The New H .R.G .
The H.R.G. is so very much the enthusiasts’ car that details of the models are of interest. Robins and Godfrey have decided to retain the 1,100-c.c. and 1 1/2-litre cars, as before, with Singer o.h.c. 4-cylinder power units. The most imposing post war innovation is, obviously, the aerodynamic body, on the 1 1/2 litre, and to special order on the “1,100,” the normal 2-seater sports body being usually retained on the latter model. The new body looks right, in fact, very continental. It encloses all the wheels, the rear ones beneath Dzus-fastened panels, and the doors possess Perspex windows which, in conjunction with a normally-concealed hood and fully-framed screen, give a coupé effect when all is shut up. This “aerodynamic” business hasn’t been overdone — normal headlamps, with integral side lamps, emerge fiom the nose cowling, and small bumper-members protect the wing fairings, front and rear. Forward visibility is immense, entry and exit easy, and there is a notable absence of wind noise when motoring. The loss of Brooklands has seriously curtailed the compilation of data, but the streamlined 1 1/2-litre H.R.G. appears to accelerate over a quarter-mile faster than the unfaired version, and to be some five or six m.p.h. more rapid. As well as looking very 1939-Le Mans, of course. A clever feature is the mounting of the 11-gallon fuel tank on the near side of the car, its quick-action filler protruding from the body cowling, while the spare wheel now matches it on the off side, leaving all the interior of the tail clear for luggage. The new body was no easy thing to devise, and since the prototype was made, much weight has been saved. Fox & Nichol, Ltd., are responsible for the first production bodies, which are basically 11-gauge square tube steel frames, panelled in. As many cars have been ordered for export to far places, no wood figures in the specification. The engine is still easily accessible, and flaps give access to the front end of the chassis, while the starting handle can be inserted normally — they are practical motorists at Tolworth! The body design originated from the brain of Peter Clark, and a 1/2-scale wooden model made by Marcus Chambers, and has been much developed subsequently.
The chassis remains virtually as pre-war, with some important, not at first evident, improvements. The engines now have Bugatti-type four-branch exhaust manifolds and retain the twin S.U. carburetters.
They have a 7-to-1 compression ratio and are pump and fan-cooled for export purposes, the fan detaching quite easily. More electron has been used than before, for such items as brake shoes, steering pedestal, shock-absorber pressure pads, etc., with consequent saving of weight. The 1,100-c.c. chassis weighs 11 1/4 cwt., and the prototype 1 1/2-litre, which has yet to be lightened further, 16 cwt. The same rear-axle ratio and tyre sizes are retained, giving 20 m.p.h. per 1,000 r.p.m. in top gear on the 1 1/2-litre but even this high ratio may be raised if the aerodynamics suggest this to be desirable. On the road the new 1 1/2-litre improves as a very smooth, silent car, rather softer-riding than before — incidentally, it has friction and hydraulic rear shock-absorbers, the latter the new Lucas type. It runs easily up to 3,000 r.p.m. (60 m.p.h.) in third gear, and Robins has seen 4,600 r.p.m. in top on one of his few long test runs, i.e., 92 m.p.h. Fuel consumption remains very good. An interesting instrument is a vacuum gauge, now standard on all H.R.G.s.
Altogether the new model is an effective and imposing car. It costs £775, plus purchase tax, or with the old 2-seater body, £690 plus tax, while the 1,100-c.c. job is listed at £635, plus tax. The agents are Charles Follett, Ltd.
We recently spent some time at Speedsters, Ltd., run, we believe, by Major Gillett-Saddington. Their stock comprises many famous sports cars, such as Blackburn, Meadows and Anzani-Frazer-Nashes, “2.3” Alfa-Romeo, Bentley, S.S., Mercédès-Benz, etc. A 1927 Anzani-Frazer-Nash was priced at £325, and a 1932 Meadows-Frazer-Nash at £550. We were unable to have a run in the latter, due to scarcity of petrol, but it must have been a very good specimen, as we were assured that it would do 90 m.p.h.— we could have had a demonstration had we agreed to buy it subject to its performance being satisfactory. The girl assistant told us that the performance had been checked against another car’s speedometer, and mentioned a very potent “3 1/2 Jag,” able to do 108 m.p.h., and an aged, unblown, road-equipped Type 37 Bugatti capable of 100 m.p.h. She assured us that if we are used to fast cars we can tell when the “century” comes up without relying on speedometer readings.