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About What is it? Puzzle #187: HRG Le Mans Lightweight Sports

About What is it? Puzzle #187: HRG Le Mans Lightweight Sports

Only 2 answers came in. It wasn't that hard, was it? Or were you all enjoying the summer?
The car was sold a few years ago at the Bonhams Goodwood sale. Indeed, a racing car. The 2 answers were both correct. It is a 1947 HRG Le Mans Lightweight Sports. Answers came in from Gerd Klioba and Fritz Hegemann: "H.R.G. Le Mans Lightweight Sports from 1947. The H.R.G. Engineering Company Limited, founded by E. A. Halford, Guy Robins and Henry Ronald Godfrey (Ex-GN) started car-production in 1936 in Tolworth and stopped in 1956 after 241 cars.

This car 'HXR 530' with chassis number '92' was one of the 35 '1500 Aerodynamic' cars. The original body was replaced in 1953 by this marvellous Barchetta-coachwork. It ran on numerous European tracks with pretty good success and was presumably one of the first cars with a two-way radio to improve communication with the pit. The car has a 1.500 ccm (ccm / cc ?) Singer single-cam-engine." Gerd added: "originally built in 1947 as one of only 35 '1500 Aerodynamic' models, complete with all-developing coachwork. It was raced successfully by 'L'Écurie du Lapin Blanc'. For the 1948 Spa 24 Hours race, it was equipped with a two-way radio. For the 1949 Le Mans race, a lightweight body with fully exposed wheels and a smaller frontal area was built by Monaco Motors. Early in 1953, the coachwork was changed by Len Gibbs to the actual Barchetta body. Gibbs also shortened the wheelbase."

Thank you Gerd and Fritz, we hope you still enjoyed some sun.

This brings us to the top 3, of the six-month competition; sponsored by Hans Compter Rare Cars.

1. Gerd Klioba with 27 points.

2.  Frits Hegemann with 22 points.

3. Fried Stol with 17 points.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

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The Friday Lady and the HRG Special that spelled her death

The Friday Lady and the HRG that spelled her death
May we stand still for a little while by Ruth Ellis today? It was after all today in 1955 that she became the last woman to be hanged in the UK. And we thought that made her a very fitting Friday Lady on this Friday the 13th. Oh, and hand on. Believe it or not, but there was also a rare car involved in her unusual case: a beautiful streamlined HRG racer called the Emperor Special. This is its story.

Ellis was a night club hostess and was executed since she shot her fiancee, Derek Blakely, in public on April 10, 1955. Blakely was the stepson of Sir Humphrey Cook, patron of Era, and from a well-to-do family. He had a great passion for sports cars and had a special racer built around a new HRG 1500 twin-cam engine, said to be good for 108bhp in road trim. The car was built by a befriended Aston Martin engineer around a tubular space frame chassis mated to VW front suspension, a DeDion rear end and a full-width aluminium body somewhat reminiscent of a Ferrari Monza. Blakely spent most of his (inheritance) money on the car, much to the dis-amusement of Ellis. He must have found it worth the investments, though. On its debut at the 1954 Boxing Day Meeting at Brands Hatch, Blakely finished a fine second to the Connaught-engined Lotus Mk8 of John Coombs. And he raced it more than once, costing him more and more money. His fiancée soon had enough of it. Days before the Easter Race he’d entered the car for, she stood outside a pub in Hampstead waiting for him to come out. When he did so, she took a Smith & Wesson gun from her handbag and fired it six times. He died at the car park.

After the sentence, the HRG’s body was supposedly sold by Blakely’s brother, while HRG is said to have requested the return of their special engine. When a movie about Ellis' life was made in 1985, the HRG played a role in it. And fact is also that it was offered for sale in 1999 with another registration number (VPX 66) and another engine (newspaper clipping here). From the seller’s blurb at the time: ‘It now has one of the very rare DOHC Singer-HRG engines for which it was originally designed and is immaculate.” What happened to the car afterwards? Did any of you ever see it after 1999?

(Words and picture editor)

Friday, 13 July 2018

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Enstall Classic 2018 celebrates Porsche 356

Enstall Classic 2018 celebrates Porsche 356
The 26th Enstall Classic, held this weekend on Austria’s mountain roads, is not just a jolly. As the organizer’s describe it themselves: “The Ennstal-Classic is not a flower parade, it is sporty driving in the last paradise!”, adding: “The Ennstal-Classic is a ticket back to the youth for its participants; it stands for pure driving on the most beautiful Alp roads in Austria with outstanding cars in an atmosphere embossed by the passion for driving.”

Baby-boomers have indeed found their way to the Austrian Alps since 1993 and for this year 238 of them have entered a team from 17 nations. “And a lot of VIPs make the Ennstal-Classic the most important classic car event in Austria!”, to further quote the PR people of the event. But then there is no doubt that the Enstall Classic is a very photogenic event. Just have a look above and below with just a tiny selection of photographs uploaded on the official website of the classic car rally.

This year the Enstall Classic celebrates 70 years of the Porsche 356. They have found Herr Doctor Wolfgang Porsche to join them during the ‘Grand Prix’ held at the finish on July 21st and he will be driving the eldest 356, dating back to 1948.

(Words editor, pictures Enstall Classic)

    

Thursday, 12 July 2018

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The Ferguson Formula files

The Ferguson Formula files
We don’t think there were ever more Jensen FFs available on the market as there are right now. The Ferguson Formula FF may look like the ordinary Interceptor, as far as that ever existed, but it takes some major innovative leaps from it. With permanent four-wheel drive it predated Audi Quattros by more than a decade. Its mechanical anti-lock braking system predated Mercedes electronic ABS by more than a decade. This was an engineering pinnacle that was its time ahead, although another section at the Jensen Motors works was still stuck in pre-War times. While Jensens were popular in overseas markets, no one had thought of designing it so that it could be equipped with a steering on the left hand side…

And so the 320 rhd cars made, remain significant remnants of British engineering at its best. You’ll find one in your preferred colour at the moment with prices pretty varying also. Richard Edmonds Auctions had a late one last week in a daring colour scheme of turquoise and red (see it here). It ‘would benefit from some cosmetic improvements’, but there is uncovered history here that seems certainly worth researching.

Another example of the species comes for sale in Bonham’s Goodwood Festival of Speed sale this weekend. This is a Mk1 car that was sold new in 1968 to Lieutenant Colonel Richard Seifert, who could be held responsible for London’s Centrepoint tower block. Finished in slightly more down to earth Crystal Blue with lovely dark blue leather trim, the car comes with a substantial history file. See more here. More Jensen FFs can be found for sale here.

(Words editor, pictures ichard Edmonds Auctions / Bonhams)

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

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