1963 Sunbeam Rapier 3A Convertible Rootes Group
Registration number: 8019PK
A once in a life time opportunity to acquire a UNIQUE factory special 1963 Rootes group Sunbeam Rapier 3A convertible. This superb example will grace any collection, in this condition they are very rare and almost impossible to find.
You will not find another factory special order convertible, this is as close as you will get to acquiring an almost new Rapier drop head 55 years after production ceased.
With its distinctive lines the convertible is considered to be the most desirable of the Rapier models, the 3A representing the pinnacle of Rapier rallying successes. Many well known “celebrities” of the day owned Rapiers, Queen Elizabeth
used a convertible during a visit to Kenya in 1958.
1960’s styling at its best, the distinctive lines were penned by Raymond Loewy of Studebaker fame, a design consultant for Rootes. Evidence of his influence is most readily seen in the Rootes Audax range of cars, which included the series Rapiers.
The 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk model shares many similarities to the series Rapier model.
Just two fastidious owners from new, ordered at the 1962 Earls Court motor show. The first owner Kenneth Sears enquired if would it be possible to finish his new Rapier in Rootes Burgundy and Calvary beige (the scheme of his then current Singer). Rootes obliged charging him £35-00 plus purchase tax for the privilege. This is a NON standard colour for the Rapier range, a ONE OFF never repeated on this particular model. Very few “drop head factory special Rapiers" were built, to my knowledge this is the sole survivor.
Paint was applied at the Ryton plant, the shell despatched to John Cox in Watford Hertfordshire for interior trimming and hood. Standard Rapiers were trimmed by in house coach builders Thrupp and Maberley at their Cricklewood works. On completion at Cox’s the Rapier was returned via transporter to Ryton for installation of running gear, transmission and glazing, before being despatched to the Rootes dealer H. Taylor. & Sons of Surbiton Surrey.
Specification includes 1594cc engine, twin zenith downdraught carburettors. Original factory optional extras include clock, driving lamp, rev counter and Laycock overdrive. The burr finished walnut dash is in perfect condition retaining a deep lustre and beautiful grain complemented by the standard six chromed dial instrumentation.
8019 PK was bought as a second car by Mr Sears, kept for high days and holidays. If it was wet they would use their second car a Morris 1000 traveller. The Rapier was used sparingly throughout their sixteen year ownership, serviced regularly (lots of receipts and related paperwork) and kept in a heated double garage alongside the Morris. Under the current ownership, it has continued to have careful use on dry roads & has retained perfect rot free bodywork and superb chrome. Carpets and interior trim are original and in excellent condition with only minor oil staining to the door cards at the locking plate area. The Rapier is shod with four as new radial white wall tyres and has four original steel wheels with Pirelli radials as spares.
Included with the sale are M.O.T certificates back to 1967 (year of introduction), original sales invoice, and buff log book. The original Rootes colour paint chart used to choose the colour and a letter on Rootes headed paper from Coventry to Mr Sears confirming details of his non standard order.
A sample of the beige hood fabric chosen comes in the original envelope from John Cox trimmers dated 1962 along with other paperwork, period publicity and sales brochures.
The Rapier is lovely to drive, totally reliable with good performance and taught handling. She easily keeps up with modern traffic. A proper four seater offering a large boot space, perfect for summer runs with the family and picnic basket. When tired of wind in your hair the hood erects to coupe de ville position or fully enclosed. Factory fitted heater blasts out hot air to keep you warm
The current owner has had immense pleasure in owing this Rapier for coming on 40 years, it's time now to pass her on to a new custodian who we hope will look after her and derive as much enjoyment from using her as he has.
You will not find another convertible like this car, a one off not to be repeated opportunity.
For further details or to arrange a viewing please contact Mike Biddulph +44 (0)7884 002 447
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