story I'll save for another time. Let's return to the Tiger.

Once the Tiger arrived on the scene similar expeditions were taken and the Tiger, 'tho basically stock, never had the problem of accidentally going below the speed limit. I put on wider wheels, performance tires, Koni shocks, more efficient carb, and a few other bells and whistles. Other cars would want to play: A Cortina, perhaps, an MGB, sometimes a 911 Porsche, maybe some guy in his sister's 289 Comet. Some of those could catch up in a series of turns, but there is never a place, outside of an autocross, that is only turns. I'd watch their headlights grow smaller in my rear view mirror.

Which leads me, finally, to Bug Pie. Going on long drives was a common pastime. I lived in the L.A. area at the time and we'd fairly often run the the mountain roads north of the city, usually continuing over into the desert. There are lots of long, very deserted roads there, a good place to see how fast we could go. At the end of the evening we'd stop in a favorite remote diner and have pie and coffee, before the run home. Soooo, one night.....

We took turns driving. Once up to about 120 mph, the passenger would undo his seat belt, grab the top of the windshield, (the top was ALWAYS down) stand up, and enjoy the experience of the roaring, hissing wind in your face, the air trying to force your mouth open, your hair jet streaming straight back - it was energetic bliss. Now, listen: was that a stupid thing to do? Yes. Was it dangerous? Very. Should anyone else try this? No. But, we survived such idiocies and I'm thus glad I did it. And can tell this story.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, Bug Pie. So, there we were, flying along at 120, my friend whooping it up, when I for a split second, ahead in my driving lights, saw a whirling group of fluttery dots. No time to speak or react, the whirling dots, actually a group of moths out for a fun night in the desert, poor things, streaked into my friend, still standing there at 120 mph. I heard an extremely quick series of smack/slap sounds whereupon my bud let out a scream, grabbed his forehead, and sat down in a heap, while mildly moaning and babbling away about an asteroid hit. His face was covered in goo and slime. I quickly slowed down, mostly because I was laughing so hard I could barely steer. I hadn't previously known he could swear like that.

After awhile we pulled into the parking lot of the remote diner, went in for our customary slice of pie and cup of coffee. After we sat, i got my first good look at Rick. It was stupendous. He had dried bug parts all across his t-shirt and best yet had a large, red welt above his right eye. A big one. Plus remnants of desert dry, slimy bug goo, previously smeared across his entire face. Our pie and coffee arrived, we talked about our night's adventure, and as he waved his arms around while describing his experience, pieces of dead bug kept falling off his shirt, landing in his, by now, Bug Pie. He couldn't understand why people kept staring at him.

As a post note, I later sold my Tiger, regretted it, moved to Colorado in 1976, and in '84 bought another Tiger which I still have to this day. It goes into the mountains, as before. Now, 'tho I keep my 120 mph adventures reserved for High Plains Raceway. No more unbelted passengers at top speed. No. Then again.......David is pretty gullible........let me get back to you about that.

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