I have read with interest and much pleasure Mr. Hill’s letter in the December issue of Motor Sport commenting on the qualities of the Rapier. We also have been rather surprised that so little interest should have been shown in what is, without doubt, one of the finest light cars of the post-vintage era and have attributed this to the limited number of cars produced.
The design is inherently good, conforming as it does so closely to racing-car practice. The twin overhead camshaft engine is a thing of beauty, both in design and execution, and an exceptionally willing and hard worker. It was originally suggested that the high revving capacity of the engine (4,500-5,500 r.p.m.) would result in rapid bore wear, but this is certainly not substantiated, in fact, 80,000 to 100,000 miles between rebores being quite commonplace. Under poor conditions of tune 70 m.p.h. is readily obtainable, whilst accurate tuning will result in 75/80 m.p.h. Steering is extremely sensitive and accurate at speed and equally easy during low-speed manoeuvre. The E.N.V. close-ratio preselective gearbox is a delight to use and has been known to convert the most ardent crash-box enthusiast (the writer included !). Acceleration through the gears is undoubtedly faster than with other similar types of car. Brakes are superb, being 13-in. Girling, and quite easily able to cope with the somewhat heavy car (18 1/2 cwt.); the original Motor Sport road-test in 1934 showed a stop in 30 ft. from 30 m.p.h.
As Mr. Hill remarks, the ride is somewhat hard, but this is due not so much to the dampers as to the short, stiff springs. The fitting of Telecontrols has little effect on low-speed riding, but certainly shows to advantage at high speeds. Again referring to Mr. Hill’s letter, we cannot agree with his remarks on back-end breakaway; on the contrary the Rapier will faithfully hold its line through any corner under most atmospheric conditions.
The Rapier Register was formed with the express object of keeping Rapiers on the road and with the earnest hope of their making some mark in competition. The success of the organisation is due to the affection which Rapier owners have for their cars, and to the necessity for mutual assistance in obtaining spare parts. We are probably unique as Registers go, in catering for one model only (albeit differently bodied), in enjoying the honour of having as our President the designer of the whole car, and in charging only ten shillings per year subscription !
We would like to express our thanks to Mr. Hill for his kind wishes for our future success, and in conclusion would say for the benefit of any lonely Rapier owners—spares are not necessarily always unobtainable.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Sheffield, 10. G.D. Speight, Honorary Secretary, the Rapier Register.