Sunbeam - Sunbeam Rapier
The Sunbeam Rapier was built from 1955, the first of the unitary construction models built by the Rootes Group. The Rapier name continued to be used by the Roots Group for another 20 years. The body design was the work of Raymond Loewy, a 2 door coupe with 4 seats, using the uprated Hillman 1390cc engine . The same shaped cars were introduced a year later with the Hillman Minx and Singer Gazelle. A restyled Series 2 Rapier now had a Sunbeam radiator, and this rapier was also available in convertible, while the engine was enlarged to 1500cc. The Series 3 Rapiers had many detail improvements and the engine strengthened and enlarged further to 1600cc. The Series 4 and Series 5 Rapiers were hanging in there with various improvements, including 13 inch wheels, as well as stroking the engine to 1725cc. A replacement fastback "New Rapier" appeared for 1967, which made the previous models look dated. This Sunbeam Rapier (marketed as the Sunbeam Alpine GT in the USA) continued to be produced with little change until production ended in 1976. There was also a hotted up version of the Rapier called the "H120" available from 1968 and onward with a Holbay tuned engine 1720cc engine which was good for over over 105mph, the H120 being distinguishable by its Rostyle wheels.
Tyre sizes for the Sunbeam Rapier are:
- Earlier Rapiers, Series 1,2,3 and 3A (1955 to 1963) had the 15 inch wheels fitted with tyre size 5.60x15 which is radial equivalent 165R15, and Blockley produce this 165VR15 size.
- For later Rapier models (Series 4 and 5) with 13 inch wheels from 1963 onward to 1976 (and including the RapierH120) should fit 165HR13 size tyres which Blockley produces.