1956 Sunbeam Rapier

First published September 3, 2015 in Old Cars Weekly

1956 SUNBEAM RAPIER AD – By: M. J. Frumkin

The Rootes Group challenged its competition with an “En garde” when it released the Sunbeam Rapier coupe de sport (two-door hardtop) in the mid 1950s.

The Rapier was the newest addition to the famous Sunbeam family, which was known for its craftsmanship and rally champions.

This two-color ad for the Rapier first appeared in the April 30, 1956 issue of Sports Illustrated.

Keeping with the romance of the Rapier name and double-edged sword symbol, an artist conjured up a vision of the 17th century swashbuckler d’Artagnan from The Three Musketeers historical novel by Alexandre Dumas. The gallant figure wields a cape overhead and a lowered rapier to honor the “dash, agility and glamour” of the ‘56 Rapier hardtop.

Promising, “A new THRUST on the highway,” with, “sports-car zoom,” the Rapier was propelled by either a 62-or 67-hp four-cylinder engine of 85 cubic inches mated to a four-speed manual gearbox.

The car was plugged as having “rock-steady” handling at its top speed of 90 mph and being capable of 30 mpg to relieve gas pains.

Along with two-tone styling, “flashing” acceleration, and superb riding comfort, the English vehicle manufacturer made sure to promote Rapier’s low center of gravity, road hugging suspension, extra-large brakes and remarkable visibility that provided maximum safety for the four-seat hardtop.

Some say that if you squint your eyes, the 1956-58 Sunbeam Rapier looks like a nicely customized 1953 Studebaker.

Rootes stance was that, “the long, low lines of the Sunbeam Rapier marked a radical advance in English light hardtop car design.”

In other words, “All for one and one for all.”

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