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Frazer Nash is a British sports car manufacturer and engineering company founded by Archibald Frazer-Nash in 1922. It produced sports cars incorporating a unique multi-chain transmission before the Second World War and also imported BMW cars to the UK. After the war it continued producing sports cars with conventional transmission until 1957. It also continued selling BMW cars and motorcycles and finally in 1956 became the official importer of Porsche cars.
The company was founded in 1922 by Archibald Frazer-Nash who had, with Henry Ronald Godfrey, founded and run the GN cyclecar company. The company was established in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey. It entered receivership in 1927 and re-emerged as AFN Limited. In 1929 it moved to Isleworth, Middlesex: in the same year a majority of it was acquired by H. J. ("Aldy") Aldington. Thereafter, the company was run by the three Aldington brothers, H.J., Donald A. and William H. The last of the family owners/directors was Aldy's son, John Taylor ("JT") Aldington, who sold AFN Ltd to Porsche GB. The company produced around 400 of the famous chain drive models between 1924 and 1939.
AFN Ltd became importers and assemblers of BMW cars in 1934 and sold them as Frazer Nash-BMW. They were the official British BMW importer until the outbreak of war in 1939. In 1954 the company started to sell Porsche cars, becoming the official importer for Great Britain in 1956. This lasted until 1965 when Porsche Cars Great Britain was set up; Aldington family members remained on the board of this company until John Aldington sold out to Porsche in 1987.
Nash & Thompson was formed in 1929 by Archibald Frazer-Nash and E. Grattan Thompson to develop the Frazer-Nash hydraulic aircraft gun turret. During the Second World War, Nash & Thompson was involved in armaments production, with its turrets in use on British bombers such as the Avro Lancaster and Vickers Wellington.
AFN Ltd produced about 85 more cars from 1948 to 1957. These cars were entirely unrelated to the chain-drive pre-war Frazer Nash, but were largely a direct evolution of the sporting BMW 328, mentioned above. AFN, as owners of the UK rights to the 328 engine, licensed Bristol to make it against an agreement for its supply to them. Models include the Le Mans Replica, the Mille Miglia, the Targa Florio, the Le Mans Coupé and the Sebring. Competition successes included a third place at Le Mans (1949) and wins in the Targa Florio in 1951 and the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1952. The post-war cars are very highly prized by collectors. The company participated in the 1952 Formula One season: the cars were driven by Tony Crook and Ken Wharton.
There are several successor companies still (as of 2011) active in engineering consultancy (Frazer-Nash Consultancy), engineering (Frazer-Nash (Midhurst) Ltd.) and electric & hybrid vehicle technology (Frazer-Nash Group of Companies, owned by Kamkorp, which also owns Bristol Cars).
Considering the small number of cars made, the model range is vast and the following is not entirely comprehensive. Cars were all built to order and virtually any combination was possible. Some were rebuilt at the factory as different versions.
