Year of manufacture1956
Number of seats2
1956 HRG Twin Cam Roadster
Registration no. 15 APB
Chassis no. 1N502TL
Engine no. 47600451
In 1935, ten years after the dissolution of the GN cyclecar company, the 'G' - H R Godfrey - was back in business with new partners E A Halford and G H Robins, the trio's new firm adopting the name 'HRG'. The aim was to build a lightweight Vintage-style sporting car endowed with the virtues of brisk acceleration and positive steering, and in this they succeeded brilliantly. However, with its Meadows engine at the end development, an alternative was needed and the firm turned to Singer, adopting tuned versions of the latter's overhead-camshaft engines for its 1500 and 1100 models. Hand built in limited numbers, the HRG was one of the fastest 1½-litre sports cars of its day, as evidenced by class wins at Le Mans in 1939 and 1949.
By the early 1950s demand for HRG's traditional sports car was declining and the firm responded with a radical new design by its technical director Stuart Proctor - the Twin Cam. The latter was powered by a 1,497cc Singer SM engine fitted with a twin-cam cylinder head, mounted in a new twin-tube chassis featuring all-independent suspension, alloy wheels and four-wheel disc brakes. As such it represented the state of the art in contemporary sports car design and is of immense historical significance. Unfortunately for HRG, Rootes' takeover of Singer in 1956 halted the supply of engines and Twin Cam production ceased after only three production cars, plus the prototype, had been completed.
'15 APB' was supplied new to gentleman racer Peter Fletcher, whose first competitive outing with his new car was at the Goodwood Easter International in 1956. He qualified on pole alongside Ken Rudd's 2.0-litre AC Ace Bristol but snapped the crankshaft during the race trying to outdistance the opposition. The HRG was nevertheless credited with 3rd in class. Peter Fletcher continued to campaign '15 APB' throughout 1956, after which it saw little use and was in storage when purchased by the well-known Rootes dealership Hartwell in 1958.
Circa 1967 a British collector exported '15 APB' to the USA where it was purchased by Pennsylvania-based collector, Gary Ford. Ford kept the HRG until 1975 but before selling the car had allowed HRG marque specialist and motoring writer Ian Dussek to drive it at the 1974 US Grand Prix support race at Watkins Glen where he finished 2nd in class. The Twin Cam's next owner, from 7th August 1975, was another Pennsylvania collector. It was incorrectly titled as 'IN 502' rather than 'IN 502 TL' as stamped in the chassis frame. In August 2001, '15 APB' was purchased by Arnquist and Carolyn Grace Sheahan of Portland Oregon and was again incorrectly titled, on this occasion as 'M502'.
The HRG's next recorded owner is Stewart Wilkie, who privately imported the car into the UK and registered it in his name on 1st May 2003. While in Stewart Wilkie's ownership, '15 APB' was maintained by Blakeney Motorsport and raced by Simon Blakeney-Edwards at the 2004 Aintree '50s Sports Car race and by Patrick Blakeney-Edwards at the 2007 Le Mans invited support race. The HRG was also invited to take part in the 2009 Goodwood Revival meeting (see letter from the Earl of March on file). By this time it had returned to the USA in the ownership of the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California.
The current vendor acquired '15 APB' in 2010, since when the HRG has benefited from an extensive yet sympathetic restoration undertaken by the renowned Motion Products workshop in Neenah, Wisconsin, which was completed in 2013 at a cost in excess of $74,000 (see detailed bills on file). The history file also contains b/w photographs of the car at Goodwood and Watkins Glen, FIA papers, and UK V5C registration document. '15 APB' also comes with a 1956 Goodwood competitor key ring and a Watkins Glen driver's badge. The only notified deviation from factory specification is a five-speed gearbox (original with car).
'15 APB' has covered relatively few miles during its life, having been kept in private collections, and following its recent restoration is ready to race. It retains matching numbers and has been featured in many publications on the history of British sports cars. In short: this is an extremely rare and historic British sports-racer, capable of winning its class in the right hands, that can be run for a fraction of the operating costs of its Continental rivals.
Should the vehicle remain in the EU, local import taxes of 5% will be applied to the hammer price.