That Anzani 'Nash

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Towards the end of the article on the Eldridge Special racing cars, in the May issue of MOTOR SPORT, I referred to a Frazer Nash which I had ridden in during the war and which I thought had a twin-cam Anzani engine. Such engines were rare, apart from the R1-type in the Squire sports cars, Eldridge having designed his own “double-wipe” heads for installation on side-valve Anzani cylinder blocks.

Joseph Lowrey, who was at Farnborough during the war, as I was, serving the war effort at the RAE, and also knew this Frazer Nash with its unusual engine, has kindly sent me photographs he took of it at that time. This confirms that the car, owned then by a very enthusiastic girl driver who worked on her car herself, did indeed have a twin-cam Anzani power unit. For on the inside of the o/s cam-cover is inscribed “ANZANI” — the word broken where the holding-down screws went into the cam-cover, followed by “Engineering Co Ltd.” Presumably the inside of the n/s cam-box was likewise inscribed. So no doubt about the engine’s origin. . . There are two rather small carburettors on the o/s, what appears to be coil-conversion ignition and a mysterious hose across the front, the purpose of which is not clear to me.

From another of Lowrey’s photographs we now know that the reg no of this Frazer Nash was CML 208. It has escaped the Frazer Nash archives and is not referred to in Denis Jenkinson’s book From Chain Drive To Turbocharger, but it was registered at a time when AFN Ltd were running down production of the chain-drive ‘Nashes and turning to Frazer Nash-BMWs. For example, CMH 500 was Fane’s twin-Centric-supercharged Gough engined Shelsley Frazer Nash, supplied to him in April 1935, but CMK 746 was Lord Essex’s Frazer Nash-BMW type 325/40, CML 208 had a neat but non-standard two-seater body and separate switches for all its electrics, as I remember.

From January 1934 AFN Ltd had taken over the Anzani Engineering Company. The design of the type R1 twin-cam engine was sold to Adrian Squire for his Squire sportscar venture but one wonders whether the experimental 1 1/2-litre four-cylinder twin-cam Anzani engine which Anzani’s designer T D Ross had produced just before the take-over, might be that put into CML 208. However, this theory is destroyed because Jenkinson tells us that although this engine was offered up to a Frazer Nash chassis the ploy was abandoned in favour of installation of a Meadows engine. There was also an R1 Anzani power unit put into an Ulster 100 Frazer Nash for the 1936 Motor Show. But CML 208 does not look anything like an Ulster 100 ‘Nash… And, of course, the R1 Anzani was a supercharged engine. One of the afore said Anzani power units could have been acquired from AFN Ltd and installed in an early Frazer Nash, but by whom, and when? The situation is complicated because we know that at the time when I made acquaintance with this Anzani-engined Frazer Nash a 1927 Type 37 Bugatti had been given an engine of this kind — could FN have had two such experimental engines to dispose off? Over to expert Anzani advocates,

Finally, just to add a bit of confusion the Alvis OC Registrar has sent me a note about an Eldridge 14hp racing two-seater which was registered TE 7667, engine and chassis numbers 101, on May 6, 1929, and the last known owner of which was a Mr E West, living in Cambridge. Was this also an Anzani-engined car or was it the Eldridge Special converted into a sports car referred to in my former article? W B