Sunbeam first introduced its two door, Hillman Minx based Rapier in 1955. The new model looked modern and attractive and featured a pillar-less side window arrangement. Throughout the models development the Rapier found favour amongst "sporting motorists" and achieved some successes in rally events around Europe.
The original 1955 Rapier featured a 1390cc four cylinder engine which was equipped with a single Stromberg carburettor (twin-carbs were introduced in 1957) and produced lively performance. The engine was coupled to a manual-overdrive gearbox as standard, although curiously this did have a column shift change.