Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1948
  • Mileage 
    3 541 mi / 5 699 km
  • Car type 
    Other
  • Country VAT 
    GB
  • Chassis number 
    W169
  • Engine number 
    16001W
  • Lot number 
    26
  • Drive 
    RHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Number of doors 
    2
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other
  • Gearbox 
    Manual
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

- One of only around 111 HRG 1500's made between 1939 and 1956 and boasting known history from new

- Believed to have been Works prepared for the 1949 Alpine Rally and period competition history at Goodwood and Silverstone

- Reported to have had just six owners from new with the vendor having purchased the car in 1984 as a restoration project

Rarity and provenance are attributes that many owners would love their vintage and classic cars to have. This HRG 1500 can boast both, and the vendor has kindly carried out a lot of research into the history of his car, efforts all of us now and in the future will be grateful for.

According to a letter to the vendor from Ian Dussek of the HRG Association, this HRG left the factory on November 11th 1948 as a standard 1500 with a body by Automarine, painted in green with a green leather interior.

Mr Dussek states that the HRG was entered into the 1949 Alpine Rally and it is believed to have been Works prepared for the event at the request of first owner John Roberts, of London SW7. Apparently the weather that year was terrible which resulted in Mr Roberts' retirement (along with many others) on the first day. Believed indications of Works preparation for the Rally are two circular holes in the nearside of the bonnet for the SU carburettors to breath through, brackets on the headlight frame supports for additional horns, the placing of the front brake cables through the wings to raise them from the chassis rails, a leather bonnet strap, twin rear-mounted spare wheels, brackets to hold two one gallon cans of fuel either side of the differential, enamel union jack badges on the leading sides of the bonnet, and twin fuel pumps.

Almost two years later (1950) the car changed hands and the new owner, a Commander Norman A. Bartlett RN, continued the young car's competition career and at least took part in the BARC Private Members Meeting at Goodwood on August 12th 1950.

Bill Potter became the third owner in 1952/53 and he wrote a letter to our vendor explaining that he had purchased the HRG from Vincent's Garage in Yeovil, Somerset. They had apparently taken the car in part exchange. Mr Potter then sold the car in 1960 to an Adrien Sturgeon who was a work colleague of Mr Potter's brother-in-law.

Mr Sturgeon resumed the HRG's competition activities and took part in many trials in the car as well as an HRG versus MG race at Silverstone in 1964. A letter on file from Mr Sturgeon to the vendor states that he carried out a repaint of the HRG.

In 1966 the car was acquired by a David Parry who soon afterwards presented the car to Willows Lane Garage in Accrington, Lancashire, for a restoration. Work commenced but the garage's invoices were unpaid so the car remained in a part dismantled state at the garage for the next eighteen years.

The garage sadly went into receivership and in late 1983 / early 1984 the vendor was given a tip-off that there was an HRG inside one of the garage's extensive buildings. Investigations proved positive and the vendor was able to acquire the car from the receivers, the purchase invoice for which is on file.

Mr Parry had taken the engine and dashboard instruments away for refurbishing elsewhere, and when the vendor contacted him soon after he had acquired the car, Mr Parry was some-what dismissive of the idea of reuniting the engine with the car. Contact between the two people was eventually lost and the whereabouts of the original engine are now sadly unknown.

The engine HRG fitted to most 1500's was based upon a Singer 12hp unit, although a few towards the end of production were fitted with a Singer SM engine. Upon the advice of the HRG Association, an SM engine was therefore sourced from a Singer Gazelle and installed during the restoration. The SM engine would have had two carburettors when fitted to the HRG but in a Gazelle it only had one, and this arrangement was retained when the vendor fitted the engine to the car. The intention to eventually fit a twin carburettor set up resulted in the acquisition of a twin carburettor head, but it has never been fitted. The vendor has stated they will supply the head (plus many related parts) with the car for a new owner to build up and fit if they wish.

The body had been part restored by the garage in Accrington and the vendor set about completing this work soon after purchase. With the body soon painted in Rolls-Royce Brewster Green, attention was turned towards the mechanical components and the brakes, suspension, and axles were all overhauled, and the wheels were re-spoked. In addition, a new fuel tank was manufactured and a dash board was copied from a correct and conveniently local HRG and fabricated and fitted up with a mixture of new and overhauled instruments. Serck in Birmingham re-cored the radiator (and modified the top hose outlet) and re-chromed the radiator shell and headlights, as well as some other brightwork, plus a new wiring harness was made by the vendor using what he believed to be the correct colour and gauge of wiring. To improve reliability, all items are reported to have been separately earthed. The final task was for a division of the renowned Jaguar specialist XK Engineering in Coventry to retrim the seats and door panels in green Connolly leather and fit Wilton carpets, and to have a roof and side screens constructed. The restoration was completed in 1994 and the car has only covered around 3,500 miles since.

The very comprehensive history file contains many invoices for works carried out during and since the restoration, as well as letters between the vendor and the extremely helpful HRG Association, and previous owners. There is a large quantity of photographs too, such as ones from when the car was first seen in the garage in Accrington, during the restoration, and copies of photographs of the car on the starting grids of Goodwood in 1950 (sent to the vendor by the daughter of Commander Bartlett) and Silverstone in 1964. The car also features in the book "HRG - The Sportsman's Ideal" by Ian Dussek of the HRG Association, in a photograph of Ron Godfrey (the G in HRG) taken by the author in 1960 standing in front of KLD 447.

This is a special and rare car with an interesting history that is described by the vendor as being in "very good" condition in all respects. Much loved but rarely driven during the twenty-three years since the ten-year restoration was completed, a lack of use is the main reason for the vendor now deciding to part with his beautiful HRG.