The third last car produced, chassis number 'R11488' was made by Rapier Cars Ltd in 1936 and supplied to John Granville Grenfell Limited of Brooklands. John Granville Grenfell was a well-known engineer specialising in supercharging and race preparation with workshops inside Brooklands Aerodrome, just behind Thompson & Taylor's premises. According to conversations and correspondence with John Granville Grenfell in the late 1950s, Ashcroft planned to enter a Rapier Team at Le Mans. The idea was for Ashcroft to supply the cars, which Granville Grenfell would modify for racing. The third member of the team, Hamish Scott, came from a prominent jute importing family from Dundee and provided the finance, and presumably was an intended driver. Scott knew Rapiers well having previously owned and raced one prepared by Granville Grenfell at Brooklands. The project was abandoned following Scott's move to Brazil for most of 1937. As a consequence, no further Granville Grenfell Rapiers were built, making 'GPB 130' unique.
'GPB 130' remained at Brooklands throughout 1936/37, being first licensed in December 1937. It is likely that the car was tested at Brooklands and perhaps raced by Granville Grenfell in one of the lesser events for sports cars. Hamish Scott took delivery of the Rapier in January 1938 and kept the car for around nine months before selling it for £150 to Jim Zanre, another Dundee resident, who owned it from 1938 until 1992. The car had been used until 1961 and then garage stored for the following 30 years. Zanre made a few changes: adding inner valances to the front wings, removing two leather bonnet straps, adding two spotlights and indicators, and changing to a single 12-volt battery.
Rumours of the car's existence began circulating in the mid-1970s. Paul Nickalls, the Technical Advisor to the Rapier Register, traced 'GPB 130' to Dundee and eventually bought the car from Zanre's widow in November 1992. There then followed a gradual restoration that focused on maintaining originality. Stephen Matthews worked with Nickalls on the restoration, with ownership of 'GPB 130' passing to him in 1999. He used the car for touring and events such as the Lagonda Centenary held at Brooklands.
In February 2006, 'GPB 130' was acquired by the current owner who had been looking for a suitable sports car in original condition and with an interesting history to use in VSCC events. Following careful preparation, 'GPB 130' has competed in sprints, races, hill climbs and regularity tests, winning Class awards at Brooklands, Silverstone, Goodwood and Loton Park. The car has also toured the UK and Southern France.
Fitted with a Centric 130 supercharger by Granville Grenfell, the engine ('R3236') is the original and has a capacity of 1,094cc. Race prepared, it has been fitted with new pistons, con-rods, camshafts and bearings. Period photographs show a downdraft bronze carburettor mounted on the side, not under slung beneath the chassis as on production Rapiers. Today, the car is fitted with a period (pre-1940-pattern) 1⅝" downdraft SU (the original bronze carburettor has been retained and could be refitted).
Likewise different from production Rapiers, the original high performance Scintilla PN4 magneto is with the car, which is currently fitted with coil/distributor ignition. The gearbox is the original ENV pre-selector with a central quadrant, and the rear axle is ENV also. The shock absorbers are André Hartford Telecontrol, adjustable from under the dashboard and with two pressure gauges, while the rod-operated brakes are by Girling.
Supported by a metal frame, the special two-seater light alloy body is original with the exception of the wings, which were replaced using the originals as patterns. The design is typical late-1930s sports racing car: with no doors, a full-length under-tray and helmet wings. An eight-gallon Galley fuel tank is located between the rear chassis rails with room in the car's high tail for a long distance tank (not fitted). The windscreen is the same design as a contemporary Aston Martin 1½-Litre MkII's, with detachable aero screens. The headlamps, side lamps and radiator are original and have not been re-chromed.
The interior too is original with aluminium alloy bucket seats upholstered in dark red leather, a Bluemel's steering wheel and a dashboard featuring a multitude of instruments. The original five 19" wheels shod with Blockley 4.50 tyres are still with the car, but it is currently running on 16x5.50 Englebert racing tyres. Other non-original parts include an electric fan; a servo switch to control the oil flow to the supercharger bearings; a replacement wiring loom; a rear 'rain' light; and an oil catch tank.
'Ever Keen', a book celebrating the first 75 years of the Lagonda Rapier, is recommended reading. 'GPB 130' is covered in the section on Single and Two Seater Racing Rapiers (pages 158-160). The book is available from the Rapier Register, which also holds an extensive parts inventory. 'GPB 130' comes with old-style logbook, recently expired MoT (April 2013), current road fund licence, UK V5 document and VSCC buff form (categorising it as Standard). There is also a considerable amount of research material, correspondence, photographs and invoices on file.