|Frazer Nash Fast Tourer/Super Sports||1.5 L in line 4-cylinder||165 in the 1920s||1925–1930||engines were Plus Power, but mainly Anzani. Super Sports (from 1928) had no running boards. 105-inch (2,667 mm) wheelbase chassis on Fast Tourer and Super Sports with short 99-inch (2,515 mm) option on Super Sport.|
|Frazer Nash Interceptor/Sportop/Falcon||1.5 L in line 4-cylinder||25||1930–1932||Meadows engine. Sportop version was fabric bodied. Falcon had a better equipped body. Long and short chassis options.|
|Frazer Nash Boulogne I and II||1.5 L in line 4-cylinder||30||1926–1932||Anzani or Meadows engine. Supercharger optional. Long and short chassis options|
|Frazer Nash Ulster||1.5 L in line 4-cylinder||5||1929–1931||Competition version of the road cars. Long and short chassis options.|
|Frazer Nash Nūrburg||1.5 L in line 4-cylinder||3||1932–1933||Competition model. Tuned Meadows engine. No doors. Short chassis only.|
|Frazer Nash Exeter||1.5 L in line 4-cylinder||5||1932||Single carburettor Meadows engine. Short chassis only Corsica body.|
|Frazer Nash Colmore||1.5 L in line 4-cylinder or 1660 cc in line 6-cylinder||19||1932–1939||Four-seater. 105-inch (2,667 mm) or 108-inch (2,743 mm) wheelbase chassis options. Four-cylinder cars used a Meadows engine, six-cylinder cars a twin OHC Blackburne. Three or Four speed transmission.|
|Frazer Nash TT Replica||1.5 L in line 4-cylinder or 1660 cc in line 6-cylinder||83||1932–1938||Gough 4-cylinder engine used as well as the Meadows and Blackburne. 105-inch (2,667 mm) or 108-inch (2,743 mm) wheelbase chassis options|
|Frazer Nash Shelsley||1.5 L in line 4-cylinder or 1660 cc in line 6-cylinder||8||1934–1936||Gough (supercharger optional) or Blackburne engines. 108-inch (2,743 mm) wheelbase.|
|Frazer Nash Ulster 100||1.5 L in line 4-cylinder||1||1936–1937||Originally Anzani powered, later replaced by Gough engine and then a Meadows. Long rounded tail to body.|
|Frazer Nash Falcon||1.9 L in line 6-cylinder||1||1937||BMW-engined. 102-inch (2,591 mm) wheelbase.|
|Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica/ Le Mans Mk II||Bristol engine (2 L in line 6-cylinder)||34||1948–1953||Originally named "High Speed" and "Competition". 96-inch (2,438 mm) wheelbase. Cycle wings. Conventional (Bristol) gearbox.|
|Frazer Nash Fast Tourer/Mille Miglia||Bristol engine (2 L in line 6-cylinder)||12||1948–1953||Full width body.|
|Frazer Nash Single-Seater||Bristol engine (2 L in line 6-cylinder)||3||1952||Narrow body on Le Mans Replica chassis built to Formula 2 regulations. Also competed in GP and Formula Libre races.|
|Frazer Nash Targa Florio||Bristol engine (2 L in line 6-cylinder)||15||1952–1954||Turismo (100 hp (75 kW)) or Gran Sport (125 hp (93 kW)) Bristol engine options. One car fitted with Austin Atlantic engine. Last 5 cars were open versions of Le Mans Coupé.|
|Frazer Nash Le Mans Coupé||Bristol engine (2 L in line 6-cylinder)||9||1953–1955||100 hp (75 kW) or 140 hp (100 kW) engine.|
|Frazer Nash Sebring||Bristol engine (2 L in line 6-cylinder)||3||1954||Full width body on Le Mans Replica Mk II chassis. 140 hp (100 kW) engine.|
|Frazer-Nash DKW||DKW 896 cc (water-cooled, three cylinder two-stroke)||1||1955||Essentially a sports version of the DKW Sonderklasse, which AFN also imported. As in that car, the engine is installed longitudinally and drives the front wheels. The car competed in the 1955 RAC Tourist Trophy without success, and was then laid up at the AFN works. It was brought back to life in 2008, and was featured in Classic & Sports Car, August 2011 issue.|
|Frazer Nash Continental||BMW engine (2.6 & 3.2 L)||2||1956–1957||V8 BMW engine. Listed at £3751 at the London Motor Show.|
Frazer Nash cars participated in 4 World Championship Grands Prix. Drivers of Frazer Nash cars scored 3 World Championship points.
|1952||Frazer Nash FN48
Frazer Nash 421
- Jenkinson, Denis.From Chain-Drive to Turbocharger: The A.F.N. Story. London: Patrick Stephens Limited, 1984. ISBN 0-85059-631-9.
- Tarring, Trevor and Mark Joseland. Archie Frazer-Nash ... Engineer. London: The Frazer Nash Archives, 2011. ISBN 978-0-9570351-0-2.
- Thirlby, David A. The Chain-Drive Frazer Nash. London: MacDonald & Co. Ltd, 1965.
- Thirlby, David A. Frazer Nash. London: The Haynes Publishing Group, 1977. ISBN 0-85429-183-0.
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