Lot 20

2022   |   London Auction

1952 Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica

SOLD £605,000

Chassis

421/100/159

Engine

BS1/144

Car Highlights

One of Just 34 Factory-Built Examples

Fascinating Period-Racing History, Including the Goodwood 9 Hours

Maintained by Frazer Nash Expert Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in Current Ownership

Eligible for the World’s Most Prestigious Motoring Events

One of the Finest and Most Original Examples of This Legendary Model

Technical Specs

1,971 CC Bristol BS1 OHV Inline 6-Cylinder Engine

Three Solex Carburetors

130 BHP at 5,500 RPM

4-Speed Manual Gearbox

4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes

Front Independent Suspension with Transverse Leaf Spring and Tubular Shock Absorbers

Rear Live Axle with Torsion Bars and Tubular Shock Absorbers

Register to Bid

Joe Twyman

John Melvin, Glasgow, Scotland (acquired new via Melvin Motors Ltd. in 1951)

Bill Bradley, UK (acquired from the above in 1955)

Hugh Denton, UK (acquired from the above in 1955)

Stuart Sharp, UK (acquired from the above in 1957)

Abba Kogan, UK (acquired from the estate of the above via Christie’s in 1996)

Andrew Hall and Peter Bradfield, UK (acquired via Morris & Welford in 2004)

Lord Irvine Laidlaw, UK (acquired in 2007)

Peter Lovett, UK (acquired from the above circa 2010)

Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2014)

Turnberry, UK, March 1952, Melvin (2nd)

Charterhall, Scotland, 1952, Melvin (3rd)

Isle of Man, UK, 1953, Melvin (9th)

Goodwood 9 Hours, 1953, Melvin (13th)

Mille Miglia Storica, May 2014

Monaco Historic Grand Prix, May 2014

Le Mans Classic, 2014

Goodwood Revival, 2015

Goodwood Revival, 2016

*
UK V5
See UK Registration/Import Status Guide in catalogue.


The Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica made its debut at the 1948 London Motor Show and was initially named the “High Speed” or “Competition Model.” The car was very much a postwar version of the incredibly successful BMW 328, and was designed by the 328’s creator, Dr. Fritz Fiedler, who was imprisoned by the allies during the war, and assigned to the Bristol Aeroplane Company and AFN, the manufacturer of Frazer Nash.

Powered by a six-cylinder, two-litre Bristol engine, the Le Mans Replica only weighed 1,521 pounds, making it a very quick sports car with fantastic handling. In 1949, a private entry with works support entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with owner Norman Culpan and co-driver H.J. Aldington, and finished a very impressive 3rd Overall. Following this famous result, the model was appropriately renamed the Le Mans Replica. The model finished a remarkable 6th Overall at the Mille Miglia in 1950, and in 1951, Franco Cortese piloted a Le Mans Replica to an astounding 1st Overall at the Targa Florio, the first and only time a British car won the race. Victories also came at the Isle of Man and 12 Hours of Sebring, among others.

This outstanding Le Mans Replica, a desirable Mark I model, is generally regarded as one of the most authentic examples of the famous model. Completed in late 1951, it was shown at that year’s Earls Court Motor Show in London. It was then acquired by its first owner, John Melvin of Glasgow, Scotland, who finished 2nd in the car at the Turnberry races in 1952, and 3rd at Charterhall. Sharing his driving duties with Peter Kenneth in 1953, Melvin then placed 9th at the Isle of Man and 13th in the Goodwood 9 Hours. That same year, the engine was returned to Bristol, as the block and head were cracked, and the car was upgraded with the more powerful Bristol BS1 engine, no. BS1/144, and also received a new gearbox.

In 1954, Melvin’s father sold the car while John was in the armed forces, with a total of 9,200 miles. The Frazer Nash was raced by several subsequent owners until it was purchased by Stuart Sharp in 1957. He kept it for about 40 years, and after his death it was auctioned by Christie’s in 1996 and bought by noted collector Abba Kogan. According to the definitive book, The Post-War Frazer Nash, the Le Mans Replica was sold in 2004 to Andrew Hall and Peter Bradfield, and still retained some of its original paint, leather seats, top, and tonneau cover. A mechanical restoration was carried out by marque specialist Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in 2005, which included an engine rebuild. Hall and Bradfield then raced it in various historic events, including a one-hour support race at Le Mans and the Goodwood Revival. It was sold to Lord Irvine Laidlaw in 2007, and subsequently passed among several other noted English collectors.

Since his acquisition, the consignor has had the car maintained in a no-expense-spared fashion by Blakeney-Edwards, one of the foremost authorities on Frazer Nash. The consignor has campaigned it in some of the world’s most prestigious international motoring events, including the Le Mans Classic, the Mille Miglia Storica, the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, and the Goodwood Revival. The car is currently equipped with the later BWCR6 gearbox, which provides a much-improved gear change, and is accompanied by a comprehensive history file, spares including a roll bar and racing seats, and an in-period class trophy from the 1953 Goodwood 9 Hours.

The Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica is regarded as one of the best sports race cars of its time, and many are held in some of the greatest private collections in the world. They are known for their light, precise steering and nimble handling, making them a delight to drive. Only 34 factory-built examples were constructed, meaning good examples are extremely difficult to find. Eligible for countless motoring events worldwide, these cars are seldomly offered for public sale. As such, this is a very rare opportunity to acquire an outstanding and historic example of one of the greatest British sports cars of all time.