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Homepage. This page: A further selection of images, this time featuring two-door Sunbeam Rapiers.

1. 1960 Sunbeam Rapier.

The colour photographs shown below were taken in 1970 and 1971, and feature Peter's Series III Sunbeam Rapier, a car built in 1960. These rakish cars, products of the Rootes empire, were based on the somewhat plainer Hillman Minx platform, sharing much of the design beneath the surface. The Rapier however was a two dour coupe, with stylish wraparound rear window and tiny fins on the rear wings, the latter a feature that was first introduced with the previous SII.
Sunbeam Rapier in white
The Series III Rapier, as shown above, made it's debut in 1959, and was an evolution of the Series II rather than a completely new design. The side flash, in a contrasting colour to the main body, was slimmer on the Series III - the previous car had a wider flash that incorporated the rear fins - this subtle difference can be seen in the middle brochure cover image, in the collection of views below.
Sunbeam Rapiers
It was from the inside that the main differences would be noticed, by Mr or Mrs Rapier Driver. The cabin was airier with the Series III, thanks to slimmer screen pillars and a greater glass area. Emphasising the upmarket nature of the Rapier, when compared to lowlier Minxes, the Series III buyer now benefited from a smart wooden dashboard, instead of a painted metal affair, and re-designed seating.
Under the bonnet lay the familiar 1500cc engine, a unit shared with the two door Alpine sportscar of the same era. The Series III Rapier featured an eight port aluminium cylinder head, and a perkier camshaft profile. Twin carbs, as found on the Series II, continued to be standard fitment on the new car. The net result was a small increase in engine power. Reigning in this extra 'go' were new disk brakes up front, standard fitment on both the hardtop coupe, and the convertible.

2. 1963 Sunbeam Rapier Police car.

Included amongst a collection of Police car photographs kindly sent over by Ian, was this one, featuring YNL 702, a Sunbeam Rapier finished in two-tone green and in use with the Northumberland Police service. Earlier Rapiers in use with this force were fitted with a roof box ("Police") and beacon, whereas this second version simply had the blue flashing beacon installed. The YNL registration series was introduced in May 1963. Thanks for sending this over!
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Sunbeam Rapier Police car

3. A Police version from 1964.

Also included within Ian's collection of photos was this next one, of a B-reg Rapier sporting a revised livery for 1964, ie "... off-white with the ice blue gloss flash and roof". Also note the demister panel stuck onto the rear screen.
Another Police version of the Sunbeam
Return to Old Vehicle Photos Page 7.

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