Sunbeam Rapier & Alpine


Rapier H120
Rapier H120

The fastback Rapier was introduced in October 1967.

It was based on the Hillman Hunter using Rootes’ 1725cc four cylinder engine with twin Stromberg 150CD carburettors and an alloy head. A choice of either a Borg-Warner automatic or a manual gearbox with Laycock de Normanville overdrive was available.

A Holbay-tuned version, the H120, was unveiled in October 1968. The H120 featured a redesigned cylinder head and twin Weber 40DCOE carburettors. The H120 is easily identifiable by its Rostyle wheels, go-faster stripes and bootlid spoiler.

For October 1969 a third variant, the Alpine, was introduced. The fastback Alpine was a de-tuned model intended to slot in under the Rapier in the Sunbeam range. It had a single Stromberg 150CD carburettor and less luxurious trim.

All Sunbeam fastbacks sold in North America were badged as Alpines – the Alpine Coupe being the North American equivalent to the Alpine, and the Alpine GT being equivalent to the Rapier.

In 1970 production was transferred from the Ryton plant in England to Linwood in Scotland.

The Alpine ceased production in 1975 to make way for the fifth generation Alpine. The new model would however carry Chrysler, and later, Talbot badging rather than Sunbeam. Rapier production ended in April 1976. A total of 46,204 fastback Sunbeams were built.

photo: Rootes Motors

4 thoughts on “Sunbeam Rapier & Alpine”

  1. Sunbeam got rid of the Tiger V8, why not use the Rapier H120 V8,318, (5.2Ltr). It would have bean a good ida, The C 120, from the Chrysler Corperation. ? Thank you.

  2. Sunbeam had the bright ida to stop production of the Tiger V8 289ci and replace it with a 4 pot engine replacement the Rapier H120, In 1968, should have been The C 120. 318ci Chrysler. ?. Thank You.

  3. That question would have to be directed to Chrysler themselves who were calling the shots after 1967. Rootes had been working on their own V6 which was meant to be fitted to the Rapier and other models as well as playing with Chrysler V8s to replace the Ford engines. Chrysler put a stop to all of that after the takeover.

    Both Sunbeam and Chrysler had also looked at building an entirely new Tiger designed around a Chrysler V8, but that was killed off too.

  4. Sunbeam did produce 2 V8 fastback rapiers as an experiment. was built on a standard shell…the other a H120. It was called the allegro….I believe 1 of the original cars still survives

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