Hillman Hunter : Sunbeam Rapier

In design

Roy Axe’s designs feature heavily on this website, and it was his Sunbeam Rapier that saw him rise to prominence…

April 1964

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)

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)

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)

May 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.

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

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.

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.

Production version

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

1969 Sunbeam H120

1975 Sunbeam Rapier... spot the difference!

1975 Sunbeam Rapier… spot the difference!

About the Author:

2 Comments on "Hillman Hunter : Sunbeam Rapier"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Hilton D says:

    The same Rapier body was also utilised as the last incarnation of the Sunbeam Alpine after production of the 2 seater Alpine Convertible ended.

Have your say...