Lot 137 - 1965 Sunbeam Rapier ‘Works Style’

Lot 137 - 1965 Sunbeam Rapier ‘Works Style’

Lot 137 - 1965 Sunbeam Rapier ‘Works Style’

Lot Number 137
Registration PGF 775E
Chassis Number B325002058HHO
Engine Number B325002058HSO
Odometer reading 11,609 miles
Estimate £14,000 - £16,000
Result Sold - £14,448
  • High specification built rally car
  • First owner – Betty Leah, née Haig
  • FIVA and MSA papers

This ‘Works Style’ built Sunbeam Rapier was manufactured during December 1965 and was not registered until 1967. The first owner was, Betty Haig, who was not only the great niece of Field Marshall The Earl Haig, but was also an accomplished racing, hill-climb and rally driver in her own right. She won an Olympic Medal in her first pre-war rally, in Germany, with an 11/2-litre six-cylinder Singer, and then won outright the Paris-St Raphaël Feminin Rally in her PB MG. After the war she won the Ladies' Cup and her class in the 1948 Alpine Trial in an AC. She drove an experimental Monte Carlo Rally in an Morris Minor with Elsie Wisdom and Barbara Marshall, and won the 11/2-litre class in the very tough 1949 Alpine Trial with a works TC MG. Betty also drove her HRG to a class-win in a Swiss hill-climb, changed to a Healey-Silverstone, raced a Cooper-JAP and a vee-twin Cooper 1000, drove the highest placed foreign car, a Triumph TR2, in the 1952 San Remo Rally, raced her AC Ace at Goodwood and Brands Hatch, a Turner in Italy and took Ladies' Cups at Prescott and Shelsley Walsh with a Lotus Eleven. She was also successful with the TT MG Magnette she raced at Goodwood and Silverstone, gaining a Coupe de Vitesse with an Austin-Healey 100 inn later Paris-St Raphaël Rally, and breaking the Ladies' record at Prescott in a Lotus 23. During the 1951 Le Mans 24 hours, Betty and Yvonne Simon managed to finish 15th in a Ferrari 166 MM Berlinetta. Her road cars included a number of Porsches and later, this Sunbeam Rapier.

In more recent years, this Rapier has been prepared, specifically, for regularity rallying, and has an impressive specification. The 1725cc engine was built by Chris Draycott and produced, according to the rolling road printout, 125bhp and 145lbft of torque. Fuel is provided from the twin electric fuel pumps (switchable), from the large capacity alloy fuel tank via the twin 40DCOE Weber carburettors, whilst a specially prepared overdrive gearbox sends drive to the wheels via a Gripper 4.22:1 limited slip differential. The brakes have been uprated with pipework routed through the interior, Aeroquip hoses and a fly-off handbrake. The interior is well equipped with a Moto-Lita steering wheel, a pair of speedometers, one, registering mph and another in km (not fitted), a Brantz International 2 trip meter, a pair of stopwatches, rally seats, Luke full harness belts, plumbed-in and hand held fire extinguishers and the standard rev counter, auxiliary gauges and a fuse and relay board. The coachwork presents well whilst the underside (note the sump guard fitted), is also in good order and is protected by a coating of wax. The car sits upon a set of Minilite alloy wheels with two spare Minilite wheels stored within the boot; all are fitted with excellent Avon tyres. We are informed that the Rapier, starts easily, drives and handles very well, is surprisingly quick and always draws interest wherever she goes.

This UK registered Sunbeam Rapier has an MoT test certificate valid until May 2019, with that, its FIVA and MSA papers, its impressive specification and equipment, what rally shall a lucky new owner enter?

Please note the car is due to be demonstrated at the Kop Hill Climb event on the weekend prior to the sale and will be available to view at the Historics stand at this event. For details, please contact Historics.

Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.

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