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mike L Posted - 28 Nov 2010 : 22:30:21
1960 Monte Carlo & Acropolis Rallies Estimate: () 20,000 - 24,000 Reg Number: YWK 1 Chassis Number: B30014500DHH0 Engine Number: T.B.A. Cc: 1600 Body Colour: Green Trim Colour: Green MOT ExpiryDate: T.B.A. When the Sunbeam Rapier was introduced in 1955, it was not yet a competitive rally car, but serious and detailed development work by the factory team soon changed all that. Within a year the 'Works' cars were performing with honour in the Mille Miglia, Peter Harper won the RAC rally of 1958 in a 'Works' Rapier, and the cars became successful in events such as the Monte Carlo and French Alpine rallies. The original Rapier was a 1.4-litre two-door hardtop coupe, based on the same platform of the Hillman Minx of the period, but regular updates saw it given a 1.5-litre, a 1.6-litre and finally a 1.7-litre engine, along with front-wheel disc brakes and other refinements. The Series II cars ran in 1958 and 1959, but from the autumn of 1959 the Series III variant took over, with an aluminium cylinder head, a 73bhp / 1494cc engine, and a top speed of around 90mph. Laycock overdrive was an optional extra, most cars being sold with that feature included. Because the 'Works' rally team, led by Norman Garrad, commissioned new cars as soon as the latest specification was available, it followed that five brand-new Series III types - registered 'YWK 1' to 'YWK 5' respectively - were made ready for use in 1960. Although these invariably ran in FIA 'standard' Group 1 condition, the 'Works' team cars were not only stronger, but handled better, and produced significantly more power, than the showroom variety. Overdrive was always fitted and, depending on the regulations for a particular event, this was sometimes arranged to operate on all forward gears. Along with its four sister cars, 'YWK 1' was built at Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry, late in 1959, then prepared for the 1960 Monte Carlo rally, where it was piloted by race drivers Peter Jopp and Les Leston, but had to retire with a broken half shaft. The same car and crew then tackled the Greek Acropolis rally, where they once again had to retire. 'YWK 1' was then sold off by the 'Works' team, and was bought by Oakham-based Rootes dealer Julian Easten. Along with co-driver Graham Robson, this private team then contested many British events, their successes including membership of the winning club team in the RAC rally, second overall in the 1961 Welsh rally, along with victories in several Motoring News Championship events of the 1960-1961 winter. When Julian purchased a Sebring Sprite from John Sprinzel, 'YWK 1' was sold through that well-known outlet. 'Works' Rapiers of this type were always sturdy, and carefully built to last the toughest of campaigns. Neither in 'Works' ownership, nor in that of Julian Easten, did 'YWK 1' suffer any significant damage in accidents. However, later in the 1960s, with rallies changing so completely in type and character, 'YWK 1' was retired from motorsport, but re-appeared when classic rallying blossomed in the 1980s. As offered for sale, 'YWK 1' combines originality (including its green paint and green interior trim, with rally plates from the 1960 Monte Carlo rally) with a series of improvements made for modern classic rallies. The engine fitted is now a Series IIIA type of 1592cc and there is a full roll cage, and Britax full harness safety belts. When the car was new, in fact, the use of a roll cage was strictly forbidden. The roof-mounted Lucas swivel spot lamp is as used by the factory at the time, while the colour scheme and the position of the registration number on the front bumper is totally authentic. The car is fitted with a rare, and valuable, example of the Halda Speed Pilot, which computes distances and average speeds by a cable drive from the speedometer. Since entering the current ownership via our February 2004 Race Retro auction, 'YWK 1' has been dry stored, and is offered complete with old style FIA papers appropriate to its former use in classic rallying. It is thought to be the only ex-Works 'YWK' car to survive, and indeed to be the only survivor of eight Series III Rapiers used by the 'Works' team in 1960.
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mike L Posted - 07 Dec 2010 : 18:10:31
The above was seen on Haynes auction website winter 2010. They sold off the cob which is a little known Rootes derivative. A SROC club legend tells of John Kramers' fitting of the holbay engine to both the Commer cob and the Hillman husky during the 1980's. This is the first example I have come across seperately from his conversions. Brabham offered conversions to many 60's cars and I have a Rapier version but I have not heard of contemporary ones. The twin SU's is definitely a feature of a Brabham conversion.There were also Alexander conversions.
mike L Posted - 07 Dec 2010 : 18:04:32
Commer started life as the Commercial Car Company in 1905, at modest premises in South London. The firm's fortunes did not run smooth, however, and they had faced receivership several times prior to being taken over by Humber Cars in 1926. By 1931, both marques had been absorbed by the Rootes Group, which also swallowed up Hillman, Singer, Sunbeam, Talbot and Karrier.

The Commer Cob was a panel van based on the Hillman Husky Estate Car, which itself was derived from the Hillman Minx Saloon. The first Cob appeared in the mid `50s. It was powered by a 1265cc side-valve engine mated to a floor-change, four-speed manual gearbox and had two passenger doors plus a large side-hinged one at the rear for the loading of goods. The Series I model of 1958 brought more power, the Series II a slightly lower roof, deeper windscreen and better seats, while the Series III featured further minor changes to the bodywork. Production ceased in 1965.

The 1965 example offered is no ordinary Cob! Apparently it was upgraded in period by Brabham of Chessington and fitted with a 1725cc Sunbeam Alpine engine topped by an alloy cylinder head and twin SU carburettors. The unit was mated to a four-speed overdrive gearbox and the handling taughtened by a front anti-roll bar. Since 2003, a higher ratio final drive has been substituted and a full set of period Rootes instruments added. The earlier exhaust has been replaced by a stainless steel system. Attention to the bodywork has included the fitting of replacement front wings, bonnet, front panel, rear bumper and front and rear over-riders. A number of spares are included in the sale and the van is MOT'd into August 2011. A perfect vehicle for traffic light Grands Prix and the Goodwood Revival meeting!

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