Frazer Nash

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Frazer Nash was a brand of British sports car manufactured from 1922 first by Frazer Nash Limited founded by engineer A F Nash. On its financial collapse in 1927 a new company AFN Limited was incorporated. In 1929 control of AFN passed to Harold John Aldington.

Until the Second World War AFN continued to produce a small number of sports cars badged Frazer Nash incorporating a unique multi-chain transmission. It continued after the war making another 85 sports cars before ending manufacture in 1957. The post-war cars had conventional transmissions.

UK agents for BMW they arranged coachwork and made modifications including badging the cars Frazer Nash BMW.

Also UK agents for Porsche control of AFN Limited passed from the Aldington family to Porsche in 1987.

Badge on a 1936 car
Badge on a 1954 car

History[edit]

Archie Nash[edit]

Frazer Nash Limited's business[note 1] was founded in 1922 by Archie Nash. In 1909 Nash with friend Ron Godfrey had founded and run the GN cyclecar company but their partnership split in 1922 and Nash began making his own cars by buying GN components and adding a new body. His new business's activities were centred on Kingston upon Thames, Surrey. The first true Frazer Nash was made in 1924.[1] However Nash, a clever engineer and designer, seemed unable to run a business at a profit. Shareholders in this period even included author, Evelyn Waugh. Eventually the faltering business was sold to a new company, AFN Limited, formed in 1927. Profitability did not improve and with effect from 1 January 1929 H J Aldington was made managing director and Nash was given the post of 'technical adviser'.[2] Archie Nash managed to keep a small shareholding and as if to confirm the link in 1938 hyphenated his second name to his surname and became Archie Frazer-Nash.

Aldington brothers[edit]

During 1929 a majority of AFN's capital was acquired by Harold Joseph ("Aldy") Aldington (1902-1976) and AFN's operations moved to Isleworth, Middlesex. Thereafter, the business was run by the three Aldington brothers, Aldy, Don and Bill. The other two were Donald Arthur Aldington (1907-1997) and William Henry Aldington (1900-1980). They were all usually referred to by their initials.[2]

The last of the family owners/directors was Aldy's son, John Taylor ("JT") Aldington, who sold AFN Ltd to Porsche GB in 1987. AFN produced around 350 of the famous chain drive models between 1924 and 1939.[2]

Frazer Nash BMW[edit]

Frazer Nash BMW 1937
c. 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.

Bristol BMW[edit]

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.

A Bristol 400 engine c. 1948

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.

Formula 2 cars produced by the company contested various races including four Grand Prix events counting towards the 1952 World Championship of Drivers. The cars were driven by Tony Crook and Ken Wharton.[citation needed]

Porsche[edit]

In 1954 AFN Limited added 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.[citation needed]

Products[edit]

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.

Pre-war models[edit]

1926 Fast tourer
1929 Super Sports
1933 Colmore
1934 TT Replica
1936 Ulster 100
Type Engine Approx Production Year Notes
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[3] 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.

Post-war models[edit]

1953 Le Mans Replica
1954 Targa Florio
1955 DKW prototype
1956 Mille Miglia
1957 Continental coupé
1958 Le Mans Coupé


Type Engine Approx Production Year Notes
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 FN48 [4] 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 World Championship Grand Prix 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.

Grand Prix[edit]

Frazer Nash cars participated in four Grands Prix races counting towards the World Championship of Drivers. Drivers of Frazer Nash cars scored 3 World Championship points.

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1952 Frazer Nash FN48
Frazer Nash 421
Bristol Straight-6 D SUI 500 BEL FRA GBR GER NED ITA
Ken Wharton 4 Ret Ret
Tony Crook 21

World Sportscar Championship[edit]

Frazer Nash placed equal 13th in the 1953 World Sportscar Championship [5] with a Le Mans model having finished sixth in the 1953 RAC Tourist Trophy.[6]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nash cars by Nash Motors of Wisconsin were sold from their showroom at 199 Piccadilly and other dealers

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Gunnell, Standard Guide to British Sports Cars, Krause WI 2004. ISBN 0873497570
  2. ^ a b c Jenkinson, Denis.From Chain-Drive to Turbocharger: The A.F.N. Story. London: Patrick Stephens Limited, 1984. ISBN 0-85059-631-9.
  3. ^ Cheetham, Craig (2004). Vintage Cars - The Finest Prewar Automobiles. Rochester, United Kingdom: Grange Books. p. 92. ISBN 1840136359. 
  4. ^ The marque that failed to take the Cooper straight, 8w.forix.com Retrieved 29 November 2016
  5. ^ World Championship - final positions and tables, www.classicscars.com Retrieved 29 November 2016
  6. ^ World Championship 1953, www.classicscars.com Retrieved 29 November 2016

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]