1948 HRG Aerodynamic

1948 HRG Aerodynamic 1948 HRG Aerodynamic 1948 HRG Aerodynamic
HRG Engineering, of Tolworth, Surrey, was formed in 1935 by A.E. Hartford, G.H. Robbins and H.R. Godfrey. The company they created was best known for producing a compact yet individually made sports car at a reasonable price. Designed by H.R. Godfrey, it was a throwback to more traditional sports car design and bore more than a passing resemblance to the Frazer-Nash when announced in 1936. Unlike the Frazer-Nash, though, it boasted a shaft-driven rear axle instead of chains. The cars were assembled at a repurposed gear plant and the designs influenced by Godfrey's previous work with the GN Company and Frazer Nash.

Coachbuilders Arthur Fox & Bob Nicholls of Tolworth in Surrey, Great Britain were responsible for the coachwork on this aerodynamic roadster. The duo bodied cars from 1936-1947. The space frame of this model lent itself well to special design and the firm reportedly bodied 31 (possibly as many as 45) models like this from 1945-1947. Three of these models were shipped to the United States in the late-1940s.

This car was owned by a Florida driver, Phil Stiles, it was raced at Watkins Glen in 1950, where the current owner first saw the car. Stiles raced the car at the Linden, N.J. airport races in 1950 and at Palm Beach Shores. After this, the front end configuration was modified.

The car is powered by a 4-cylinder, 1500cc engine delivering 60 horsepower.

The current owner found the vehicle lying in a farmer's field in Pennsylvania Dutch country in the late 1970's. The front end had been severely damaged. It was much later, with the help of Ian Dussek of the HRG Owner's Club that the new owner discovered it was the car he had earlier seen at Watkins Glen.

HRG Engineering of Tolworth, Surrey, was formed in 1935 by E. A. Halford, Guy H Robins and H R Godfrey, the name deriving from a combination of the first letters of their surnames.

Ron Godfrey approached Major Edward Halford in regards to the development of a new sports car. Having raced together at Brooklands in 1935, Godfrey hoped the union would be productive. Before the close of 1935, the newly formed team had created a prototype. The following year, the company was formed with Guy Robins formerly of Trojan joining as the third partner.

The new company was established in the former location of the Mid-Surrey Gear Company in Hampden Road, Norbiton. The cars design was heavily influenced by Godfrey's previous involvement with the GN Company and subsequently Frazer Nash.

The first product available for purchase from the HRG Company was a small, lightweight, Meadows-powered vehicle that cost £395. A larger, 1100cc Singer engine found its way under the bonnet for 1938. The following year, the company started using the OHC 1500cc Singer engine in place of the Meadows unit.

Having been formed by individuals with a passion for racing, it was understandable that a factory team was soon formed. This team, Ecurie Lapin Blanc, achieved several notable successes, including being the highest-placed British car in the 1938 LeMans 24-hour race. The works entry driven by Peter Clark and Marcus Chambers finished 10th out of 15 finishers from 42 starters. The following year, Clark and Chambers returned to the endurance race where they won the 1.5-liter class.

In 1947 after WWII, Chambers finished 3rd in the Grand Prix des Frontières at Chimay. HRG also won the team prize in the Isle of Man Empire Trophy race and the 1948 and 1949 Spa 24 hour race. Chambers scored a 4th at Chimay.

In 1949, HRG won the 1.5 litre class at Le Mans, driven by Eric Thompson and Jack Fairmna.

After World War II, the company offered the 1100 and 1500 2-seater sports car, both still wearing designs from the pre-War era. Another model, the Aerodynamic, was also available and built on basically the same vintage chassis.

Guy Robins left the company in 1950. HRG sports car production ended in 1956 after 241 cars had been produced. It is estimated that 225 examples remain in modern times. The company remained in business even after production ceased, lasting until 1965. They work as an engineering concern and as a development organization for others, including Volvo.

Production of the Aerodynamic lasted from 1945 through 1949 with a total of 45 examples produced. The first prototype example was chassis number W77 which was created in 1939/1940 and advertised by the factory in May of 1940. It was road-registered for the first time in January of 1946.

The aerodynamic bodywork was slightly heavier than the standard models, but with its air-slicing design, it was faster. It is even claimed by some to be the first all-enveloping, streamlined-shaped British sports car. It was an innovative vehicle that was ahead of its time.

The prototype car wore aluminum coachwork, had perspex side windows that retract into the doors, and a 10 gallon fuel tank.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2012

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