Roy Axe’s designs feature heavily on this website, and it was his Sunbeam Rapier that saw him rise to prominence…
Quarter scale model of the first proposal, as penned by Roy Axe.
As can be seen, the previous Rapier’s roof line and D-Pillar appear to have been adopted at this early stage (August 7th 1964)
A month later, the design had been refined; the D-Pillar had been made much more crisp and incorporated a much more flowing roofline.
Full size clay, January 1965
In order to inject some more character into the design, a kicked-up shoulder line is incorporated into the design. This early model uses a rather fussy glass arrangement
Refinement, March 1965
On the left: At this point in time, all body panels were unique to the Rapier, apart from the front wings and bonnet. This forced the use of a raised waist feature line… making it overtly similar to the Arrow saloon, upon which it is based. On the right: The decision was taken to remove this feature line, which meant that all body panels would now be unique to the coupe. The smoother sides were a vast improvement, and the management approved this car for production on the 29th March 1965.
Roy Axe’s coupe makes an appearance at the 1968 London motor show, and immediately proves popular, even if comparisons are drawn between this and the Plymouth Barracuda…
1969 Sunbeam H120
1975 Sunbeam Rapier… spot the difference!