1936 FRAZER NASH SHELSLEY TT REPLICA TWO SEATER SPORTS
U.K. Registration No. DMY 764
Chassis No. 2166
Engine No. 7/124
Green with green leather upholstery
Engine: Frazer Nash 4-cylinder in line supercharged through twin Centric superchargers aspirated by twin SU carburettors, 1,496cc, c.95bhp at 4,000rpm; Gearbox: four speed selected by dog-clutch and chains to bevel box on solid rear axle; Suspension: quarter-elliptic cantilever leaf springs to front and rear beam axles; Brakes: hydraulically operated drum. Right hand drive.
The Frazer Nash TT Replica is one of the most beloved of all English sports cars; hand-built, and produced in small quantity in a tiny factory in a London suburb. Within a few short seasons, it built a reputation out of all proportion to the numbers manufactured. The TT Replica's chassis design was already dated when it appeared in 1931, there was little attempt to streamline the compact two-seater body, and its chain-drive transmission was, even in the early 1930s, regarded as highly idiosyncratic. Under the strict guidance of managing director, H. J. Aldington, the company was never prepared to provide much more than encouragement to the eager private owners who raced and rallied its products, or an engraved Dunhill cigarette lighter to those who succeeded. And successes there were: Frazer Nash performances in the gruelling International Alpine Trials of 1932 to 1934 are legendary, with four out of six cars entered in 1934 completing the course without loss of a single mark. The company's wordy advertisements had their own flavour, In the International Alpine Trial both Frazer Nashes entered lost no marks and won Glacier Cups. One of these cars then competed in the Tourist Trophy race and had a trouble-free run.... at an average speed of 68.86mph. Later in the same year the car was first to finish in the MCC high-speed trial [at Brooklands], averaging 85.43 mph, the highest speed of the day.
With the Frazer Nash steering taking less than a turn of the wheel from lock to lock, the lightweight, taughtly-suspended TT Replica was one of the most responsive cars of its era. Controlled by that famous rigid outside lever, gear-changing was close to instantaneous. Carrying its complement of quick-release filler caps, outside exhaust headers, racing-type fly-off handbrake, bonnet louvres, spring-spoke steering wheel, fold-flat windscreen, and a full stock of instruments, the Frazer Nash was the beau ideal of the 1930s enthusiast and still has great panache.
1934 is often considered to be the peak of the Frazer Nash works, it is certainly when activity was at its greatest. By now three engine alternatives were available, Blackburne, Meadows and their own Gough designed unit, coachwork was produced in house offering different styles of bodywork, and technical development was at full chat. As evidence of a company firing on all cylinders later that year at the London Motor Show, Frazer Nash would exhibit their most exciting car yet, a Shelsley model powered by their own engine, with twin Centric superchargers.
That these definitive Nashes were built in small numbers is not a huge surprise as they were incredibly expensive for their day, priced at £850 nearly double that of the standard Meadows Nash, and in the days when a modest family saloon retailed at a little over £100! The model cannot necessarily therefore be considered a success in terms of sales, but in competition it proved almost unbeatable, its reputation sealed by A.F.P. Fane, with his own very special 'Nash.
Frazer Nash would build just eight of these definitive twin blown 'Shelsley' cars, two of which were single seaters. The car we present today is one of the six that were bodied with the ever popular TT Replica bodywork. '2166' was sold new to Eric Titler in June 1936, it was the tenth from last car to leave the A.F.N. works. When analysed today it can be seen that the car has a number of unique features including the larger 17 gallon fuel tank, deeper radiator core, Marles steering box and twin ignition.
Whether the car had any pre-war racing history is not known, but due to its specification it seems highly likely that some may remain to be found. It is understood that the car survived the war in the Baldock area where it was subsequently found. It was purchased then by a garage owner, S. Parkins from whom J. Allington negotiated a swap for a Vincent Black Shadow and Fiat Topolino - a deal the like of which is sadly no longer heard of today! By then it had lost its supercharger and blower valve, but James Allington was fortunate enough to retrieve a pair of Centric blowers from the Frazer Nash works.
A lengthy period of restoration followed, and James Allington finally returned the car to the road in 1988, and has enjoyed it ever since. It has made sporadic appearances at V.S.C.C. events over the subsequent years, but has never seen active competitive use. 2166 is also the subject of a feature in Automobile Quarterly Volume 23/1.
Today, the cosmetic condition of the car is still very good, its upholstery shows a little wear in places, as does its paintwork, but if anything this enhances rather than detracts from its appearance. It is fitted with a full length tonneau, and twin spare wheels. Although MoT'd in mid 2001, the car has not been used for 18 months, consequently, Christie's would advise that it be carefully mechanically checked over before returning to the road.
There is a highly enthusiastic and supportive Frazer Nash section within the Vintage Sports-Car club of Great Britain. They offer technical support, replacement parts and a very full program of social, competition and touring events. Ownership of a 'Chain-Gang' Nash has always provided an enthusiast owner with an action-filled social and sporting life. This famous TT Replica is well documented in the definitive books on the marque, The Chain-Drive Frazer Nash by David Thirlby and From Chain Drive to Turbocharger by Denis Jenkinson.
(Please note the term Replica was the factory name for this model)