THE L-LITRE FRAZER-NASH
A SPORTS CAR
POSSESSING IMPRESSIVE CHARACTERISTICS.
NEVER, since the first Frazer-Nash car was produced, has the firm made anything but sports cars, and some special racing machines. Such a policy is bound to produce a vehicle of remarkable performance, and the competition successes of this marque have shown how well its makers understand the requirements of the really hard driver.
Among the first appearances of the Frazer-Nash in important competitions was the Boulogne meeting of 1923, when the maker’s team won the Pickett Cup in the Boulogne Grand Prix, and was the only team to finish intact. Having shown the efficiency of this type of chain driven chassis, the seasons following were occupied in experimenting to find the most suitable engine for use in their production cars. This resulted in the adoption of the 1i-litre four-cylinder side valve engine, the latest edition of which is now available in all models, alternatively with the o.h.v. engine which has now been fitted for the last two seasons.
During this period, and for some time afterwards, the production was small ; but in spite of this they were becoming known for their acceleration and handiness, proof of which was given by Clive Gallop in 1925, when he won the Light Car Grand Prix at Boulogne and set up a new lap record for the course. Development was thence purely a matter of detail refinements, and the elimination of any wear or weakness which the violent treatment of hard-hearted testers could bring to light. The firm passed through various phases of management, but the guiding principle of the car remained, that
is a high power-weight ratio, perfection of handling, and excessive strength of every essential part. This means that many parts, which on a touring car could be made of normal material, must on this chassis be made of very special metals. This naturally increases the cost, but at the same time increases the life and reliability under arduous conditions, out of all proportion to the extra price.
In the older models, in spite of their delightful qualities as a sporting vehicle, there was a certain lack of the refinements and comfort which the pampered motorist of to-day is always demanding, and it is in this that the latest Frazer-Nash models stand out as different to their more spartan prototypes. Last year, after a complete reorganisation of the firm on more efficient lines, a new works was built, the lessons of past years consolidated, and the car laid out for production by modern methods. The demand of owners for detail improvements, previously set aside as of minor importance to the ideal of performance with reliability, was given full attention, and the result is a very remarkable vehicle. All the old qualities of “
pep” and roadworthiness are there, and with them a sweetness of performance, thoroughness of equipment, and smartness of appearance, which would make an owner proud of the -car in any company. The model selected for test by MOTOR SPORT was the latest o.h.v. ” Interceptor,” as being. the lowest priced model of the range, introduced for this year in answer to the demand for a complete Frazer-Nash, though
shorn of some of the unnecessary frills and extras available to the man to whom price is of less importance, and who can obtain from this firm practically any specification or performance he requires.
The actual car we tried was a standard ” Interceptor,” in engine and other essentials, but whose longer chassis and heavier 3-seater body were those of a demonstration car, with 26,000 miles to its credit. Therefore, when considering the performance figures of this car, it must be remembered that the standard model, which is a 2-seater, weighs 3 cwt less, and will thus have an even better performance than the car we tried.
As soon as the car is taken on the road one realises that the acceleration is definitely unusual, and this is very useful under modern traffic conditions, and also in putting firmly in his place any lad in a sportinglooking vehicle who thinks he will show off. It may sound rather “young “to indulge in this form of scrapping, but it is much safer than when two cars of similar speed attempt to “show each other how “on a not-toosafe road, and the delight of getting away from everything with a big margin gives a feeling of satisfaction which makes the most staid of us become quite cheerful again.
After successful acceleration tests against some other cars, we tried some against the watch, and the readings were so unusual that we tried many times to make sure they were accurate.
It might be as well here to mention that this vehicle has 3 speeds, though a 4-speed gear can be fitted as an extra. Those readers not used to a Nash may wonder at a sports car with only 3 speeds. Such as were brought up on fast motorcycles should think of the 3-speed closeratio boxes they used and the performance they got, and they will realise what is meant by a Frazer-Nash not requiring more than 3 speeds for ordinary use.
The standard low gear is 11.6 to 1, though on our particular car it was 11 to 1. One of the beauties of the Frazer-Nash transmission, incidentally, is the way in which any of the gear ratios can be independently altered to suit any conditions. The normal ratios are 6.5 and 4 to I for second and top respectively. Bottom gear sounds high, but we were later to prove that it is quite low enough, while it gives an acceleration figure of 3 2/5 secs. from 10 to 30 m.p.h. This means that over this part of the speed range one has the whip hand over practically anything on wheels, while the fact that on second gear it requires but 5 1/5 seconds from 30 to 50 m.p.h. shows that performance is maintained up the scale. These times were taken with two up and a considerable quantity of equipment, so the acceleration of the standard “Interceptor,” with its 11.6 ratio and lighter weight should come below 3 seconds for 10 to 30 m.p.h. Time your own car accurately on the level over this range and you see what happens ! The maximum speed of the car was just over 70 m.p.h. at which speed the engine was running sweetly, and gave the impression that this speed could be held indefinitely. A higher maximum would be obtainable on a somewhat lower gear, but the car is purposely geared high to give a high cruising speed with the minimum of wear and tear. The gear change, owing to the dog clutch system used, is absolutely foolproof, and when one refers to an ordin ary gear box as having an easy change, it is difficult in comparison with a Nash. The lever can be pulled straight through from gear to gear at any speed without jar or damage, and this gives a tremendous advantage when getting off
the mark and running up to full speed. The steering is exceptional in its accuracy and ease of control, and combined with the car’s almost uncanny steadiness on any surface wet or dry, makes the car a delight on a twisting road, and makes the driver feel a
part of the machine in a way unsurpassed by anything we have driven. It is high geared, and the fact that only a small movement of the hand is required, however violently one is chucking the car about, coupled with perfect self centering, makes the longest drive easy. In addition to high-speed work on main roads we took the car over some of the worst tracks in the Chilterns, and in spite of charging over appalling surfaces we failed to produce any rattles or loosen a single nut. The solid axle, plus the Pirelli tyres, reduced wheelspin to a minimum, and the accuracy with which the car could
be directed on any surface showed what a suitable vehicle it is for a stiff trial. Deciding to test it as drastically as possible we proceeded to the famous Alms Hill near Henley, at present absolutely in the
condition. I n addition to its sodden shiny surface, and 1 in 2i gradient at the ” cannons,” there was a carpet of wet leaves to catch the rash climber who gets near the summit The first attempt without any preparation in the way of tyre
pressures, e t c . , and without a passenger failed. The tyres were let down a few pounds, the passenger shipped once more, then all out from the start. Taking the bit between its teeth, the Nash tore up the lower slopes, breasted the “cannons ” at a good 30 m.p.h., shot over the next leaf-strewn stretch on sheer impetus and purred steadily to the top. Maidens Grove and Lewknor seemed absurdly easy after this, the latter being climbed in second gear. Altogether a remarkable sports car for 050, especially when one considers the excellent equipment, which includes Acetex glass and the best that Messrs. Lucas and Smith can supply.