1956 Sunbeam Rapier 'Goodwood Race Car'SOLD
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Estimate: ú8,500-10,500

It was the Rapier's competition record that helped raise its image. As early as 1955 a brace of Rapiers were first and second in their class at the Mille Miglia, earning ithe model a reputation for sheer doggedness, if not for outright pace from the 100bhp achieved in those early days. In 1961 factory-entered cars won the Circuit of Ireland and claimed a class win in the East African Safari. Throughout the early1960s, no visit to the local cinema would have been complete without a Pathe Newsreel announcer extolling the virtues of Empire building over images of Raymond Baxter's Rapier skidding through Tanganyika. Between 1961 and 1963 the Rapier was as much a part of saloon car racing as the Riley 1.5 and Ford Zephyr - even F1 star like the Rodriguez brothers won their spurs by driving Works-entered Rapiers in Touring Car events. Thus many historic competitors have turned to the Sunbeam Rapier as a tool to rekindle those dashing doorhandle to doorhandle days of firecely competitive but truly irsportmanlike racing.

Two such luminaries of the historic racing scene are James and Simon Diffey. Their target was to contest the coveted St. Mary's Trophy race at the world renowned Goodwood Revival meeting. Thus '8420 LJ' - a former historic rally car - was prepared for circuit racing. The flamboyant driving style caught the eye of the Goodwood selectors and won an invitation to the 2002 event where the team was patnered by contemporary touring car ace, Darren Manning. Rewarding their efforts, the Diffey's 'Ecurie Merrysport' Rapier came home significatly in the top ten of finishers - proving that development since those Mille Miglia days has come on a pace for the Rapier! Subsequently passed onto another seasoned historic competitor, this Rapier's progress has been going from strength to strength, proving its versatilty by competing in the road race format of the Manx Classic in April of 2006 to winning its class in the Top Hat event at Mallory Park in October of that year.

As an entry level to the more prestigious events in the 2007 historic calendar - look no further! This car has FIA papers (due at the time of writing to be upgraded to the new HTP format) and has been the recipient of a thorough cosmetic renovation over the past season, augmented by a winter mechanical refettling in rediness for the coming 2007 season. Eligible for Top Hat's 'Oldies but Goldies' series for pre-'60 touring cars as well as a multitude of historic road events, this versaltile and proven historic touring car offers an entry into premier historic motorsport and a very affordable price.

Reference Number 5543

as of 12/23/2006

Car 1956 Sunbeam Rapier 'Goodwood Race Car'