The Ex-Dickie Stoop Spa 24-Hours 1946-47 Frazer Nash-BMW 328 Sports and Touring Two-Seater Chassis no. 854.27
This unique bespoke-bodied Frazer Nash-BMW 328 is understood to have begun life as a chassis - complete with engine, gearbox and driveline - which was delivered from the German BMW factory in Munich to British concessionaires AFN Limiteds base in Isleworth, Middlesex, in June 1939. Although the chassis was not completed to running order with body fitted pre-war, the fact of its origination and delivery in 1939 is today vitally important since it emphasises this most desirable two-seaters eligibility for pre-war acceptance by the Vintage Sports Car Club. The chassis was one of a batch believed to have totally six which survived the years of the Second World War in AFN storage, or British Government official impound. Irrespective, it became available for completion immediately after hostilities had ended in 1945-56, and the ever-energetic Aldington brothers who owned and ran AFN Limited were eager for their Frazer Nash marque to re-entered manufacture just as quickly as possible. One of their earliest postwar customers emerged as buyer of 85.427 now offered here. Its first owner ex-works was to be Flt. Lt. Richard Dickie Stoop a Royal Air Force fighter pilot whose father was Sir Adrian Stoop a well-known pre-war England rugby player and a great friend of the legless fighter ace Douglas Bader. After losing his legs in a flying accident in 1931, Bader had spent much of his time convalescing with the Stoop family at their home, The Grange, in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire. Dickie Stoop had been shot down during the war off Malta, and had baled out into the sea, thereby qualifying for immediate membership of the Caterpillar Club, as were all aircrewmen saved by their silken parachutes. Postwar, he joined the Empire Test Pilots School at RAE Farnborough, just a few miles from Hartley Wintney, and one of his great sparetime interests was in high-performance and competition motoring. He bought this Frazer Nash-BMW from AFN Ltds Falcon Works in Isleworth and the entirely bespoke enveloping body built for it was of particularly sleek yet stylish form, and fashioned to Flt/Lt Stoops personal requirements probably by Leacroft of Egham.. The body featured a number of aeronautical engineering features, not least its aircraft-type bonnet clips and the flush-capped fuel filler in its tail. Most desirably, in contrast to standard-bodied BMW 328s, this ex-Dickie Stoop Frazer Nash version has often been praised for its more capacious cockpit another most attractive feature of this unique Anglo-American hybrid. Dickie Stoop had always been keen to race cars, and he eventually entered 85.427 offered here in the 1949 Spa 24-Hour race, run on the Circuit Nationale at Spa-Francorchamps in the densely wooded Hautes-Fagnes hills.. By that time he had left Farnborough and was based instead at the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, where he became a member of fellow motoring and motor racing enthusiast Lt/Cdr Peter Wilsons test flight. He in turn later became Chief Engineer of the Rootes Group. Comparing notes about the motor racing calendar with Wilson one day he asked if the Spa race might be a good one in which to enter his special-bodied Frazer Nash-BMW. The answer was yes and two weeks later Dickie Stoop/Peter Wilson arrived in Belgium to tackle the 24-Hour classic. They actually finished 12th overall and 6th in the 2-litre class, behind the winning Luigi Chinetti/Jean Lucas Ferrari 166 V12, Jock Horsfall/Paul Freres Aston Martin Speed Model, a standard BMW328 and the Roosdorp/Ridder Ferrari 166 V12. In 1952 as revealed by the extensive records held in The Frazer Nash Archives - this car was repurchased by AFN Limited in 1952, in part-exchange for a Frazer Nash Mille Miglia. The car was then sold to anew owner under the name Petchells. Dickie Stoop went on to compete in a variety of Frazer Nash cars, even competing in the Le Mans 24-Hour race no fewer than ten times, and he eventually owned and entered a Formula 1 Lotus-Climax 33 car for Australian driver Paul Hawkins to race in 1965 their programme ending rather unfortunately (and soggily) when Hawkeye dropped the car into the Monte Carlo harbour during that years Monaco Grand Prix. Dickie Stoop had also been one of the first customers for the Porsche 904GTS Coupe when it emerged in 1964, and it was while racing his Porsche 911 YOU 4 at Croft, Yorkshire, in May 1968 that he ultimately lost his life, suffering a coronary thrombosis. He was only 47 and had been a Frazer Nash and AFN customer for over 20 years. Dickie Stoop had UK road-registered this delightful car MMG 253 and it has been preserved in recent years in the Rosso Bianco Collection after having been acquired at an auction sale in London in December 1988. It has been the subject of extensive and apparently expensive restoration, and is offered here in virtually concours condition apart from minor evidence of its long preservation with little significant actual running or use in the museum halls. While racing and touring with his chain-gang Frazer Nashes in Europe in 1934, W.H. Aldy Aldington had recognized the merit of BMW's sports/touring design, the BMW 315 . He reached an agreement with the friendly management of the Munich company under which AFN Ltd then became BMWs British importer, re-badging these cars as the Frazer Nash-BMW. Immediately upon its introduction in 1936, the uprated BMW Model 328 became celebrated for its advanced design and high performance. Three Model 328s with special aerodynamic aluminium bodies, dominated the 1940 Mille Miglia and immediately after the end of war in Germany Aldy returned to Munich - while still on active duty - and liberated one of the factory-team BMW "Mille Miglia" sports-racing cars as his personal 328, left at the factory in 1939. Ever-enterprising, Aldy achieved another coup by bringing 328 designer Dr Fritz Fiedler to England, where he updated the concept for intended production by both the Bristol Aeroplane Company and Frazer Nash. Today the Frazer Nash-BMWs and the closely-related Bristol-engined Frazer Nash models which followed including the magnificent and much sought-after Le Mans Replica, Targa Florio and Sebring models count amongst the most desirable of all 1950s sports-racing/road touring two-seater cars. Here we proudly offer one of their immediate antecedents a beautifully-presented, roomy, VSCC-eligible pre-war sporting car with genuine competition history, and originally run by one of the most popular characters within British motor sport through the 1950s and 60s; Dickie Stoop.