Hershey | Lot 117
1963 Sunbeam Rapier Series IIIA Convertible
$8,250 USD | Sold
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
6 October 2016
- Alpine-derived series performance improvements
- Four-speed gearbox and lovely presentation
80.25 bhp, 1,592 cc OHV inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, front coil spring with swinging link suspension, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 96 in.
Built by the Rootes Group from the mid-1950s until 1976, the Sunbeam Rapier went through several revisions over the years and by 1961, the Series III variant was at the height of not only production, but its success in racing competition. Indeed, it was the primary rally car for the Rootes Group and its competition division. It was therefore no surprise that when the Sunbeam Alpine sports car received a 1,592-cubic centimeter engine in Series II guise, that this powerplant would become available in the Rapier.
The car on offer is one such Series IIIa Rapier, which was otherwise identical to its predecessor but benefited from such mechanical improvements as an aluminum cylinder head, stiffer crankshaft, larger diameter connecting rod bearings, modified oil and water pumps, larger front anti-roll bar, revised clutch, and much more. All in all, these IIIa were far more durable, with added power to boot.
Needless to say, such Rapiers are not only particularly difficult to find in North America, but discovering one in restored and lovely condition, as this one is, would be all the more extraordinary. The outfitting is truly quite luxurious in light blue upholstery with blue carpeting, a handsome wooden dash, Jaeger instrumentation, four-speed gearbox, Playmate radio, and Smith’s Fresh Air Heater. The exterior presents nicely as well in two-tone white over blue-grey with tailfins that are very much of the period, as well as a white convertible top and whitewall tires. Cosmetic restoration was carried out some years ago and while the presentation is not to concours standards, it is certainly very agreeable and the car could be shown and driven with pride.
All in all, the potential for such a Sunbeam is endless—its performance is sprightly and with seating for four and a convertible top, summer driving is bound to be delightful for the entire family!