Frazer Nash was founded in 1922 by Captain Archibald Frazer-Nash, who in partnership with H R Godfrey had been producing the GN cyclecar. Designed by Godfrey and Frazer-Nash, the GN was Britain's first and best-known cyclecar. The two young engineers set up shop initially in Hendon, North London from whence the first GN emerged in December 1910. An unusually large proportion of the car was manufactured in house and GN used proprietary JAP and Peugeot v-twin engines before commencing production of their own in 1911. The chassis was a simple ash framework in which the engine was mounted fore-and-aft, driving via a belt-drive transmission system that would continue on the later Frazer Nash. By the outbreak of The Great War, GN had sold approximately 200 cars.
After the war, GN was bought by the British Gregoire Company and production moved to larger premises in Wandsworth, South West London in 1919. A steel chassis was adopted and belt final drive replaced by chains, and for the next few years the little GNs sold well. In 1922 both Frazer-Nash and Godfrey left the firm, the former to set up under his own name while the latter went on to co-found HRG.
Between 1924 and 1954, when production effectively ceased, approximately 450 Frazer Nash cars were produced, of which 350 were pre-war 'Chain Gang' models. Of these, 85 had the most popular TT Replica style of bodywork, which was offered between March 1932 and 1939. Frazer Nash used a number of different proprietary engines, the TT Replica, for example, being fitted with the 1½-litre, four-cylinder, overhead-valve Meadows engine; the 1,660cc six-cylinder, twin-overhead-camshaft Blackburne engine; and the 1½-litre, four-cylinder, single-overhead-camshaft Gough engine. However, it should be noted that the factory undertook the manufacture of individual cars to order and various combinations of engine and chassis were produced. Although the chain drive is highly unusual, for a motor car of the period, a chain is more efficient than almost any other form of power transmission and the Frazer Nash system was one of the best. References at the time to 'smoking or red-hot chains lying on the road' after the rare breakage were mistaken. The reason they were handled with care was because they were dirty, and many chains lasted over 40,000 miles. With their unique form of drive, Frazer Nashes over-steered dramatically under power and it was said at the time that 'Frazer Nashes never go round corners, they merely change direction.'
Offered here is an example of the Colmore, which was named, like many Frazer Nash models of this period, after a popular sporting trial. 'MV 1678' carries 3/4-seater coachwork by the London-based coachbuilder, Elkington, which held the contract to body Frazer Nash cars during the early 1930s. In 1934 this car was upgraded by the factory, which installed a Gough engine and a four-speed bevel box. It also incorporates the popular upgrade to Triumph Gloria hydraulic brakes, including back-plates and drums; fitment of which is believed to have been during John Malyan's ownership in the 1970s.
A continuation buff log book details 10246's ownership dating back to 1950. One Alec Walker Stafford kept the car from 1950 until he sold it to Roy Davies in June 1964. It is thought that Davies carried out a restoration of the car, prior to selling to VSCC Stalwart John Malyan in 1971. 10246 was kept in Malyan's stable and used at countless events across England before being purchased by the lady vendor's father in 1981.
The family has always referred to this car as the 'Chain Gang' in order to distinguish it from her father's other Frazer Nash, a Le Mans Coupé. The 'Chain Gang' was much enjoyed and used by her father, Roger Joice, who is believed to have raced it on occasion. In 1983 Roger Joice was sadly killed in a motor racing accident at Silverstone, and over the next few years the Frazer Nash was little used. The vendor's brother drove the car occasionally, using its 'pulling power' to impress the girls, and it was also used for family weddings more than once.
In 1992 the Frazer Nash came into the lady vendor's ownership. It has seen very little use since then apart from the odd family wedding and school sports days, but has always been maintained and given a run out every year.
Inspected by a marque specialist at VSCC Prescott this year, the chassis was found to bear all the hallmarks of an original. A continuous-history Frazer Nash, offered from long-term family ownership, the car is offered with an old-style continuation logbook (issued 1952) and a V5C registration document. Bonhams would like to thank Winston Teague and Simon Blakeney-Edwards for their assistance with the cars history.