Paul and Andrew Lovett, devotees of all things quirky
Readers of a certain age might recall Martin Kent’s Sunbeam Rapier Fastback – actually a rebodied Gordon Keeble with 5.7-litre V8 – which graced Special Saloon races during the 1970s. It cast a rare silhouette at the time and the model, something of a heavyweight in standard form, was never truly suited to competition. And yet…
Worcester father-and-son team Paul and Andrew Lovett now run a Rapier Fastback at HSCC and CSCC events.
“We love Cortinas, Minis and MGBs, but everybody races those so we wanted something different,” says Andrew, 31. “I’ve done a few hillclimbs, but this car was chosen to teach me about racing. It has certainly helped me to learn the art of being overtaken…”
Paul, 62, adds: “It’s a great car and handles beautifully, but does rather struggle to keep up on the straights. We got it from a chap who’d bought a beautiful road example with a solid, rust-free shell. He was preparing it for track use, but a health scare sadly forced him to abandon his racing plans so we purchased the project, finished it off and went racing as soon as we could.”
Appetites whetted, the pair are now building a Datsun Fairlady for the 2019 season, when the Rapier will be driven by Paul’s wife and Andrew’s girlfriend.
“It has failed to reach the flag only once, when Dad got punted off, but it has a particular talent for breaking – cracked cylinder heads and so forth – just after it has taken the flag,” says Andrew.