Sunbeam Rapier raises £8,500 for GNAAS

A 1965 Sunbeam Rapier auctioned off on eBay has raised £8,500 for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

John Barlow, 69, from Sunderland, was the highest bidder for the gold and black classic car, which was donated to GNAAS by an anonymous benefactor.

Mr Barlow said: “My friend shared the link to the auction on Facebook and I found out that the car was first registered in my hometown, Stoke-on-Trent, and also registered the same month that I passed my driving test, so I thought it was fate that I must own it.”

Mr Barlow used to own a ceramic tile business, which he sold when he decided to retire, and has used some of the money from the sale to buy the Sunbeam Rapier.

However instead of just paying the price of his winning bid, Mr Barlow generously offered a higher amount of money for the car as he was prepared to bid more for it.

Mr Barlow said: “I won the car with a bid of £8,159, but I was willing to pay £8,500. The money’s going to charity and I wanted to support GNAAS as much as I could, so I decided to give them the full amount.”

Grahame Pickering MBE, GNAAS chief executive, said: “We’d like to thank Mr Barlow for his substantial bid and hope he enjoys driving round in his new classic car. In a wonderful act of generosity, he has decided to give us even more than the winning bid, which is greatly appreciated, as all of the proceeds from this auction will be used to support our life-saving service.”

Did you know we are reliant on donations to survive? Last year GNAAS needed to raise £5.1m to keep flying. To find out how you can help, please visit or call 01325-487263.

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