In the ownership of a San Francisco family from the mid-1960s
1947 H.R.G. 1100
Registration no. HXR 534 (original UK registration)
Chassis no. S76
Engine no. A/259/Q
In 1922, Archie Frazer-Nash and Ron Godfrey resigned from the G.N. company, the most successful British manufacturers of 'cycle cars'- ultra lightweight sporting vehicles, mostly powered by air-cooled engines. Frazer-Nash immediately commenced production of sports cars bearing his own name. Godfrey, in partnership with Guy Robins and Ted Halford, returned to car manufacture in 1935, 'HRG' being a combination of the partners' initials.
The hand-built HRG featured robust construction, light weight and outstanding roadholding, powered by the 1 ½ liter Meadows 4ED engine but employing conventional transmission. Godfrey intended the car to be equally successful in all kinds of competition, besides being a tractable street car, with good quality weather equipment. Some 30 HRGs were produced between 1935 and 1938, when a smaller-engined but virtually identical model was introduced, featuring a 4 cylinder single overhead camshaft engine with twin SU carburetors. Transmission was via a synchromesh gearbox, with a top speed of 80 mph; stopping was handled via cable-operated 11" magnesium alloy drums.
Plans for large scale production were abruptly halted by the outbreak of World War 2, after only eight '1100's had been completed.
Production resumed in 1946 in the tiny factory and for the next five years HRGs established a remarkable record in all forms of international competition, both with the 1 ½ liter and '1100' models, including class and team victories at Le Mans, Spa and Silverstone. The '1100' proved every bit as competitive as the larger-engined cars, taking the first of the marque's Coupes des Alpes, for a penalty-free run in the 1948 Alpine Rally. The same car, S77, driven by Robin Richards, then led four HRGs home to win the team prize at the 12 hour sports car race at Montlhery, France. A total of 50 '1100' models were built between 1938 and 1950.
Ian Dussek, patron and archivist of the HRG Association, has confirmed that chassis S76 offered here was sold through HRG's sales concessionaire Charles Follett Ltd, on April 1st 1947, to Sydney Charles Clarke of Warwickshire. Clarke raced, hill climbed and trialled the car between 1948 and 1950, winning several awards and running 2nd in class at the 1948 Irish Craigantlet Hill Climb. The car was successful in sporting trials, the aim of which being to climb steep, unsurfaced and frequently very slippery hills. Notable results in 1949 included 2nd in class awards at both the challenging MCC Exeter and MCC Lands End Trials. 'S76' also placed 5th at the SUNBAC Silverstone Race Meeting on September 3rd, 1949.
The car then passed into the hands of H.B.Fincher, who raced in U.K. club events and hillclimbs, selling it to M.R. Sells in 1958, thence to Keith Tanner in 1960. In 1964 it was imported into the United States by Richard Pintane of Los Altos, California before being acquired by the family that still owns the car today.
S76 was originally finished in green cellulose with green leather trim, later repainted blue. It is now offered in duo-tone burgundy and black (a factory optional extra, price £5!). Receipts from as recent as 2006 are included in the extensive documentation file, which goes all the way back to the original purchase order from Charles Follett.
Reported to have been running earlier this year, it should be noted that this HRG has been in storage and seen limited use recently. There are presently some 30 HRGs in North America and the HRG Association, who hold spares, drawings, jigs, and factory records - are aware of over 220 of the 241 cars produced, a remarkable survival rate.
- Please note this title is in transit.