1922 GN/Frazer Nash Special Registration no. IA 2878 Chassis no. 2488 Engine no. 5001
Designed by H R Godfrey and Archibald Frazer-Nash, the GN was Britain's first and best-known cyclecar. The two young engineers set up shop initially in Hendon, North London from whence the first GN emerged in December 1910. An unusually large proportion of the car was manufactured in house and GN began producing their own engines in 1911. The chassis was a simple ash framework in which the engine was mounted fore-and-aft, driving via a twin-chain transmission system that would continue on the later Frazer Nash. Weighing only 400lbs (182kg), the GN made the most of its relatively modest power output and was capable of reaching 60mph, a highly respectable performance at the time. From 1913 the engine was mounted transversely with the cylinder heads protruding from the bonnet sides, and by the outbreak of The Great War, GN had sold approximately 200 cars.
After the war, GN was bought by the British Gregoire Company and production moved to larger premises in Wandsworth, South West London in 1919. A steel chassis was adopted and belt final drive replaced by chains, and for the next few years the little GNs sold well. In 1922 both Frazer-Nash and Godfrey left the firm, the former to set up under his own name while the latter went on to co-found HRG.
This smart GN/Frazer Nash special was built by a Mr J W G Ardill in Northern Ireland circa 15/20 years ago mainly using parts bought from the estate of Lord Dunleath. It consists of a GN chassis (remade recently) and GN rear axle/sprockets, rear hubs and wheels (19" front/17" rear) while the front axle and springs, steering box, steering column and bevel box are Frazer Nash. The front brakes and stub axles are 'Bulllnose' Morris, mating to GN 7-dog hubs running on ball races.
The magnificent 90-degree v-twin engine is similar to that of the famous 'BHD Special' and was built using patterns from that engine. Displacing 1,460cc, it features bronze cylinder heads, single-overhead-camshaft valve gear, twin-plug coil ignition, twin 36mm Zenith bronze-bodied carburettors and an electric starter. The County Antrim registration was issued on 2nd February 1922 and the car is registered with an original GN chassis number. Its current owner bought the GN in 2011 but his plans have since changed, hence the decision to sell. Absolutely wonderful, this GN/Frazer Nash Special looks great and is said to be a dream to drive.