Converting a John Day Sunbeam Rapier

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

John Day Vehicle Scenics SRV24 Sunbeam Rapier has appeared before in the fomer printed MAR magazine. It is a fair model of a Series II though the side chrome is slightly incorrect lacking the twin lines forward of the tail section. A photograph of one that I made several years ago is shown below.

Recently whilst browsing pictures on the web I came across pictures of the Sunbeam Rapier Convertible with its hood up. I thought that it was an interesting variant so I set about making one based on the standard John Day casting.

The key differences between the standard car and the convertible were the rear side windows which were similar to the ones used on the contemporary Hillman Minx convertible and the rear window which is a small panel in the hood and not the wrap round shape of the hard top.

The hood was created by layering on Humbrol modelling filler and shaping it do represent the shape of a hood and filling in the original wrap round rear window. Once all was dry the hood was filed to represent creases and folds and the rear window was drilled out and shaped. The window was then glazed using Micro Kristal Klear.

The hood was painted in matt red to represent one of the colours which seems to have been an option on the original cars.

The profile of the rear side windows was reshaped using a file to remove the lower part of the rear edge which curves back on the hard top.

The model was painted in a dark grey often seen on Rootes cars at the time to contrast with the hood and all the chrome painted on using a Molotow chrome pen . For those wondering who made the garage behind it is a Dapol kit based upon the old Airfix railway accessories series model which is to the same 1:76 scale as the car and is very ‘period’. This model is still readily available through model railway shops and online. The John Day Rapier Kit is also available from John Day Models which may be found at though this site is being replaced shortly by one under development at .

I will one day produce a hood down Rapier, though I may choose to base that upon an Oxford Diecast model as the John Day model has no dashboard or steering wheel which would be rather obvious on an open car!

As usual my modelling skills are rather rough and ready but I think that the result is an interesting addition to my collection of Sunbeam Rapiers.

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