In defence of a Rapier


May I leap, fairly lightly, to the defence of my Lagonda Rapier, which obviously did not “grace” the track at Oulton Park in your eyes. Perhaps if I could briefly outline the history of the car, the garage floor may be elevated a little, together with the implied suggestion that it was not going well.

The “body” was in fact the result of designs dreamed up during the last war by those most enthusiastic competitors Mr. and Mrs. Naylor (Beatrice Naylor must surely be remembered for all sorts of sporting efforts right up to the ’60s). The final concoction was fitted during the late ’40s, and that is the body you comment on in July MOTOR SPORT. It appears to consist of aircraft panels, the scuttle box-section coming from a fuselage, and I am sure would withstand many tons dropped on it, so having been around for thirty-odd years it falls into the Brooklands amateur bodybuilding group recently discussed in Motor Sport.

I am sure you did not mean to infer that the Rapier was not going as it should. Whereas the body is not as per the catalogue, the rest of the car (with the exception of the I6-in, wheels) is as per 1934; nothing has been altered or brought up-to-date, as with most of the other racing Rapiers. The engine is completely standard, with original camshafts and carburetters, and I would have thought that the car performed well. During the handicap races I actually managed to overtake three cars and keep station with the two Le Mans Aston Martins which started on the same handicap as the Rapier.

Having said all that, I hope to reduce the seating capacity by two. The bathtub at the rear is to be removed. The designs for this are certainly on an envelope, and the garage floor may well have to be used for construction, so by Cadwell Park the editorial arrows should be directed at me, even though I personally find it huge fun to be able to have a go.

As a footnote you should find mention of the car in Motor Sport in 1958, when it dared to win at least one round in the Motor Sport Trophy series.


[Yes, Mrs. Naylor, as Miss Shilling, got her BMCRC Gold Star at Brooklands for lapping at over 100 m.p.h. and in post-war years I persuaded her to accompany me to a BMCRC Brooklands Re-Union at the “Hound & Spear”.—Ed.]